2019: Enjoy Him
The weekend didn’t go quite as planned for the Cleveland Indians, but they did pick up a game on the Minnesota Twins in their three-game series as they claimed a 5-2 win on Sunday to take their set from Target Field.
Entering the weekend series on the road in the Twin Cities, the Indians trailed by six and a half games in the American League Central. The two clubs traded off wins in the first two games of the series before Cleveland captured the rubber match in a well-pitched game by Mike Clevinger, who was backed by a pair of homers from Carlos Santana and Francisco Lindor as the Indians picked up one on the Twins to pull within five and a half games in the division with 18 games left on the regular season slate.
The Minnesota Twins rallied with four runs in the seventh inning to knock off the visiting Cleveland Indians in a 5-3 win on Saturday night.
Facing All-Star Jake Odorizzi, who had posted strong numbers against the Indians in three starts this season, the Cleveland bats struggled to get anything going until the sixth inning, but a two-run outburst gave the club a late lead. While the Indians got a good effort from rookie Aaron Civale against the tough Twins lineup, the bullpen could not protect the one-run lead, coughing up four runs in the seventh, capped by the second home run of the day from Mitch Garver that served as the back-breaker.
For the second straight game for the Cleveland Indians at Target Field, the Tribe used a four-run frame in extra innings to knock off the Minnesota Twins, this time skipping the Carlos Santana grand slam and instead using three separate RBI base knocks with two men out to stun the host club in a 6-2 final.
A game dominated by solid starting pitching on both sides of the field was decided by the bullpens in eleven innings. The Indians sent ten men to the plate in the eleventh, putting up four hits while plating four runs with two men out to earn a much-needed win in the first of six games remaining between Cleveland and Minnesota in the month of September. The Tribe, desperate for every win possible as they look to remain in the mix in the American League Central race as well as the AL Wild Card chase, pulled off the stunning win for their fifth win against the Twins in their last six contests.
Sometimes, the worst thing for a team is to face a pitcher after an abysmal start. That was the case for the Cleveland Indians on Thursday afternoon as Chicago’s Reynaldo Lopez bounced back from a career-worst performance with a complete game one-hitter in a 7-1 White Sox win over the Tribe.
After holding on by the skin of their teeth on Wednesday, momentum failed to carry over for the Indians on Thursday as Lopez shut down the Tribe for nine innings to win his ninth game of the season. Coming off of a two-thirds of an inning performance against the Atlanta Braves in his last start on August 31, Lopez looked like a completely different pitcher as he allowed just one run on one hit with three walks and eleven strikeouts while facing just four batters over the minimum. His offense gave him a pair of early runs in the second, then broke the game open for good in a three-run sixth against Cleveland starter Zach Plesac.
Oscar Mercado had a day at the plate, but it was his work with the glove in desperate times in the ninth inning that the Indians may talk about for the rest of the season. The rookie center fielder’s diving catch with the bases loaded and one out in a two-run game in the ninth saved the game for Cleveland and may have very well have saved its playoff chances as the Tribe held off the Chicago White Sox, 8-6.
Shane Bieber was backed with runs in six of eight innings by his offensive teammates, but the bullpen faltered late for a second straight night and let the White Sox back into the game. Mercado’s catch saved several runs, but Nick Wittgren still had to slam the door for one final out to secure a desperately needed win for the Indians.
Carlos Carrasco’s return to a Cleveland mound was spoiled by the Chicago White Sox as they popped a pair of home runs off of the right-hander in a four-run eighth inning to stun the Indians in a 6-5 final on Tuesday night.
The unfortunate turn of events spoiled a strong start from Mike Clevinger, who left after seven innings of work in line to win his tenth consecutive decision for the Tribe. It was a tightly pitched game on both sides for much of the night, with the Indians finally striking through in the bottom of the seventh against White Sox starter Dylan Cease before Chicago responded in a big way against Carrasco the next half inning.
A little home cooking may have done the Indians some good. Back from a six-game road trip through Detroit and Tampa, the Cleveland lineup put up eleven runs in an 11-3 rout of the Chicago White Sox to start a four-game set from Progressive Field on Monday night.
The Indians backed starter Aaron Civale with runs in six of eight innings at the plate, including a three-run first and three more in the seventh to put the game away for good. It was hardly a well-pitched game for either club, as the two sides combined to throw 383 pitches while walking more batters (18) than they struck out (14) in a contest that ran four hours and seven minutes. Three errors between the two clubs added to the sloppy day on the field, as did rains in the early innings.
In a key matchup against a potential playoff foe this weekend, the Cleveland Indians did not show up. The Tampa Bay Rays, however, got another strong pitching performance from All-Star Charlie Morton and piled up runs in the middle and late innings to complete a three-game sweep of the Indians behind an 8-2 final.
The Cleveland bats were missing for much of the weekend, much as they have been over the course of the last couple of weeks. For the second time in the last four series, the Indians failed to earn a win against a playoff caliber opponent while looking as though they have run out of gas after several demoralizing late season injuries have put significant dents in the offense. The Tribe mustered just six hits, and both runs scored came from Jake Bauers, who rejoined the team after a month away to replace the injured Tyler Naquin, who was lost after a torn ACL suffered in Friday night’s loss.
The annual September call ups arrived to Tampa ahead of Sunday’s series finale with the Rays and the Cleveland Indians needed to get creative to get all the names onto the active roster.
The most notable of the moves were the additions of pitchers Carlos Carrasco (leukemia) and Dan Otero (right shoulder inflammation) from the 60-day injured list. Eric Haase joined the club in more conventional fashion as he was recalled for the second time this season from Triple-A Columbus. In addition, the Indians selected the contracts of right-handed reliever James Hoyt and utility man Ryan Flaherty from Columbus.
The Tampa Bay Rays cut further into the Cleveland Indians Wild Card edge on Saturday, using four home runs to push past the visiting club in a 9-6 final.
The Indians pitching staff was no match for the Rays lineup in the middle game of three from Tropicana Field as the host Tampa club quieted the Tribe bats for much of the evening despite Cleveland holding a two-run first inning lead. Tampa took the lead in the third on its second homer of the contest, then added on with a pair of three-run innings in the sixth and seventh to put the Tribe to bed.
The injury bug has bitten the Cleveland Indians again.
Outfielder Tyler Naquin is done for the 2019 season after tearing his right ACL in the bottom of the fifth inning of Friday’s 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Indians placed Naquin on the 10-day injured list and recalled outfielder/first baseman Jake Bauers from Triple-A Columbus to take his roster spot.
The tables turn quickly at times in baseball. One day after blanking the Detroit Tigers by a 2-0 final, the Indians had the favor returned by the Tampa Bay Rays, who used a four-run seventh to complete a 4-0 shutout of Cleveland in Friday’s series opener from Tropicana Field.
In a matchup of two teams fighting for American League Wild Card playoff spots, the Rays captured a big win over the Indians in a well pitched game between both clubs for the first six innings. The Rays ran up the score in the seventh, scratching across a run off of starter Shane Bieber before Adam Cimber allowed the back-breaking blow on a three-run blast by former Indians first baseman Jesus Aguilar.