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.
For the second straight night, the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox needed eleven innings to decide a winner. And for the second straight night, it was the Indians who came away victorious as Greg Allen delivered a bases loaded single with one out to give Cleveland a walk-off win in the final home game of the 2018 season.
The early innings provided a back-and-forth contest as the Indians fell behind early before a big three-run outburst in the fourth. The lead lasted for just a batter, and then both offenses went silent until the Cleveland lineup found the plate one final time.
Baseball will get a playoff preview of sort over the weekend as the Cleveland Indians host the Boston Red Sox in three straight games from Progressive Field. The series may lack the usual buildup, however, as both teams have clinched and will likely be looking to rest up players in anticipation for the postseason grind.
The Indians (85-67) claimed a pair of wins in three tries against the Chicago White Sox in their second-to-last series against their young fourth place rival on the year. The team needed a walk-off grand slam in the second game of the series to claim a series win as they lost in extra innings on Thursday night. The Indians and Red Sox last met in the third week of August and each team won a pair of games, with Cleveland claiming the first two close contests before Boston earned 10-4 and 7-0 victories in the final games.
The Cleveland Indians rallied back from a 3-1 deficit with a seven-run inning, then held on to outlast the Toronto Blue Jays in a 9-8 final on Saturday afternoon.
The Indians guaranteed at least a series split with the Jays after a big fifth inning looked to tip the odds in the Tribe’s favor. The Blue Jays, however, did not back down, making it a game until the 27th and final out was recorded with the winning run at the plate and the tying run in scoring position.
The Indians are back on the road this weekend after a nine-game homestand as they head north of the border to Toronto to play four times with the Blue Jays.
The Indians (79-60) dropped their magic number to eight on Thursday when they completed a series win over the Kansas City Royals in a tight 3-1 victory from Progressive Field while the second place Minnesota Twins dropped their fifth straight in a 9-1 defeat against Houston. The pair of wins over the Royals brought the Tribe’s record during their nine-game homestand to 5-4, salvaging things some after dropping three in a row over the weekend.
The Indians’ offensive took the Labor Day holiday off, but the Royals did no such thing as four Kansas City homers off of Cleveland starter Adam Plutko and the Tribe bullpen led to a 5-1 shelling at Progressive Field on Monday afternoon.
Cleveland’s recent offensive woes continued as the club combined for just four hits. After eight shutout innings from the Kansas City staff, the Tribe scored a run in the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate with the bases loaded and one out, but no more would cross as the Royals sent the Indians to their third straight defeat to open the month of September.
The Indians and Royals will kick off their first of two September series with a three-game set from Progressive Field this week.
The Indians (77-59) dropped two of three in a tough series against the scrappy and young Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend in closely contested games. It marked the Tribe’s first home series loss since July 23-25 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Indians have been one of the better hitting teams in the second half of the season, ranking second in the AL with a .263 batting average and third in on-base percentage at .334 in that span. Cleveland was the only team in August to not record a triple, but the lineup tallied the fewest number of strikeouts of all 30 teams in those 31 days.
It was another bad day for the Cleveland Indians bullpen on Wednesday, as they lost an All-Star reliever early in the afternoon before their all-time saves leader blew a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning of a 4-3 loss at Progressive Field to the Minnesota Twins.
For the third time this month, the Indians and Twins will meet on the diamond as Minnesota makes its second trip of August to the city of Cleveland.
The Indians (74-56) will welcome a return home to Cleveland after a tough seven-game road trip over the last week. After splitting with the MLB-best Boston Red Sox to start the week, they dropped two of three to the Kansas City Royals, including a tough loss in the series opener when back-to-back ninth inning homers turned a 4-3 lead into a 5-4 loss in the matter of four pitches. The Tribe has recovered from a rough start to the season against the Twins to pull their season record against the second place club to 8-8. The Indians remain 16-8 in August with a +32 run differential for the month.
For four innings, all was quiet in a getaway day afternoon game between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox from Fenway Park.
Then, the fifth inning happened. The Red Sox ripped off six runs on three separate two-run doubles off of starter Adam Plutko and reliever Adam Cimber to support eight shutout innings from David Price in a 7-0 final.
For the first time this season, the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox will meet on the diamond, providing the world with a potential playoff preview between the best squads of the AL East and AL Central. The Tribe traveled to Boston to start a four-game series with the Red Sox on Monday night.
The Indians (71-52) took two of three from the hapless Baltimore Orioles, capping the series with an 8-0 shutout in the finale on Sunday. Cleveland rode big efforts from unexpected contributors, using its MLB-high tying ninth grand slam of the year to put the game away for good. It marked the seventh straight series win for the Indians. The Tribe has had its issues against the AL East this season, posting a 2-5 record against the New York Yankees and a 1-2 mark against Toronto Blue Jays. The 3-7 mark against those two clubs has been balanced by a 5-2 stomping of the Orioles, who are the worst team in baseball.