The Cleveland Indians have yet to win an interleague series in 2017. This time, the culprit was a key eighth inning error that led to a big two-run pinch-hit double by Buster Posey off of Bryan Shaw as the Tribe fell again to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday afternoon, 5-4.
The Indians have been unable to figure out the senior circuit all year long. They fell to 4-13 in head-to-head matchups with the National League and are now 48-45, just a half game in front of the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central Division.
While it may be a meaningless piece of information to some, the Cleveland Indians’ nearly two-year run without a losing streak exceeding three games was pretty remarkable. Just a week short of two years ago, the team began what would be a six-game losing skid in what was the most disappointing season of manager Terry Francona‘s reign in the Tribe dugout. This past weekend, the Indians extended their losing streak to four games after losing the first half finale to Detroit before a three-game sweep by the Oakland Athletics.
The Indians (47-43) will look to end their losing ways as they continue their west coast trip with the rare stop at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. The two clubs have met for just four series in the past and the Indians have not had much luck against the unfamiliar opposition. Coupled with the bad play out of the All-Star break and the club’s lousy 3-11 record during interleague play this season, the next three days could be a rough go for the Indians.
It was a rare rough road start for Carlos Carrasco and the bats of his Cleveland Indians teammates could not kick off the All-Star break rust against Sonny Gray, who led the Oakland Athletics to a 5-0 four-hit shutout late Friday night.
Gray had the daunting task of taking the mound knowing that each start could be the last in the only home that he has known in his professional career. Rumored to be one of the more heavily pursued starting pitchers potentially on the trade block, now with Chicago’s Jose Quintana off of the market, the 27-year-old right-hander had to deal with rumors of his start being scratched less than an hour before first pitch. The speculation swirled through social media and led to him having to put his cell phone away due to the flood of text messages that he received less than an hour before taking the mound from those wondering if there was validity to his participation in “Hug Watch 2017”.
All Gray did from there was pitch like the highly coveted player that interested teams envisioned him to be.
Baseball is back. Tito is back. Heck, even Tyler Naquin is back.
After two long days without any Major League Baseball action (with exception of the trade of Jose Quintana across the sprawling city limits of Chicago), the Cleveland Indians are back in action as they start a Bay Area road trip on Friday night with three games with the Oakland Athletics.
The Indians (47-40) went into the All-Star break in the spot that they belong, leading the American League Central Division. While they have been able to hold off the hard charging Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals in recent weeks, the true test will come down the stretch in the second half. A playoff tested Indians team would presumably have the advantage over a young Twins club with glaring deficits in its starting rotation, but the Royals still could roll the dice and go in on one last hurrah before dealing with a financial crisis in free agency following the season.
With the way Carlos Carrasco was pitching on Friday night at Progressive Field, he was not going to need too much run support. So, of course, the Cleveland bats put up eleven runs as the Indians destroyed the Detroit Tigers in an 11-2 final.
Carrasco got the help that he did not necessarily need as he fired seven innings of two-run baseball while striking out eleven Tigers hitters to win his fifth straight decision. He improved to 10-3 in his final start of the first half. He pitched with a big lead after a five-run third inning by the Tribe off of Detroit starter Jordan Zimmermann and never looked back.
His effort was also a historic one for the record books as he pulled off the “immaculate inning” in the fifth by striking out the side while needing just nine pitches, becoming just the second pitcher in Cleveland Indians history to accomplish the feat and just the 84th to do so in Major League Baseball history (Justin Masterson was the only Tribe pitcher to do it previously, recording his in 2014).
The schedule has worked out in bizarre ways for the Cleveland Indians this season as several times, they have played teams on back-to-back weeks. Such is the case this weekend, when the Indians host the Tigers at Progressive Field, just one weekend after the Motor City Kitties welcomed the Indians to Detroit for a rain-shortened three-game set.
The Indians (45-39) may welcome a familiar opponent after struggling during the week with the unfamiliar San Diego Padres, who proved records means nothing when playing a lengthy 162-game schedule. The young Padres took each of the first two games of the series with the Indians before the Tribe bats awoke in a well-pitched game by Josh Tomlin to avoid the sweep in a much-needed way. When the Indians and Tigers met last weekend, Cleveland took the final two games of the set after Detroit took game one of Saturday’s doubleheader and Mother Nature claimed a win over both clubs last Friday.
