While the conclusion of the 2018 playing season came just Sunday night, teams around the Major League Baseball landscape are already back to work on making roster decisions that will affect 2019 and beyond.
The Cleveland Indians resolved a pair of these problems on Tuesday, when the team announced that the 2019 team option for starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco had been picked up, while the option for outfielder Brandon Guyer had been declined.
Corey Kluber pitched seven innings of shutout, four-hit baseball, and the offense used four late runs to back their starter to his 20th win of the season and the team’s 17th shutout of the campaign in a 4-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.
The reigning Cy Young winner pitched nearly stress-free baseball from the southside of Chicago in the series opener with the White Sox, despite slow moving run support. Kluber worked seven shutout frames, striking out eleven batters and walking just one to go with the four hits that he surrendered to win 20 games for the first time in his career while becoming the first Indians pitcher to do so since Cliff Lee won 22 in 2008. The offense awoke with a pair of homers late and used three runs in the ninth inning to pad what was at the time a one-run advantage. In a flashback to better bullpen days, both Andrew Miller and Cody Allen worked perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts to wrap up the evening with 17 straight White Sox batters retired by the Tribe pitching staff.
An Indians lineup composed of bench pieces, recent minor league call-ups, and players getting in routine work while returning from injury challenged the Tigers on Sunday, but a ninth-inning rally fell just short as Detroit claimed a 6-4 win in Cleveland.
The Tigers (61-88) took a series from the Indians (83-66) for just the second time this season, improving to 6-13 against the Tribe this season. Cleveland owned Detroit throughout the year, outscoring the division rival 116-47 for the season. The Indians rested all of the regulars on Sunday, one day after formally clinching the American League Central crown for the third straight season, but the backups did their best to try to bring Cleveland another win.
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.
Trevor Bauer provided six innings of shutout baseball and the offense erupted for a ten-spot in a 10-0 three-hit shutout of the Minnesota Twins on Monday night from Progressive Field.
Bauer entered the day just one strikeout short of matching his career best and five short of the 200-mark and he knocked out both accomplishments with ease in an eleven-strikeout performance as the Indians completed their 12th shutout of the year.
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.
The Cleveland Indians used four home runs and five late inning runs to knock off the Detroit Tigers from Comerica Park on Friday night in an 8-3 final.
In a close pitching matchup between Carlos Carrasco and pesky Detroit right-hander Mike Fiers, it would be a battle of bullpens that proved to be the difference as the Indians broke open the game with a big inning against the Tigers’ lone All-Star representative, Joe Jimenez.
The Pittsburgh Pirates hit three home runs and used seven runs in the first two innings to run away with a 9-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night.
The Pirates (53-49) continued their winning ways with their eleventh straight victory in an easy romp over the Tribe, racking up early runs for the second straight night against Cleveland pitching. It marked the club’s longest winning streak since September of 1996. They were aided by strong starting pitching from Joe Musgrove, who allowed just two runs over seven innings of work.
The Indians return to Cleveland on Monday, but the trip will not be for long as they host the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game interleague homestand before getting back out to the road.
The Indians (54-44) return home after spending the first weekend after the All-Star break in Texas. They outscored the Rangers by a 25-16 margin, but were blanked in the finale of the series Sunday after putting up 16 runs the day before. The Indians had a rough homestand their last stint at home, going 4-6 against the A’s, Reds, and Yankees. They have not won a home series since June 22-24, when they completed back-to-back sweeps during a nine-game homestand with three wins over the Detroit Tigers, but they remain 31-19 on the year at home. They hold a nine and a half game lead over the Minnesota Twins heading into the week.
A back-and-forth game needed eleven innings for an outcome to be decided on Friday night as the Cleveland Indians captured a 9-8 win in extra innings over the Texas Rangers.
The second half of the schedule started out with some dramatics for the Indians and Rangers in a slugfest on the hottest night of the season for both teams. The two clubs combined for 17 runs on 34 hits while stranding 24 runners on base. Home runs factored in the early scoring for Cleveland, but late blasts by the Rangers forced bonus baseball in the first game after the All-Star break.
After fighting back to a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run infield single, the Cleveland Indians’ defense melted down on the first pitch of the seventh as a “Little League home run” would be the difference in a 5-4 loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday night.
The Yankees’ Austin Romine needed just pitch to cause havoc in the seventh as the Indians worked their back from a 3-0 first inning hole to make it a ball game with a little assistance from New York third baseman Miguel Andujar in the sixth inning. With the crowd re-energized after an unlikely scoring play for Cleveland, it would take just one pitch to knock the winds right out of the sails of the Tribe faithful.
Brandon Guyer pitched for the Cleveland Indians in the ninth inning on Saturday afternoon. If you need an explanation a little bit more specific as to whether or not the Tribe won on Saturday, the answer was a definitive ‘no’.
The Twins rode another big game from Eddie Rosario against Indians pitching this season as Minnesota took an early lead, knocked out Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco after he was struck by a line drive in the second inning, and raced to another win to take its fifth straight game over the Indians this season and its sixth this year in eight tries.