2018: Still Rallying Together
It will be no easy task for the Cleveland Indians this weekend as they head to New York to face one of the hottest teams in baseball, the Yankees, in a three-game weekend series.
The Indians (17-14) wrapped up their eleven-game homestand with a disappointing 5-6 mark. They opened with a series split against the Chicago Cubs and closed it with a split with the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. In between, they dropped three of four to the Seattle Mariners, but took two of three from the Texas Rangers. The bats have woken up with the warmer weather of the last week, as the offense has erupted for 49 runs over the last five games. They start the series with a three and a half game lead over Detroit in the American League Central Division.
The Cleveland Indians were dealt a worst case scenario in game one of their doubleheader with the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, as not only did they have to go to the bullpen for five and two-thirds innings of relief in an extra inning contest, they lost one of those arms to injury.
In between game one and game two of Thursday’s doubleheader, the Indians placed right-handed reliever Nick Goody on the 10-day disabled list with a right elbow injury. In a flurry of roster moves, Cleveland purchased the contract of right-hander Evan Marshall from the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. To create space on the 40-man roster for Marshall, the Indians transferred righty Danny Salazar from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day list.
Maybe, just maybe, Mother Nature will let the Indians and Blue Jays play some baseball from Progressive Field. Toronto returns to Cleveland on Thursday for an inconvenient doubleheader against the Indians, concluding the Indians’ long homestand and prolonging an originally scheduled six-game road trip for the Blue Jays.
The Indians (16-13) started off their eleven-games-in-ten-days homestand on the wrong foot, splitting with the Chicago Cubs before dropping three of four to the pesky Seattle Mariners. The Tribe was able to get back into the win column a bit more regularly during the week, taking two of three from the Texas Rangers in a series dominated by the long ball. The Indians sit at 10-7 on the season at home and will need to take both games of the doubleheader to come out with a winning record during this homestand before hitting the road for New York.
Coming off of one of the best starts in his professional career, Adam Plutko will get an even more memorable opportunity on Thursday as he will make his first Major League start for the Indians as the 26th man for the club during the team’s doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Manager Terry Francona announced the decision on Monday night prior to the Indians game with the Texas Rangers. He will start the nightcap of the day’s double dip.
The Cleveland Indians bullpen was known to have some question marks about it coming into the season after the losses of Bryan Shaw and Joe Smith from the staff in the offseason. Good length from the starting pitching helped to buffer those losses through much of the first month of the season, but that has not necessarily been the case in recent weeks and has been compounded by extra inning games and the hamstring strain sustained by Andrew Miller last week.
Cleveland announced on Wednesday that the contract of right-handed pitcher Ben Taylor had been selected from Triple-A Columbus. To create room on the 40-man roster for the 25-year-old, veteran right-hander Matt Belisle was designated for assignment.
The Indians fought back with a game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the ninth, but fell in extra innings to the Texas Rangers, 8-6, on Tuesday night in Cleveland on back-to-back home runs in the top of the 12th.
Reliever Nick Goody was on the mound for his third different inning of relief, looking to keep the game tied at six. Nomar Mazara grounded out on a shot to short, but Joey Gallo delivered a big blast with a solo homer to the seats in front of the bullpens to put the Rangers up, 7-6. Isiah Kiner-Falefa crushed the very next offering from Goody into the bleachers in left to give the Rangers an 8-6 edge. Zach McAllister took over and struck out a pair around a two-out single to end the inning.
Alex Claudio returned for the bottom of the 12th, getting a liner to right before two grounders to close out the comeback win.
Reliever Jack Leathersich will remain in the Indians organization after being outrighted to Triple-A Columbus on Monday.
The left-handed pitcher was designated for assignment last week when Cleveland placed All-Star reliever Andrew Miller on the 10-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain and purchased the contract of Jeff Beliveau from Columbus. To create a spot on the 40-man roster for Beliveau, Leathersich was designated.
The Indians will look to get back on the right track with a different American League West opponent this week as the Texas Rangers come to Cleveland for their only appearance at Progressive Field this season (weather permitting, of course).
Things did not go well for the Indians (14-12) during their weekend set against the Seattle Mariners as they dropped three of four games to move to just 8-6 at home on the year and 2-4 on their current 11-game homestand. Seeing the struggling Rangers may be well timed for the Tribe, especially with warmer weather parking itself over Cleveland just in time for the series. Last season, the Indians went 6-1 against the Rangers, losing just one tough 2-1 outing on a ninth inning run off of Cody Allen at Progressive Field.
There was a time, around this point last season, in which many people thought All-Star left-handed reliever Andrew Miller may be the most indispensable player on the Cleveland Indians roster. Indeed, he is extremely important to the ball club and its fortunes. The 2016 MVP of the American League Championship Series remains one of game’s best bullpen arms and is probably the best hurler out of Tribe manager Terry Francona‘s very talented bullpen. However, with injuries to their star relief ace last year, the Indians learned that their season does not need to be derailed without the big southpaw they added at the 2016 traded deadline.
What the Tribe, instead, learned a season ago is that it has another very good left-handed relief option in Tyler Olson. Olson is not in the class of Miller, though few are. Olson, however, may be coming into his own as a Major League pitcher in his late 20s.
The Cleveland Indians announced on Thursday that All-Star left-hander Andrew Miller has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain.
In a set of corresponding roster moves that affected Triple-A Columbus, the Indians purchased the contract of left-hander Jeff Beliveau from the Clippers and created a spot on the 40-man roster by designating fellow southpaw bullpen mate Jack Leathersich for assignment.
The Indians will continue their eleven-game homestand on Thursday as the Seattle Mariners make their lone visit to Cleveland for the 2018 season in a four-game weekend series. The contests will mark the final times the two clubs will play this year and all before the first full month of the regular season playing schedule concludes.
The Indians (13-9) split a pair of interleague games during the week with the Chicago Cubs in a rematch of sorts of the 2016 World Series to kick off their second homestand of the month. The Tribe have played well at home this season, posting a 7-3 mark this April, but they are just 2-4 so far this season against the American League West, with seven games against the division during their current eleven-games-in-ten-days homestand. The Indians enter the day with a three game lead over Detroit in the AL Central.
The Cleveland Indians will open the interleague portion of their schedule this week as they play host to the Chicago Cubs for the first time since the 2016 World Series.
The Indians (12-8) will welcome the Cubs to Cleveland for the first time since a rain-afflicted Game 7 in the 2016 World Series. Both clubs followed their Fall Classic appearance with shorter-than-expected playoff trips last season, as the Indians were eliminated in the first round by the New York Yankees, while the Cubs were knocked out in five games in the National League Championship Series by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Indians’ offense remains a source of concern, as the team has performed poorly with runners in scoring position and in general. But despite the inconsistent efforts from the bats, the pitching staff has been strong all around. The staff ranks first in the Majors in batting average against (.201) and WHIP (0.98) and second in ERA (2.57). The starting rotation is first with a 0.98 WHIP, second with a .203 BAA, and third with a 2.58 ERA, while the bullpen is first in WHIP (0.96), second in BAA (.197), and fourth in ERA (2.55).