The Cleveland bats, led by a pair of homers and four hits in total from Jason Kipnis, backed a quality start from Trevor Bauer as the Indians again avoided a four-game losing streak with an 8-3 win over the Minnesota Twins in the series finale from Progressive Field on Sunday afternoon.
Dealing with a tough left-hander on the mound in Hector Santiago, the Indians ignored their up-and-down season against southpaws in chasing the veteran starter from the mound early with a nice and needed display of offense with a shuffled lineup.
The Indians gave Bauer early support with a first inning run. Hitting leadoff for the first time this season and facing a pitcher who he owned a .346 average against with a homer and four RBI, the left-handed hitting second baseman Kipnis sent his first homer of the season into the seats in right to put the Indians on the board.
A left wrist injury has landed Cleveland Indians outfielder Brandon Guyer on the 7-day disabled list as the club made several roster moves on Sunday morning.
The Indians also designated utility man Michael Martinez for assignment in the roster shakeup. Cleveland brought up a pair of utility men from the minors as it recalled Erik Gonzalez from Columbus and purchased the contract of the Clippers’ Daniel Robertson to fill Martinez’s vacated spot on the 25- and 40-man rosters.
Guyer aggravated a lingering wrist issue with a swing on Friday and underwent an MRI on Sunday morning. He will see specialist Dr. Thomas Graham to review the results.
What was supposed to be a major strength for the Cleveland Indians this season has so far been a bit of a weakness through the first six weeks of this season. That weak spot has been a starting pitching rotation that many hailed as being among the league’s best before a single meaningful pitch was thrown in 2017.
The only one of the starting five who has met or exceeded expectations thus far is Carlos Carrasco, who has been dominant. That has been needed as ace Corey Kluber has struggled with back problems and is currently on the disabled list. The other three starters in the rotation have simply failed to live up to what the back of their baseball cards say they can be.
Making his second career Major League appearance, Cleveland reliever Paul Shuey becomes just the tenth pitcher in American League history to strike out four batters in one inning, doing so against the Detroit Tigers in a 9-3 Indians victory.
The Cleveland Indians offense was once again nowhere to be found and the Minnesota Twins ran to an easy 4-1 victory on Saturday afternoon from Progressive Field.
The game came down to another bout of wildness from second-year starter Mike Clevinger, making his second start of the season in place of the injured Corey Kluber, who remained sidelined on the 10-day disabled list with back issues. Making the start against another second year right-hander in Minnesota’s Jose Berrios, Clevinger’s walk issues came back to haunt him in the fourth inning and he finally paid dearly for the control problems.
The Akron RubberDucks roster received a big blow this week when the club placed outfielder Greg Allen and catcher Francisco Mejia on the 7-day disabled list with injuries. The moves will deprive the Akron lineup of a pair of its two more exciting players to watch.
The RubberDucks sat in the middle of the Eastern League Western Division pack heading into action on Saturday, winners of three straight to post a 15-17 record on the year, five games in back of the first place Altoona Curve while sitting in the fourth spot in the division.
Indians shortstop Joe Sewell, in his fourth season in the Majors, strikes out twice in one game for the first time in his 352-game career. Making this even more significant is that the future Hall of Famer will have a multiple strikeout game just one more time in his 14-year MLB career.
For baseball fans who like offense, Friday night’s game at Progressive Field between the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins was not for you. For those fans who like the old fashion pitchers’ duel, you may have enjoyed the event, unless you are a Cleveland fan, as a first inning solo home run proved to be too much to overcome for the slumping Indians offense as Ervin Santana and the Twins shut out the Tribe, 1-0, on a combined three-hitter.
Josh Tomlin (2-4, 5.87 ERA) looked sharp again on the mound for the Indians on Friday, but was the tough luck loser as one pitch to Miguel Sano just three batters into the game would turn out to be the difference. Santana (6-1, 1.50) worked around traffic on the bases throughout the night, but kept a goose egg in the most important column on the scoreboard for him – Indians runs.
The Indians (18-16) have now dropped six of their last ten and once again failed to open a home series with a win. They have done so just once this season, when they won the home opener against the Chicago White Sox before losing the next two in the series. The Twins (18-14) sit atop the AL Central all by their lonesome with a full game lead over the Indians. They have won ten of their last 14 and have homered in 13 straight during that stretch.
The last road trip for the Cleveland Indians did not go quite as planned, so the team may be welcoming a brief stay at Progressive Field over the next six days as the club hosts the Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays.
It will be a big weekend for the Indians (18-15) if they hope to put a little distance between themselves and the Twins (17-14), who are off to a strong start to their season after a disappointing 59-103 showing a year ago.
While the Indians are coming off of a frustrating 4-5 road set through Detroit, Kansas City, and Toronto while the offense struggled to get going until the final days of the trip, the Twins have figured it out at the plate. Since a disasterous mid-April homestand, one that included a three-game sweep by the Indians, the Twins have won four of their last five series overall. They took two from the Chicago White Sox during the week, winning 7-2 on Tuesday and 7-6 on Thursday around a rainout in the middle game of the set.
Rains again washed away another game for the Lynchburg Hillcats as Thursday’s game against the Carolina Mudcats was postponed. The two teams do not meet again in the first half of the Carolina League schedule, so the game will not be rescheduled.
The cancellation marked the fifth time this season that the Hillcats could not play baseball because of the weather and the second time in the last week after last Thursday’s game in Potomac with the Nationals was under water. It stopped Lynchburg from putting an end to a tough battle with Carolina after dropping two of three in a low scoring three-game series. The abbreviated set featured a total of eleven runs between the Hillcats (five) and the Mudcats (six).
Second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera finds his way into the record books as he completes the third unassisted triple play in Cleveland Indians history in a 3-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in the second game of a doubleheader.
Yandy Diaz got the phone call from the Cleveland Indians a little earlier than some might have expected when he was recalled earlier in the week to help the team replace Michael Brantley in the lineup for at least a few days on the turf in Toronto while he recouped from a sprained right ankle. An impressive hitting display by Diaz after his demotion to Triple-A Columbus on April 21 certainly merited that quick second look at the hot-hitting utility man by the Tribe.
The bat has normally not been the problem for Diaz during his professional career, but an inconsistent start with the stick and lingering questions about his ability to play an adequate defense at the Major League level left him in need of regular playing time somewhere, and such an opportunity did not exist with the Indians a few weeks into the regular season schedule.