2019: Enjoy Him
Matthew Boyd allowed just one run over six innings of work, while the Detroit Tigers offense strung together ten hits and two home runs off of Trevor Bauer to back their starter in a 4-1 win on Wednesday afternoon.
A team finally figured out Bauer in the middle game of three from Comerica Park this week. The Indians’ 28-year-old right-hander, who had allowed just one hit total in his first two starts, dealt with base traffic all game long for the first time this season. He was outpitched by the Tigers’ lefty, who struck out a season-low six, but limited the Indians to just four hits on the day.
Last week, Trevor Bauer scuffled his way through seven no-hit innings for the Indians. The bullpen held on until the ninth inning, when Brad Hand lost the no-hitter and the shutout, although the Tribe still won.
Of course, it was against the Blue Jays – and not just because they’ve been one of the few teams this year with an offense even more anemic than the Tribe’s. Toronto has had a strange relationship with the Indians when it comes to no-hit games.
The Blue Jays – along with the Mariners – joined the American League as expansion teams in 1977. Four years later, the Jays were the victims of Len Barker’s perfect game, in weather not unlike what we saw last Thursday, a cold day early in the season in front of a small crowd. Barker’s perfect game remains the last no-hitter to date by an Indians pitcher. (There’s only been one other no-hitter by the Indians since the Jays started play: Dennis Eckersley’s Memorial Day no-no against the Angels in 1977.)
Corey Kluber allowed one earned run in six innings and was backed by four home runs (and an unofficial Little League homer) as the Indians opened a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers with an 8-2 win.
The Indians entered the day with just four home runs on the year, but they rode the long ball starting with the very first batter of the game, jumping out to an early lead to back Kluber, who was looking to bounce back from an uncharacteristic performance in his last start Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox. Kluber gave the Indians a quality start and left with a healthy lead after six as manager Terry Francona looked to get his rested bullpen some extra work early in the season.
Suddenly, a strength of the Cleveland Indians’ roster has been exposed as the team announced on Monday that starting pitcher Mike Clevinger has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a “right upper back/Teres major muscle strain” suffered during the fifth inning of his start on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
In the meantime, the club has recalled reliever Nick Wittgren from Triple-A Columbus to fill the open spot on the 25-man roster.
Two teams riding modest winning streaks will battle in Motown this week as the Detroit Tigers host the Cleveland Indians in three unusual midweek afternoon start times from Comerica Park.
The Tigers (7-3) have gotten off to a surprisingly strong start, given the season projections. They have won five straight games, sweeping the Kansas City Royals over the weekend and taking the last two games of their three-game series with the New York Yankees early last week. They began the year by splitting a four-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays. While the Tigers have showed up in the win column, their offense has not been showing up much on the field. They rank last in the American League in runs scored (27), homers (3), and batting average (.181) and are in the bottom third of nearly every offensive category. The two things that they have done well at is drawing walks and hitting doubles. The pitching staff has carried the club, posting the second-best ERA (2.30) and WHIP (0.93) and best batting average against (.188) in the AL.
The Indians (6-3) have had a nearly identical experience to the Tigers this season, which is certainly not what most prognosticators would have predicted coming into the year. The Indians offense has improved, but still ranks among the worst in baseball and the AL in most categories. The pitching has been lights out, ranking in the top third in the league behind some dynamite starting pitching efforts from the rotation. The Indians have a team ERA of 2.85 with a 1.06 WHIP and a .195 batting average against with 104 strikeouts in 79 innings over nine games (a league-best 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings).
Only a bout with upper back tightness could prevent Cleveland’s Mike Clevinger from replicating his season debut numbers on the mound, as the right-hander worked five scoreless one-hit innings and the Indians bullpen did the rest to complete a four-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays in a 3-1 victory on Sunday afternoon.
Clevinger struck out ten Jays hitters and scattered a hit and a walk in five easy innings of work. He experienced the back tightness on the second pitch of the fifth inning, but after talking it over with the Cleveland coaching and training staff after the inning, he was taken out of the game for precautionary reasons.
The Toronto Blue Jays were just what the doctor ordered to cure the Cleveland Indians’ early season blues. Carlos Carrasco bounced back from a rough debut with 12 strikeouts in five innings of work and the offense provided a season-high seven runs in a 7-2 defeat of the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon.
Carrasco handled most of the work himself, shutting down the Blue Jays until two runs in his final inning of work in the fifth. At that point, his teammates had paced him with four runs before tacking on three more in the next two innings.
The Cleveland Indians have a decision to make later this month on Carlos Gonzalez, who has an April 20 opt-out date in the minor league contract that he signed in March. The 33-year-old right fielder is making it an easy one for the Indians front office.
Gonzalez, an eleven-year Major League veteran with his best seasons in the rearview, did not sign with the Indians until March 19, when he agreed to a minor league deal that could pay him $2 million if in the Majors with another $1 million available in incentives, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
A little time away can do people some good. That seems to be the trick for Carlos Santana, whose strong start in his return to Cleveland continued on Friday night as he deposited a game-winning solo homer into the bleachers in left field with one out in the bottom of the ninth to give the Indians a 3-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Indians fans were treated to a very familiar sight on Friday as Santana provided the Indians with his fifth career walk-off home run, lifting up another light-hitting performance from the offense. He stepped into the batter’s box for the fourth time on the night with one down in the bottom of the ninth, set to match up with Jays’ reliever Joe Biagini. He found an 1-0 two-seamer to his liking, lofting a high drive the opposite way into the tunnel of the bleachers in left to cap off a comeback for the Tribe and a celebration at home plate.
The Indians flirted with history on Thursday night but fell just short as Trevor Bauer threw seven no-hit innings and the offense added some rare support, but Toronto ended Cleveland’s no-hit bid in the ninth inning as the Tribe defeated the visiting Blue Jays by a 4-1 final from Progressive Field.
Bauer’s brilliant start to the 2019 season continued as he has already made an early case for his name to be mentioned amongst the best in baseball this year. After allowing just a run on a hit with one walk and nine strikeouts in a no-decision on March 30 against the Minnesota Twins, he followed it up with a hitless outing in which the only blemish was his six walks that drove up his pitch count and prevented him from completing his attempt at the first Indians no-hitter since 1981 (a drought of nearly 38 years and the second-longest active to only the San Diego Padres, which have never recorded one).
The schedule makers are at it again with the curious decision to send the Toronto Blue Jays to Cleveland during the first week of April to play their only four road games of the season against the Indians beginning Thursday night from Progressive Field.
The Indians (2-3) and their anemic offense struggled again with their two-game set against the Chicago White Sox. They were gifted several runs by the bad Sox bullpen in the Home Opener on Monday, and mustered two garbage time runs in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 8-3 blowout. Cleveland’s offense has put up MLB worsts across the triple slash board, hitting .160 with a .237 on-base percentage and a .231 slugging mark with just seven total extra base hits on the year.
Cleveland starter Corey Kluber was unable to finish the fourth inning and was tagged for six runs (four earned) as the Indians fell on Wednesday to the Chicago White Sox by an 8-3 final.
It was one of those rare off days for the Tribe right-hander, who was hit often and issued an uncharacteristic three walks in just three and one-third innings of work in Cleveland’s second home game of the season. He was paced with little support from the scuffling Indians offense, which got just two hits and an unearned run off of White Sox starter Carlos Rodon in a quality six innings on the mound.