Cleveland’s four-game winning streak and brief return to the top spot in the American League Central came to an end on Saturday as Jake Odorizzi and the Minnesota bullpen pitched around consistent base traffic in a 4-1 Twins win.
The Minnesota All-Star Odorizzi played the stopper again after four subpar starting pitching performances from the men around him in the Twins starting rotation this week. He was hardly at his sharpest, allowing five hits and four walks in five and two-thirds innings, but he did the most important aspect of his job, keeping the Indians from crossing home plate safely.
Mike Clevinger returned in name from the 10-day injured list, but not in typical production as the Tribe right-hander was tagged for a career-high seven runs in just one and two-thirds innings as Cleveland was rocked by the Baltimore Orioles, 13-0, on Friday night.
The O’s went off in three different innings and scored a single run in one other to bury the Indians quickly from Maryland. John Means provided a five-and-fly for the Birds, exiting safely with an eight-run edge from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He allowed just one hit and struck out five, preventing the Indians offense from getting going for more than half of the ball game. The Baltimore bullpen behind him was not quite as efficient, scattering five hits and a walk over the final four innings, but they too kept the Cleveland lineup from touching home plate.
Jason Kipnis capped a three-hit day at the plate with the deciding blow in the bottom of the tenth to send a tired Cleveland crowd to a 3-2 walk-off fireworks display against the Kansas City Royals on Monday night.
After losing a one-run lead in the top of the eighth, the Indians needed bonus baseball to find a fourth straight win in a game already delayed more than two hours by rains in the middle innings. They pulled out the victory in another dramatic Progressive Field moment, walking off for the fifth time this year on Kipnis’ sixth long ball of the season.
The Indians used a five-run first to set the stage on Wednesday night and Jason Kipnis hit a pair of home runs as Cleveland routed the host Texas Rangers in a 10-4 final.
The Tribe offense was alive and well as a hot June continued for the club, which now sits with the best record in the American League in the month at 11-5. The Indians (39-34) used five multi-hit games and 12 hits in total to put up a second straight double digit scoring effort to clinch at least a series split with the Rangers (39-35) while moving a half-game in front of them in the overall American League standings.
Jake Bauers hit for the first Indians cycle since 2016 and the offense used a season-high eight-run fourth inning to rout the Detroit Tigers in a 13-4 win on Friday night.
The Cleveland offense enjoyed its series opener at Comerica Park despite losing an early 2-0 lead. After falling behind in the third, the team batted around while putting up eight runs in the fourth and tacked on three more runs for good measure to easily defeat the host Tigers. Six different Tribe hitters had multi-hit games, including a three-hit day from Roberto Perez and a cycle for Bauers, who needed his last at bat in the eighth to become the ninth Cleveland player in the 119-year history of the organization to get a single, double, triple, and homer in the same game.
The Indians spoiled the final regular season start in Cleveland for longtime Tribe southpaw CC Sabathia and claimed another big series win over a playoff caliber opponent on Saturday afternoon with an 8-4 win over the New York Yankees.
Playing in his 19th and final Major League season, the Sabathia farewell tour made its stop in Cleveland with a big milestone on the line for the left-hander. Looking for his 250th career win in his last Progressive Field start (his home for eight big league seasons), Sabathia was good in the early going, but ran into trouble late and was bested by Adam Plutko, who was called up from Triple-A Columbus for a spot start for the Tribe.
The Indians will need another starting pitcher next week.
Cleveland announced on Saturday morning that pitcher Adam Plutko and catcher Eric Haase had been optioned to Triple-A Columbus. The Tribe made a pair of moves with the vacated roster spots, recalling outfielder Greg Allen from Columbus while also purchasing the contract of left-handed reliever Josh Smith from their top farm affiliate.
The Tampa Bay Rays used four home runs, including one of an unconventional variety, to rout the Cleveland Indians by a 7-2 final on Thursday night in the series opener from Progressive Field.
The Rays (29-18) took an aggressive approach at the plate against Indians’ right-hander Adam Plutko to jump out to an early lead, then used the middle innings to tack on plenty of insurance while the Cleveland bats were baffled by left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who was called up by Tampa prior to the game. He worked a career-high seven and one-third innings for his third win of the year. The Indians (25-24) dropped their fourth straight game on their eleven-game homestand and fell further in back of the homer-happy Minnesota Twins in the American League Central.
Previous results do not always predict future outcomes and that was the case on Saturday as Adam Plutko and the Cleveland Indians bullpen combined on a one-hit beauty over the Baltimore Orioles, 4-1, from Progressive Field.
The Indians have been looking for some answers in their starting rotation after losses of both Mike Clevinger and Corey Kluber have left the team a bit thin at the MLB level. While Jefry Rodriguez seems to have replaced Clevinger, Kluber’s spot was unsuccessfully held down in a pair of short starts by Cody Anderson, who was optioned back to Triple-A Columbus earlier in the week.
Plutko was recalled by the Indians prior to the game from Columbus, where he made a pair of conflicting appearances for the Clippers while looking to return from a right forearm strain suffered in the spring that had kept him on the shelf to open the year.
Columbus may open the International League schedule on Thursday night, but even more eyes will be on the club on Friday, when the Clippers will become Los Veleros de Columbus for the first of 397 Copa de la Diversión games scattered across the minor league landscape on the 2019 schedule.
In addition to the new nickname and colorful new jerseys and logos coinciding with their participation in the “Fun Cup” this season, the Clippers will also begin life anew with a new skipper at the helm, Tony Mansolino, who takes over for long-time Columbus captain Chris Tremie.
On a cool and rainy day in northeast Ohio, there was something comforting about seeing the Cleveland Indians back on the ball diamond once again.
A new look Tribe, returning one familiar face in Carlos Santana after purging several others in the offseason (including the loved-or-hated Chief Wahoo), will get its work in from Arizona this spring, with many roster spots up for grabs. In addition to a wide open battle for bullpen spots around closer Brad Hand, the Indians have a wildly uncertain outfield picture as well as a need to crown a utility man to start the season.
Major League Baseball will kick off the 2019 season with its earliest start ever (excluding international openers) as all 30 teams will take the field on March 28. Follow along with Did The Tribe Win Last Night as we count down the days until Opening Day 2019. – BT
Countdown to Opening Day – 45 days
When it comes to starting pitching depth, the Cleveland Indians have had plenty in recent years, with a rotation jam packed with talented arms. That has proven to be a tough situation for Adam Plutko, the current wearer of the number 45 in Cleveland, to crack through.
The 27-year-old right-hander and eleventh round pick in the 2013 draft out of UCLA got his first extended look in 2018 when the starting staff was dealing with injuries throughout the year. Having proven himself at the minor league level and after putting up good numbers in his third stint at Triple-A Columbus, Plutko got a chance to join his former college teammate, Trevor Bauer, as one of the many starters used by the club a year ago.