After an 8-3 road trip and with the American League East-leading Boston Red Sox in town for a key four-game series this week, the Indians should be greeted to a raucous playoff-like atmosphere at Progressive Field in the team’s return to Cleveland.
The Indians (68-54) won four straight series and finished their road trip strong, taking three of four from Tampa Bay, one from Boston in a makeup game, and two of three against both Minnesota and Kansas City. In a notably difficult stretch of the schedule, the Indians have stepped up their game and look to be in top form, despite still being limited by injuries. The offense has been providing in bulk and at clutch moments, the bullpen has been consistent, and the starting rotation has been lights out. During their road trip, they outscored the opposition, 58-26, putting up an average of 5.3 runs per game. The starters combined for a 2.32 ERA in that stretch and the team hit .290 with runners in scoring position.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona tried to loosen up the Indians clubhouse a little bit heading into a key weekend series in Kansas City with the Royals. The results appeared evident on the field, as the Indians routed the Royals by a 10-1 final, but had a scare in the sixth inning when starting pitcher Corey Kluber had to exit the ball game early with an injury.
In a game that had plenty of positives to draw upon, Indians’ players, brass, and fans were all collectively holding their breath in the sixth when Kluber broke from the mound and appeared hobbled as he attempted to cover first base on an infield single. He was able to talk his way back onto the mound in what was then a 6-1 contest and pitched to another batter, but after the base hit, Francona and the team trainer were back out to the mound to escort Kluber from the game.
It was announced late in the game that Kluber left with a right ankle sprain.
A lengthy eleven-game road trip has proven to be little problem for the Cleveland Indians as they return to Kauffman Stadium for a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals this weekend.
It will be a clash of the top two clubs in the American League Central, as the Royals (61-59) have slipped a half-game in front of the Minnesota Twins for the second spot in the division. After ignoring any urges to sell at the deadline, the Royals instead attempted to bulk up the roster, adding to the outfield, bullpen, and starting rotation. They have hung around the Wild Card race, trailing the second spot by a half game going into action on Friday, and have kept close enough in the AL Central to keep that divisional battle alive and well. A big weekend for the club could cut the gap significantly.
The Indians (66-53) saw their six-game winning streak come to an end on Thursday night, but the club is still riding a wave of strong performances on the road. After dropping the first game of their long roadie in Tampa, they won three straight from the Rays, took a one-game makeup date in Boston with the Red Sox, and defeated the Twins in the opener on Tuesday and in game one of a doubleheader on Thursday. The Indians will now look to expand on their divisional lead, currently sitting at five and a half games over the Royals.
It was not Kluber’s best start of the season, but he did what an ace was supposed to do, keeping his club in the game long enough to find a way to win.
Year after year, the Tampa Bay Rays seem to find themselves with a light payroll, a young and overproducing roster, and a fight for a playoff berth. This season is no different, as despite a heavily contested battle atop the American League East, the Rays are lurking in the shadows of the American League’s Wild Card picture.
The Indians (60-51) will head to the Trop in St. Pete to take on the perennial playoff challenger, one who stood in the way for Cleveland in 2013, for a four-game series beginning Thursday night. The Tribe’s offense has stumbled in the last few games and the team found itself in a bit of a predicament at the plate, but, despite the woes, they were able to pick off a game during their two-game series split with the Colorado Rockies during the week to wrap up a 3-3 homestand. They split a four-game set with the New York Yankees last weekend.
For 26 outs, the Cleveland Indians had just four hits to show against the Colorado Rockies and looked to be in severe jeopardy of wasting nine fantastic innings of one-run baseball by Corey Kluber. That 27th and final out would never come, as the Indians rallied for four runs, including a game-tying two-out bloop single by Austin Jackson and the game-winning three-run home run from Yan Gomes as Cleveland stunned Colorado and All-Star closer Greg Holland with the improbable comeback and a walk-off victory.