For five innings, Detroit starter Jordan Zimmermann resembled the pitcher that he was for years with the Washington Nationals. In the sixth inning, it all crumbled apart as Cleveland put up four runs to take the lead and Carlos Carrasco, Cody Allen, and Andrew Miller held that edge to the finish as the Indians took Saturday’s second game in a 4-1 win over the Tigers.
The Indians had little to show through the first half of the nightcap with the Tigers, as the offense had been relatively quiet all day long, outside of a big inning in their 7-4 loss earlier in the day. Zimmermann had moved easily through the first five innings, facing two over the minimum while allowing just three base runners total. He walked Lonnie Chisenhall in the second, allowed a one-out single to Michael Brantley in the fourth, and plunked Carlos Santana in the fifth in retaliation for a hit batter by Carrasco the previous half inning, before erasing him on a double play ball.
Rains had already interfered with matchups between the Indians and Tigers in Detroit this season, as the two clubs had planned to play four this weekend to make up for an early postponement. Those plans changed on Friday, as the first game of the set was cancelled as rains hit the Great Lakes region.
The Indians (42-36) head into the weekend with a game and a half lead over the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central Division. The Twins spoiled the Indians’ homestand, sweeping three straight last weekend, but Cleveland bounced back to take three of four from the Texas Rangers to get back into first place while salvaging the home set. The Indians are just 2-4 against the Tigers this season and have struggled in the division this season, posting a 19-18 record overall against the Tigers, Twins, Chicago White Sox, and Kansas City Royals.
You just don’t see games like that every night.
Down 9-2 after three and a half innings, the Cleveland Indians rattled off 13 unanswered runs to complete an improbable come-from-behind victory over the Texas Rangers and their beleaguered bullpen on Monday in a 15-9 win.
Carlos Carrasco was tagged early and often by the Rangers bats, because of course, everything is bigger in Texas. But their bullpen implosions are also apparently bigger than most as Cole Hamels could not protect his giant lead in his first start off of the disabled list and the Indians chipped away with runs in five of their final six innings to get a desperately needed win that also kept alive the club’s nearly two-year long stretch without a losing streak longer than three games. The last such streak occurred from July 23-28, 2015.
When the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers last met, the two clubs opened the 2017 season. Hopes were high for both teams, as each was coming off of a trip to the 2016 postseason after strong campaigns and both were expected to be contenders once again. While both clubs remain contenders in their own right, their respective seasons may not be going as many had expected.
The Indians (39-35) have yet to find the magic recipe to sustained success. The starting rotation has had some struggles with injuries and varying results. The bullpen has been steady, statistically one of the best in the game, but has had its edge-of-the-seat moments. The offense has been a head scratcher at times, producing runs in bulk in stretches before series like this past weekend, when the club mustered just two runs in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Twins on the heels of an offensive eruption during a 7-1 road trip. Even worse, home has not been a sweet home for the Indians, as they are one of just two American League clubs (see: Twins) to post a losing record at home (15-20). In the Tribe’s favor this week in their matchup with Texas is an impressive 13-3- start against the AL West this season.
Six innings of quality work from Carlos Carrasco, coupled with three RBI from Francisco Lindor, were more than enough for Cleveland on Wednesday night as the Indians defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 5-1, to win for the seventh time in their last eight games.
The final score was not indicative of a well-pitched game early on between Carrasco and Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman, who pitched far better than his numbers on the season would indicate. The Indians had the tough task of facing him at home at Orioles Park at Camden Yards, where he entered the night with a 17-11 record lifetime.
It is the middle of June, so it seems just about time for the Cleveland Indians to go on a nice little winning streak. While the franchise-record 14-gamer set last season may be a lofty goal, the nice run by the Indians could not have come at a better time as they have now won five straight and have guaranteed no worse than a split of their roadtrip.
The Indians (36-31) have reached the high point of their performance this season, putting up a winning streak that matches their longest of the season. It was well timed, as their four-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins over the weekend allowed them to move from two games in back in the American League Central to two games up, taking sole ownership of the top spot in the division for the first time since May 10.