During the six-year tenure of manager Terry Francona, the Cleveland Indians outfield has been a work in progress, piecemealed together and full of platoons for much of that time. That has been especially true during the club’s three consecutive division championships seasons.
The quest to try and put together an outfield befitting a team with title aspirations is not going to end any time soon. In fact, the jobs of President Chris Antonetti and General Manager Mike Chernoff could be even harder this offseason than the past few.
The last couple of winters, the outfield buzz often centered around whether or not Michael Brantley would be healthy or not. However, at least when he was on the field, there was no doubt who would play left field on an everyday basis.
After nearly two months on the shelf, the Cleveland Indians announced on Tuesday that right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall had been activated from the 10-day disabled list.
Chisenhall’s return had been expected, as he had worked his way back through his rehab assignment with stops at Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. The corresponding transaction to create room on the roster for the outfielder was much more surprising, as the Indians optioned center fielder Bradley Zimmer to Columbus.
Cleveland sports fans are going to want a do-over of Tuesday’s efforts.
While the NBA’s Cavs were falling two games behind the Celtics in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals from Boston, the Indians blew two separate four-run leads and a five-run edge later, squandered several bases loaded opportunities, and saw the bullpen implode again in the late innings as a big lead turned into a close game and ended in disaster, as the Detroit Tigers rallied several times and scored the final six runs to win an ugly 9-8 final from Comerica Park.
Some games are hard to recap and Tuesday was a prime example. The Indians (20-21) got off to a great start in the first inning, giving Josh Tomlin plenty of support before he even took the mound. Given the fact that he had not pitched since May 4 and that he has been home-run-happy this season, a big early lead seemed imperative for the Tribe to have any sort of shot at success in the Motor City. They got it, but it would not be enough.
The Indians waited and waited and waited some more, but finally on Tuesday afternoon, they could wait no longer for Bradley Zimmer‘s injuries to heal up.
The Tribe officially placed their starting center fielder on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday, retroactive to May 12, with a left rib contusion. The injury was the end result of a collision with the wall at Yankee Stadium two Saturdays ago. He had missed six games and had two off days since the ill-fated wall encounter, but has still experienced discomfort while swinging. After missing the finale of the series with the Yankees, he played in the second of two games in Milwaukee against the Brewers, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout on May 9. After Thursday’s off day, he missed the entire series against the Kansas City Royals and the opener of the current series with the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
Rookie Miguel Andujar’s bloop single in front of Tyler Naquin in right scored Giancarlo Stanton with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth, giving the New York Yankees a 7-6 win over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night from Yankee Stadium.
The Indians, playing in a long stretch of baseball, fell behind five runs with another tough start from Josh Tomlin, but the never-say-die club fought back with five runs in the eighth inning and one more in the ninth. But a shaky return to the Majors by Alexi Ogando, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Columbus earlier in the day, put the Indians in a precarious position and Cody Allen could not prevent the white hot Bronx Bombers from sneaking away with a walk-off victory.
The Cleveland Indians will make their only trip to Camden Yards this season when they play the Baltimore Orioles for four games in a weekend wraparound series.
The Indians (9-7) make their return back to the states after a two-day vacation in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they were hosted by the “home” Minnesota Twins in a pair of midweek games. Cleveland used strong pitching and four home runs to capture the game one win before losing a tough 2-1 decision in 16 innings on Wednesday night. They have spent more time in the last week not playing than playing, after rain outs on Saturday and Sunday and off days on Monday and Thursday. How much the lack of game activity affects consistency and routine for the club remains to be seen.
The two-run home run had been an issue in each of Corey Kluber’s first two starts. On Monday night, it was his best friend. A key and needed blast from Bradley Zimmer in the fifth inning gave the Indians’ ace just enough run support and his eight innings of dominant pitching gave Cleveland a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on another chilly day from Progressive Field.
In his defense of his second Cy Young Award, Kluber has looked like a pitcher with postseason aspirations and more hardware in mind as he has put up impressive numbers once again on the mound for the Tribe. But despite his best efforts, the Indians had dropped both of his first two starts as two-run home runs (one by Seattle’s Nelson Cruz in the season opener and another by Los Angeles’ Shohei Ohtani in his second start) off of the right-hander and minimal run support had kept Kluber out of the win column. That changed on Monday, as while the Tribe bats remained ice cold on another frigid night in Cleveland, he made the two runs of support that he received stand up as the Indians (5-5) moved back to .500 with their first consecutive wins of the 2018 campaign.
The Cleveland Indians will continue their ill-advised ten-game early April homestand with a four-game series this week with the Detroit Tigers.
(Seriously…I understand trying to plot out 162 games for 30 teams is no picnic, but rescheduling snow-outs and playing in near-freezing temps because of the stupidity of the schedule makers is infuriating…)
The Indians (4-5) won their first series of the season over the weekend from the Kansas City Royals, but needed a dramatic two-run walk-off homer from Yan Gomes to seal the deal. It salvaged a second strong starting performance from Mike Clevinger in the process and gave the Tribe the rubber match of the series. The previous two games were both one-run contests, with the Indians winning on Friday night by a 3-2 final before losing on Saturday afternoon by a 1-0 decision.
Yan Gomes sent the Indians home a winner on Sunday afternoon in walk-off fashion as his two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth gave Cleveland a 3-1 win.
On the coldest day on record in the history of Progressive Field (32 degrees at first pitch), the Indians bats were silenced for seven innings before a bizarre and lucky eighth inning helped the Tribe tie the game ahead of Gomes’ skyscraper that just cleared the 19-foot wall in left field to give Cleveland (4-5) its first series win of the year.
The Cleveland Indians used a well-rounded attack on Monday night to continue an impressive run of dominance over the Los Angeles Angels with a six-hit 6-0 shutout in Anaheim.
The Indians (2-2) moved back to the .500 mark with a game that featured strong pitching, timely hitting, clutch base running, the long ball, and a little bit of the unexpected, ending the Angels’ (3-2) modest winning streak at three games. They extended their winning streak against the Angels to 12 straight, dating back to June 12, 2016.
A pitching matchup that was highlighted by ties to the opposing club, it was former Angels draft pick Mike Clevinger who shined brightest in his first start of the season against former Indians farmhand J.C. Ramirez. “Sunshine” was backed by six runs of offense from his Tribe teammates as the club coasted to an easy win at Angel Stadium.
While the offseason has been historically slow and the winter has crawled along at an even slower pace, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night look ahead to the warmer days of the 2018 season by remembering Tribe players past and present.
Countdown to Opening Day – 4 days
There are high hopes for the current owner of the number four in Cleveland, second-year outfielder Bradley Zimmer.
The Cleveland Indians’ postseason dreams may have come to a crashing halt with the nightmare scenario of losing slugger Edwin Encarnacion in the first inning of Game 2 in the American League Division Series, one lost in five games to the New York Yankees.
They may have also started much sooner than that, despite the club winning the first two games of the ALDS.