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 – 33 days
With plenty of question marks on the Indians roster heading into the 2019 season, one of the answers that is known is that Brad Hand will take the mound in his number 33 looking to slam the door frequently.
While there is plenty of room for complaints about the Tribe’s lackluster offseason, one filled with the purging of more than a half dozen regular contributors to the lineup over the last few years, the team was forward thinking at the trade deadline last year when the Indians pulled off a trade with the San Diego Padres to bring Hand and Adam Cimber to Cleveland for top prospect Francisco Mejia (who wore 33 for the Tribe during the 2017 season). Knowing the exorbitant price on quality relief arms and with both Cody Allen and Andrew Miller hitting free agency after the 2018 season, the Indians elected to pick up two controllable arms from the Friars at the hefty cost of their top overall prospect.
After several years of boasting one of the game’s best bullpens, including the 2016 version that nearly carried the club to a World Series championship, the Cleveland Indians’ bullpen took a major nose dive this past season.
The Tribe’s 2018 ‘pen was among the worst in the game. The unit’s 4.60 ERA was 25th out of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams. Among the five groups lower, only the Colorado Rockies were a playoff team. The Mets, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins had disastrous seasons.
Cleveland’s ‘pen was not able to submarine its regular season, though there were times it seemed it could. However, if the the Indians are to return to the 102-win level they were at in 2017 or the championship-caliber level they appeared to be at the past few years, they will need a return to prominence from the relief corps.
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.
With each start, Corey Kluber looks more and more ready for October baseball. The reigning Cy Young winner kept his name in that hat with a dominant six and two-thirds innings of two-hit baseball, striking out ten Royals in a 3-1 Indians win on Wednesday afternoon.
The Indians won back-to-back games for the first time in the month with a strong effort from their ace on getaway day. The right-hander made short work of the Royals through his 20 outs, and three men out of the bullpen combined to strike out six of the seven hitters that they faced in two and one-third perfect innings of relief.
Corey Kluber settled in for a dominant start, Edwin Encarnacion homered late, and Cleveland tacked on a couple of insurance runs off of the Tampa bullpen on Friday night as the Indians defeated the Rays in a 3-0 shutout.
It was a return to form for a fresh-faced Kluber, who blanked the Rays over seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out eight batters to move to 17-7 on the season while earning his first win after shaving his notable, sizable beard for the first time this year. He was gripped in a tight pitching battle with young right-hander Tyler Glasnow, making his sixth start for the Rays since coming over in the Chris Archer trade at the end of July, but it would be a solo shot from Encarnacion that broke the ice and tilted the scales just in favor of the Tribe, which completed its 14th shutout of the year.
Jason Kipnis hit a three-run home run in the sixth to break a 2-2 tie and the Cleveland Indians held on for a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday afternoon.
It was a needed and timely contribution from the Tribe’s scuffling second baseman in the sixth inning that turned the tides for good in Cleveland’s favor as the team overcame a 2-1 deficit in a four-run frame. The 13th homer of the season for the struggling middle infielder backed a quality effort from Mike Clevinger, who won his tenth game of the year after allowing just two unearned runs on the day.
For the first time since the end of April, the Red Sox have lost three straight games. This time, they have the Indians to blame for two of those defeats as Shane Bieber took a shutout into the seventh inning and the bottom of the Tribe lineup provided an extra punch in a 6-3 win by Cleveland in Boston.
The Red Sox, who entered the night with a 44-17 record at home, took a second straight loss to the Indians to make it three straight defeats for just the second time this season (the other occurred from April 21 to 24 in Oakland against the A’s and Toronto against the Blue Jays). Boston could get nothing going against the Tribe starter Bieber, finally tallying three runs in the seventh with Cleveland already up by five.
A full claim to the Ohio Cup came down to the very last batter on Wednesday night as Brad Hand completed the sweep of the Cincinnati Reds by escaping a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth to secure a 4-3 win for the Cleveland Indians from Great American Ball Park.
In a game of big innings, the Indians took the lead in the sixth with a home run that just barely squeezed over the left field wall. After two strong innings of setup work from Cody Allen, Hand was tasked with the top of the Reds order, but he had to face six batters in a 4-3 game to record his 28th save of the season and his fourth with the Tribe.
The Indians had a scare on Saturday night as Trevor Bauer exited a strong start in the seventh inning after being struck by a line drive, but the Cleveland bullpen held on as the Indians finished off a 3-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Bauer left in the bottom of the seventh inning after being struck by a comebacker off of the bat of Jose Abreu on the second pitch of the inning. The shot struck him in his swinging right leg just above the ankle and the deflection was handled for an out, but after 102 pitches and a pronounced limp, Bauer exited the game.
Francisco Lindor sent a three-run screamer over the wall in right with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give the Cleveland Indians a 5-2 walk-off victory on Wednesday night.
For much of the first eight innings, there was little excitement to cheer for, but the Indians saved the best for last with their third walk-off win of the season (and first since May 27), following a blown save by Cody Allen in the top of the inning.
The Cleveland Indians jumped out to an early lead thanks to a three-run first inning home run by Jose Ramirez and held on late for a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
The Tribe took full advantage of a spot start by Deck McGuire, who was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday to fill in for the injured Tyler Skaggs, who was placed on the disabled list on Saturday. Cleveland would chase him from the contest after retiring just one of seven batters faced and the lead would hold up, giving rookie right-hander Shane Bieber his sixth win of the year.
It was a new month, but the same old results for Indians starter Carlos Carrasco on Wednesday afternoon as he won his fifth straight game with a quality seven and one-third innings of work in Cleveland’s 2-0 shutout of the …