The Indians tied the game in the sixth inning with back-to-back home runs, but left the tying run at second base in the bottom of the ninth in a 5-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
With a chance to potentially clinch the American League Central Division in the first game of a nine-game homestand, the Indians were unable to come through with a big hit in the ninth inning with runners in scoring position, continuing some recent woes in those opportunities. Tigers closer Shane Greene walked a tight rope in the final frame, giving up two runs, but holding the last runner at second to secure the win and the save.
With a magic number of two, the Cleveland Indians look to wrap up the American League Central Division during a three-game weekend set with the Detroit Tigers.
The Indians (82-64) had a tough time during the week with Tampa Bay, dropping two of three again for the second time against the Rays this month. It continued season-long woes against the AL East, which has held the Indians to a 14-17 record against it this season. The Indians have crushed the AL Central, winning two out of every three contests to hold a 42-21 record over their division rivals. That mark is tied with the Atlanta Braves for the second-best interdivisional record and trails only the Boston Red Sox’s 48-19 performance against the East.
The Indians come back from a 3-1 deficit with a seven-run eighth inning, capped by a bases loaded single from Sandy Alomar in an 8-3 win for Cleveland over the White Sox in Chicago on the day the club retired Carlton Fisk’s number 72.
With his first inning two-out steal of second in his 140th game of the year on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez added another accomplishment to his growing resume for MVP consideration as he turned in just the 61st 30 homer-30 stolen base season in Major League Baseball history. In doing so, he also became just the third Indians player to accomplish the feat, joining historic seasons turned in by Joe Carter in 1987 and Grady Sizemore in 2008.
Fans can easily remember the type of game-changing ability that Sizemore had, whether it was with the glove, his speed, or with one swing of the bat. Those old enough to watch Carter in his prime in the late 1980s (tough words to even have to write) saw the same power and speed potential on a nightly basis, before his contribution to Cleveland’s future success revolved not around his production, but around the price the club charged the San Diego Padres to send Carter for several prospect pieces which factored largely in the team’s run through the decade to follow.
Tampa’s Blake Snell made another impressive case in his bid for the American League Cy Young Award on Wednesday afternoon as he shut down the Cleveland Indians with just one hit and one run allowed over seven innings in a 3-1 Rays win.
Still on the outskirts of the second AL Wild Card spot, the Rays got a big game from their left-handed ace, who took over the Major League lead in wins with his 19th of the year. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and left with a safe 3-1 lead, with his bullpen taking care of the final two frames to wrap up a disappointing 3-4 road trip for the Tribe.
Snack food fans shed a tear last month when the Dan Dee warehouse in Valley View closed abruptly, signaling the end of a company that could trace its roots back in Cleveland for more than a century.
Maybe a few baseball fans saw occasion to mourn as well.
In just his third season at the helm of the Tribe, 52-year-old Cleveland manager Doc Edwards is fired after a disappointing midseason collapse by the club. He is replaced in the dugout by 41-year-old John Hart, a former minor league manager and coach for the Baltimore Orioles.
Rookie Shane Bieber made arguably the best start of his young career and a pair of solo home runs from his offense, including one from his battery mate, helped the Cleveland Indians secure their sixth straight winning season in a 2-0 shutout over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.
Bieber was locked in all game long, striking out a career-high eleven batters in six and two-thirds innings of shutout baseball. Blasts from Yan Gomes and Edwin Encarnacion off of Rays starter Tyler Glasnow proved to be enough as the 6’8” right-hander was dealt another tough loss against the Indians this season.
With a runner at second base and two down in a one-run game against Neil Ramirez in the seventh, Ji-Man Choi blasted a 3-2 two-seamer deep to right, but hooked it foul before dropping the bat at the plate in frustration. He lofted the next pitch to center to end the inning.
He got to drop the bat again in the bottom of the ninth, but after carrying it nearly all the way to first base before beginning a slow and animated trot around the bases as his two-out, two-run home run off of Indians closer Brad Hand gave the Tampa Bay Rays a shocking 6-5 walk-off win from St. Petersburg.