Trailing all night after a first inning, second pitch home run from center fielder Charlie Blackmon off of Kluber to start the game, the Indians headed to the ninth in an offensive funk after missing on the handful of opportunities that they had over the course of the evening. The odds looked stacked against them as the flat offense had to face Holland, who entered with a tiny 1.96 ERA on the season and plenty of previous experience against the Indians to call upon from his days as a Kansas City Royal.
The long run atop the National League West this season may have ended a month and a half ago, but the Colorado Rockies remain one of the top teams in baseball this season. After some trade deadline upgrades, they head to Cleveland for the first time since 2014 as the Indians prepare for their second interleague set with Colorado this season. The Tribe will look to keep a four-game home winning streak against the Rockies alive.
The Indians (59-50) are coming off of a series split with the New York Yankees, winning the first two of the set before dropping decisions on Saturday and Sunday. The team has played much better at home in the second half, rattling off nine straight wins before the two losses over the weekend. They have been evenly matched with the Rockies over the years in their limited encounters, with Cleveland winning 11 times and Colorado winning 12. Home field has been the difference maker the majority of the time, as the Rockies are 9-2 when hosting, while the Indians are 9-3 when welcoming Colorado to Progressive Field. The Indians will need to drastically improve upon their 5-13 (.278) record in interleague play, the second-worst mark in the American League this season, if they hope to defeat the Rockies.
Corey Kluber got the Cleveland Indians back in the win column, ending the team’s three-game losing streak with yet another dominant effort on the mound as he limited the New York Yankees to just one run on three hits in a 5-1 complete game victory.
Kluber was the story of the night as he sliced and diced through the Yankees lineup in a matchup of two of the top clubs in the American League. The Indians, in need of a victory to erase the lingering taste of a devastating walk-off loss in Boston in an emotional roller coaster of a game on Tuesday night, got exactly the start that they needed from their ace.
Every now and then, the baseball gods look down upon a team and take pity on it. Unless, that is, you are the Padres. They’ve had some extended bad luck.
After going on a nine-game tear, the Cleveland Indians (57-48) have given a few of those wins right back, dropping three in a row and both games of their series in Boston this week. A third game was postponed, forcing the loss of an off day in a week and a half when the team will have to return to Fenway Park for one final game. While the players could have benefited from returning to the diamond to get the sour taste of a painful loss on Tuesday out of their collective mouths, the rest will be needed as the schedule has just two more off days in the rest of August.
A mark of a good team is being able to find new ways to win. The Cleveland Indians did that on Saturday night as, after giving up an early four-run lead, Brandon Guyer was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the ninth to score Carlos Santana with the go-ahead run in a 5-4 Tribe win.
The Indians (57-45) pushed their winning streak to nine straight games with the highly unusual ending to a Corey Kluber start from the southside of Chicago. Coupled with a late loss by Kansas City against the Boston Red Sox, the Indians’ lead over the Royals in the American League Central has grown to three games.
It is amazing just how much things can change in a week. After opening the second half of the season with a bad west coast trip against two of the worst teams in baseball, the Indians returned to Cleveland with a 1-5 record after the All-Star break and questions swirled about what was wrong with the Tribe.
A 7-0 homestand quieted those concerns quickly as the Indians got back into the win column and finally played well and consistently at Progressive Field.
Corey Kluber showed no lingering effects from a sore neck that pushed him back several days in the Indians rotation as he struck out a season-high 14 batters and his offense gave him more than enough support in an 8-1 win on Sunday to complete the sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Indians got the series that they needed this weekend while facing their third straight cellar-dweller in a row. After a disappointing 1-5 road trip against the AL West’s worst in the Oakland A’s and the NL’s last place San Francisco Giants, the Jays came to Progressive Field to face an Indians team that had struggled at home all season, but one would have never known it based on the way the Tribe played.
On Sunday in the series finale, Cleveland followed the recipe that worked so well for the club last season in its run to the World Series – dominant starting pitching and timely offensive outbursts by the bats. Kluber led the pitching attack and the offense put up a big number for him again as the Indians improved to 51-45 on the season.