Cleveland Indians starter Carlos Carrasco has always had ace-like and All-Star pitching ability. It was always figured that all he really needed was a full, healthy season for that to become apparent.
In 2017, Carrasco finally had a season in which he was healthy. The baseball world took notice as he emerged from the large shadow that is cast over the rest of the Tribe rotation by two-time Cy Young Award winner and staff ace Corey Kluber.
For the second time in four seasons, Cleveland’s Corey Kluber has been selected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America as the American League’s Cy Young Award winner.
The second time might not have been quite as sweet for Kluber, but it came with far less drama than the first time that he won the award in a tight contest with Seattle’s Felix Hernandez in 2014, decided by ten points. Unfortunately for Kluber and his Tribe teammates, much like the season when the Cleveland ace won his first award, the Indians spent the bulk of October as spectators of baseball instead of playing for a championship.
In a game dominated by stellar pitching by both ball clubs, a leadoff solo home run by New York’s Greg Bird off of former teammate Andrew Miller in the seventh inning provided the only run of the contest and the Yankees held off a late Cleveland Indians rally in a 1-0 final on Sunday night.
The victory guaranteed at least one more day in the Yankees’ season as they fended off elimination in the American League Division Series and avoided a sweep at the hands of the Tribe, who lost for just the fifth time in the last 40 games and were shut out for the first time since July 14 in Oakland, the first game of the second half of the season.
If momentum is a thing in Major League Baseball, one would have to think it is firmly on the side of the Cleveland Indians. They will look to ride that wave to an American League Division Series clinching win on Sunday night in the Bronx as the Indians face off with the host New York Yankees.
If a team is able to put up six runs against Corey Kluber, there should be no circumstance in which that team loses. In the same game that the Indians also lost star slugger Edwin Encarnacion with what look like a horrific right ankle injury, the Indians methodically chipped away at a five-run Yankees lead, cutting the gap to one on a grand slam from Francisco Lindor, an eighth inning solo shot from Jay Bruce to tie the game, highly effective relief pitching in between, and a perfectly placed walk-off single down the third base line by Yan Gomes in the 13th inning to give the Indians an improbable 9-8 come from behind victory in a game that will be talked about by many for years, if not decades, to come.
As he takes the mound Sunday night at Yankee Stadium, Cleveland Indians starter Carlos Carrasco is sure to hear plenty of boos from what can be raucous and loud crowd for visiting teams to deal with. This New York crowd is sure to be extra amped up for their home team, returning from the first two games at Progressive Field, with the Tribe holding a commanding 2-0 series lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series. Those Yankees fans will not want to see Carrasco pitch like an ace, as he has done so many times over the past few seasons.
All of that will be perfectly fine to Carrasco. He will be simply happy to be pitching in a playoff game Sunday after an excruciatingly long wait. One of the longer-tenured and certainly talented Indians players, Carrasco had to sit idly by while his teammates enjoyed the breakthrough success of winning and A.L. championship in 2016.
Last September, the Indians were humming along, well on their way to winning the American League Central Division championship and well on their way to the playoffs. Cy Young winner in 2014, Corey Kluber, and Carrasco were primed to form a formidable one-two postseason punch that would be hard for any team to topple. Then, disasaster struck for the Tribe’s No. 2 starter.
The Indians and Carlos Carrasco took full advantage of a Minnesota Twins lineup missing plenty of its regulars on Thursday as Cleveland rolled to a 5-2 victory and its 100th win of the 2017 season.
Less than 12 hours after the Twins celebrated a remarkable run to the postseason when they claimed the final playoff spot in the American League, Minnesota returned to the field looking to deal the Indians their first series loss since July 31-August 1 in Boston. A lineup full of bench pieces and late season call-ups would not be up to the task as Carrasco shut the Twins down in his final playoff tune up.
This week’s series between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins from Progressive Field has a brand new meaning as the surprise Twins look to lock up the second American League Wild Card spot and a possible first round matchup with the Indians in the ALDS.
The Indians (98-58) will look to prevent the Twins (82-74) from celebrating on their home field, but it may all be just delaying the inevitable. Minnesota comes into play on Tuesday night with a five-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the final playoff spot still available on the junior circuit side of the Major League Baseball landscape. Minnesota is coming off of a sweep of the Detroit Tigers, dropping its magic number to clinch a playoff spot to two games.
The Indians took the lead on the first batter of the afternoon and never looked back on Saturday as Cleveland used four long balls to defeat the Seattle Mariners by an 11-4 final.
The game was a bit closer than the final score implied as it was still a two-run contest in the sixth when Carlos Carrasco exited one of his final starts of the regular season. With Seattle on the board for the first time in the sixth, the Indians responded by putting up eight runs over the final three innings to erase all doubt. Seattle did not help its cause throughout the contest, committing five errors and several other blunders that could have easily joined them on the stat sheet.
The Indians’ rookies and minor league call-ups enjoyed some friendly superhero themed hazing prior to their flight to Seattle on Thursday. The Tribe will look for more on-the-field heroics as the team will take on the Mariners in Cleveland’s final road series of the regular season.
The Indians (96-57) will continue their pursuit of the best record in the Majors after pulling within a game of the Los Angeles Dodgers (97-56) after an incredible run beginning in the last week of August. The team is 27-1 in its last 28 games and sits just four games short of 100 wins on the season, which would mark just the third time in franchise history that the Indians have reached the century mark in victories. They added three more wins to their season total during the week, completing a season series sweep of the Los Angeles Angels to guarantee at least a .500 road trip while extending their road winning streak to a franchise record 14 straight.
There was no letdown for the Indians on Saturday afternoon in Cleveland’s first game after the end of its 22-game winning streak as the club used a big four-run sixth inning to break open a one-run game and coasted to an 8-4 win over the Kansas City Royals to reduce its magic number to clinch the American League Central Division to one.
Carlos Carrasco had the unfamiliar task of ending a “losing streak” for the Indians, who had not been in the position of playing after a loss since the fourth week of August. While he did not have his best stuff, he gave the Indians a good start and his offense came up with plenty of needed support to earn the win. At 92 wins and 57 losses on the year, the Tribe will need to go 8-5 in its final 13 games to reach the century mark for just the third time in franchise history.
The Cleveland Indians sent a very loud message to the Kansas City Royals when the two clubs met six times over two series in August. The Tribe took two of three early in the month, outscoring KC 22-5, and then swept a later set in Cleveland, putting up three straight shutouts while tallying 20 runs of their own.
The Royals will try to change that trend during a four-game weekend series with the Indians in Cleveland, but will have the daunting task of trying to stop the Indians’ 21-game winning streak first.
The pressure of a long winning streak has not been too much for the Indians, as Cleveland pulled within one game of the American League record for consecutive wins on Monday night with its 19th straight victory, an 11-0 shutout of the Detroit Tigers from Progressive Field.
There seems to be little slowing down the Indians (88-56), who have made it loud and clear that they are the favorites to claim the American League pennant despite missing several big names from the lineup and appearing unfazed by injuries that have chipped away at the roster throughout the second half of the schedule. Despite missing three former All-Stars in Andrew Miller, Michael Brantley, and Jason Kipnis and losing rookie Bradley Zimmer to what appears to be a season ending broken left hand, the Indians kept on rolling in the series opener with the Tigers and continued their dominance of Detroit since the beginning of July after dropping the first two series against them to start the season.
The Indians were challenged by rookie Myles Jaye on Monday night, as the young right-hander was making his third Major League appearance and first career start with the unenviable job of stopping Cleveland’s reign of terror on AL clubs. He would dodge a jam in the first, but that would be the last time he would slow down the Tribe.