2019: Enjoy Him
Kansas City’s Homer Bailey channeled his former self for the Royals on Saturday night, blanking the Indians over seven innings of two-hit ball in a 3-0 shutout of Cleveland from Kauffman Stadium.
Bailey was masterful and kept the Indians off balance with a mixture of offspeed pitches down in the zone while using the upper portions of the plate as he pleased with a 94 mile per hour fastball. He struck out six and walked just two while giving up a single and a double to Tribe second baseman Brad Miller.
The Cleveland Indians announced on Saturday afternoon that pitchers Jefry Rodriguez and Cody Anderson have been recalled from Triple-A Columbus. Rodriguez is scheduled to make the start for the Indians on Saturday evening against Homer Bailey and the Kansas City Royals from Kauffman Stadium.
Carlos Carrasco was rocked again as he was charged with six runs on six hits while retiring just two Royals hitters as Kansas City rolled to an easy 8-1 win over the Cleveland Indians in the series opener from Kauffman Stadium on Friday night.
The Royals’ offense broke out and ended the club’s ten-game losing streak behind an impressive first inning as the lineup jumped all over Carrasco, who lost for the second time in 2019. Carrasco made just 28 pitches while facing all nine Royals hitters, who put together a giant inning that proved far too much for the Tribe to overcome while dealing with a well-pitched outing from Kansas City right-hander Brad Keller.
The Cleveland Indians are back on the road as they make their slow and steady crawl to the west coast with a three-day layover in Missouri to face the struggling Kansas City Royals.
The Royals (2-10) are still looking for their first win in April after losing each of their first nine games this month (and ten straight dating into March) after winning their first two games of the season. Kansas City was swept by the Seattle Mariners in four straight during the week, losing by a single run in each of the final two games despite putting up 19 total runs in the series. The Royals dropped 12 of 19 games to the Indians in 2018 and were just 3-6 at home against Cleveland while being outscored 101-71 for the year.
The Indians (8-4) have picked up their play over the last week. They began their first homestand of the year by splitting with the Chicago White Sox to open April before sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays in four straight last weekend. They outscored the Detroit Tigers 13-6 in their three-game series at Comerica Park, winning the opener before capturing the rubber match on Thursday with a 4-0 shutout.
Big games from Leonys Martin and Carlos Santana and seven shutout innings of work from Shane Bieber earned the Cleveland Indians a series win in Detroit with a 4-0 victory over the Tigers on Thursday afternoon.
The starting rotation has frequently been mentioned as the number one key to success for the Indians this season after offseason moves damaged the daily lineup taking the field. Bieber, the team’s number five starter, showed that he is far more than just a throwaway piece to the pitching staff, controlling the Tigers with seven dominant innings on the mound in his second start of the year. He was backed by some early run support from the offense, which tallied four single runs in the first, third, fourth, and seventh innings, to give him the edge, and he made it stand up at the end of the day.
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.