The Cleveland Indians opted not to extend qualifying offers to any of the club’s pending free agents this offseason ahead of the deadline on Friday.
The Tribe’s long list of departing free agents including three names that merited some discussion, but instead, the Cleveland front office elected not to offer the one-year, $17.9 million tender offer to any of its veterans, including Cody Allen, Michael Brantley, and Andrew Miller. The significant financial commitment to any of the trio could have severely limited the Indians in the offseason, as funds appear tight and would have only become tighter if the contracts were accepted. By electing not to offer them the qualifying offer, the team forgoes an opportunity to receive draft pick compensation if they were to sign with other teams.
A three-run seventh gave the Houston Astros their first lead of the day and a six-run eighth buried Chief Wahoo as the Cleveland Indians were swept out of the American League Division Series in an embarrassing 11-3 shellacking on Monday afternoon from Progressive Field.
A packed house in downtown Cleveland was the site of one of the more disappointing losses in the playoff history of the Indians, who put up a pitiful last stand at their remodeled gem at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. A 2-1 lead afforded to starter Mike Clevinger was lost in the seventh as several throwing errors and the lethal bat of Indian killer Marwin Gonzalez put the Astros on top for good. The next two innings just threw more dirt on the grave of the 2018 season.
It is rarely a good sign when the opposing team has more homers than you have total hits, and that was the case for the Indians on Friday afternoon as the Houston Astros hit four long balls on the way to a 7-2 victory over Cleveland in Game 1 of the American League Division Series from Minute Maid Park.
The Indians offense just could not get going in a tough matchup with a familiar foe, Justin Verlander, who looked to help lead the Astros back to the World Series for the second straight season. He got the club off to a good start by starting the game with five no-hit innings and the Tribe mustered just three base hits throughout the day against Verlander and three pitchers out of the Houston ‘pen to fall behind a game in the best-of-5 series.
The Cleveland Indians lost an inconsequential game on Saturday night, but could have lost much more after an injury to Yan Gomes led to several stitches. As for the game results, Andrew Miller allowed a three-run home run in a four-run sixth and Cody Allen gave up two more the next frame as the Indians dropped a 9-4 decision in Kansas City with the Royals.
While manager Terry Francona looked to get his players prepped for postseason work next Friday against the Houston Astros, things did not go as planned. Corey Kluber exited early as planned after allowing three runs in five innings, but the bullpen struggled with six runs allowed from two of their workhorses in the latter innings. Far more concerning, however, was the injury to All-Star catcher Gomes, who left the game in the third after hitting his throwing hand on the bat of Alex Gordon.
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.
The Cleveland Indians rallied back from a 3-1 deficit with a seven-run inning, then held on to outlast the Toronto Blue Jays in a 9-8 final on Saturday afternoon.
The Indians guaranteed at least a series split with the Jays after a big fifth inning looked to tip the odds in the Tribe’s favor. The Blue Jays, however, did not back down, making it a game until the 27th and final out was recorded with the winning run at the plate and the tying run in scoring position.
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.
It was another bad day for the Cleveland Indians bullpen on Wednesday, as they lost an All-Star reliever early in the afternoon before their all-time saves leader blew a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning of a 4-3 loss at Progressive Field to the Minnesota Twins.
After fighting back with a two-run homer in the eighth, the Cleveland Indians were punched square in the mouth by the young Kansas City Royals in the ninth, as back-to-back homers from rookies Ryan O’Hearn and Hunter Dozier off of closer Cody Allen delivered a 5-4 home plate mobbing for the home team.
The on-going woes for Allen continued as he needed just four pitches to cough up the game, sending the Indians (73-55) to their third straight defeat. It marked the first time in Major League history that a pair of rookies hit consecutive homers in the ninth inning to tie and win the game.
A playoff preview from Fenway Park lived up to every bit of the hype on Monday night as the visiting Cleveland Indians rebounded from an early three-run deficit, then held off a late rally from the Red Sox for a 5-4 win in the series opener from Boston.
In a pitching matchup that pitted former Cy Young winners Rick Porcello of Boston and Corey Kluber of Cleveland, both starters would deal with scoring threats of the opposing power packed lineups. The Red Sox stepped up big early with two-out hitting, but the Tribe outfielders countered with blasts of their own to get the Indians back into the game in the middle innings. The Tribe dealt the deciding blow against Porcello in the seventh, then had to protect a two-run lead with the relief staff carrying the load for the final three innings.