2019: Enjoy Him
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.
With the wailing and gnashing of teeth this off-season, it’s easy to forget how good we have it (relatively speaking) as Indians fans. I can still remember the doldrums of the 1980s, when terrible teams played in a decrepit stadium in front of a crowd of my family and what seemed like about 1,200 of our closest friends.
A lot of the Tribe’s recent good fortune is due in large part to one man: Terry Francona, who took the job in 2013. And thanks to a contract extension, it appears he’ll be in the Indians dugout for years to come.
The Indians announced a two-year contract extension Wednesday morning that will keep Francona as Tribe manager through 2022. If he finishes the contract out – and absent some terrible scandal, I still believe the only way he leaves is on his own accord – he’ll be the longest-tenured Indians manager, eclipsing Lou Boudreau.
The Cleveland bullpen allowed three runs after seven shutout innings of one-hit baseball from Mike Clevinger, but a similar disastrous effort from the Chicago White Sox allowed the Indians to rally with four runs in the bottom of the eighth for a 5-3 win in Monday’s Home Opener from Progressive Field.
Three different Tribe relievers combined for two extra base hits, a walk, a costly error, and three poorly timed runs in the top of the eighth as the dormant White Sox lineup woke up to claim a 3-1 lead. Chicago manager Rick Renteria responded with a trip to his own bullpen after seven one-run innings from Ivan Nova, but it proved to be costly.
The concerns surrounding the Cleveland Indians and their lackluster offseason were brought to the forefront over the weekend, when the offense was limited to just five runs and amassed 39 strikeouts in a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins.
The Indians (1-2) scuffled during the opening weekend of the 2019 regular season against their number one rival in the American League Central, the Twins. While the starting pitching put together a pair of good outings and the bullpen proved serviceable in small doses, the offense was dead on arrival, mustering just two runs in a win on Saturday and three runs in garbage time on Sunday after trailing eight runs. The Indians will look to some home cooking to right the early season woes of an otherwise unpleasant experience at Target Field, as the offense looked as bad as many feared it did on paper.
Cold weather did not slow or stop the Minnesota Twins in game three of the season, as they tallied nine runs off of Cleveland Indians pitching to earn a series victory with a 9-3 win on Sunday.
The rubber match of the season opening series in Target Field did not favor the Indians, as they fell behind early as the Twins tallied a run in the second and two more in the fourth, but it was a disastrous fifth inning that broke the game wide open. Paced to an 8-0 lead at the time, the Twins breezed to an easy win from there, especially facing an anemic Indians offense that racked up 13 strikeouts for the third straight game.
After showing some good flashes in Goodyear but being informed that he would not make the Opening Day roster, Ryan Flaherty opted out of his minor league pact with the Cleveland Indians on March 20 to see what options were out there.
On Sunday, the 32-year-old utility man returned to the Tribe, agreeing to a minor league deal. He is expected to report to Triple-A Columbus in advance of the Clippers season opening series with the Indianapolis Indians beginning from Huntington Park on Thursday, April 4.