When a front office plans the entire offseason around purging money from the offensive side of the lineup because the team’s starting rotation is so dominant, the last thing needed is to lose one of those dynamic starting pitchers.
Two starts into his season, the Indians lost Mike Clevinger to an upper back strain. With injuries to top backup arms in the minors, the Tribe had little recourse but to call upon Jefry Rodriguez, who has only been needed for a pair of spot starts because of so many off days early in the 2019 schedule.
Now, the team is scrambling after ace Corey Kluber suffered a non-displaced fracture of the right ulna in his forearm after being struck by a 102 MPH line drive in Miami off of the bat of Brian Anderson on Wednesday night.
All things considered, the opening month of the season could have gone much worse for the Cleveland Indians.
With a lineup a shell of last year’s version and without All-Star Francisco Lindor‘s presence in the lineup for nearly three weeks, the Indians managed to put together a winning month. A 16-12 record is hardly something to brag about, especially for a team expected by most to run away with an American League Central Division constructed primarily with orange barrels and yellow caution tape, but for just the third time in the Terry Francona tenure in Cleveland, the Indians left the first month of the season with more Ws than Ls.
It didn’t come pretty. The +4 run differential was just one such stat to indicate the current state of affairs in Cleveland.
Corey Kluber exited the game between the Cleveland Indians and Miami Marlins on Wednesday night after being struck in the right forearm on a line drive off of the bat of Brian Anderson in the fifth inning. Initially diagnosed a contusion, x-rays revealed a non-displaced fracture of the right ulna.
Down 3-1 at the time, the Tribe would fall in a 4-2 final from Marlins Park to split the two-game set with Miami.
It is another devastating blow to an Indians roster built around its strong starting pitching. Already without number four starter Mike Clevinger for several months with a sprained back, the team will now have to look for answers after losing its ace to yet another fluke line drive off of a starting pitcher. Carlos Carrasco has been a magnet for baseballs over the last several seasons, and last year, Trevor Bauer’s season was interrupted after he was struck by a line drive in Chicago against the White Sox’s Jose Abreu.
For the second week in a row, the Indians and Marlins will square up on the diamond as the Tribe heads to Miami for a quick two-game rematch with the fish from Florida.
The Indians (15-12) started their road trip strong with two solid pitching performances on Thursday and Friday to take the first two games of their four-game series with the Houston Astros, but with a chance to earn a series win over the final two days, the team could not deliver in a pair of close contests. The Indians dropped a 4-3 decision in ten innings on Saturday on a walk-off pinch-hit home run to the first batter of the inning, and a four-run Astros rally in the seventh inning on Sunday spoiled a strong start from Carlos Carrasco. The hitting woes have continued for the Tribe this season, as they own the worst batting average (.213) in the American League and have hit the second-fewest homers. The Indians start the series two and a half games in back of first place Minnesota in the AL Central.
Tyler Naquin drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and Francisco Lindor added a pair of insurance runs with his second home run of the game in the ninth as the Cleveland Indians outhomered and outlasted the Houston Astros by a 6-3 final from Minute Maid Park on Friday night.
It was a five-and-fly night for Corey Kluber, who built up a high pitch count through five innings of work in a tough battle against Houston right-hander Collin McHugh. Kluber kept the Indians in the game and the Indians relied on more two-out hitting and four homers to come away with a second straight victory from Texas.
Cleveland will hope for far more productive results this time around as the Indians head to Houston for a 2018 ALDS rematch with the Astros, one swept by the host club a season ago.
The Indians (13-10) scuffled during their recent five-game homestand, dropping two of three against the Atlanta Braves before splitting a two-gamer with the Miami Marlins. The offense got off to a hot start at the beginning of the homestand, but a bullpen implosion late Saturday seemed to leave a lasting bitter taste in the mouths of those on the roster. The Indians come into the series trailing the Minnesota Twins by half a game in the American League Central and will look to improve upon a 6-6 mark on the road this season.
A season-high six-run fifth inning for Cleveland broke a 2-2 tie and gave Corey Kluber the run support that he needed on Saturday afternoon as the Indians defeated the Atlanta Braves by an 8-4 final in game one of the day’s doubleheader.
It was a rare sight to see at Progressive Field, as the Braves made just their second regular season trip to Cleveland. The two clubs, who have met twice in the World Series (1948, 1995), last played in Atlanta in 2016 and have not played a series in Ohio since 2007.
Kluber faced off with Atlanta’s ace, Julio Teheran, in the series opener on Saturday after Friday’s contest was postponed by rain. A pair of late runs off of Kluber spoiled his quality start bid, while Teheran was knocked out before the close of the fifth inning when the Indians used a massive two-out rally to take the lead for good.
Even the addition of yearly interleague play has not substantially increased the number of trips taken to Cleveland by the Atlanta Braves, which visit the north coast this weekend for an abbreviated three-day trip.
The Indians (11-7) return home after salvaging a road trip that had taken a rough turn when the team was swept last weekend in Kansas City by the Royals. Instead of crumbling, the team responded by taking all three from the scorching hot Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park during the week. The sweep was the team’s second of the season, following a four-game defeat of the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in the month. The 5-4 mark on the road trip moved the club to even at 6-6 away from home this season. During the Indians’ brief upcoming homestand, they will look to improve upon a 5-1 record at Progressive Field so far in April.
Steady rains in the northeast Ohio region on Friday spoiled the first game of the series scheduled between the Atlanta Braves and the host Cleveland Indians.
The game has been rescheduled for Saturday, April 20, as part of a traditional doubleheader.
The Kansas City Royals completed their three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians on Sunday and used a little flare for the dramatics to do so, using a walk-off single from Hunter Dozier in the bottom of the ninth to capture a 9-8 win from Kauffman Stadium.
Things did not go as planned for the Indians, who swung through Missouri on the middle leg of a three-city, nine-game road trip while catching the Royals in the horrors of a ten-game losing streak. Instead of being able to beat up on a rebuilding and struggling division rival, the Indians became the punching bag for Kansas City, which took out some pent up anger in routing Cleveland in three straight.
The Cleveland Indians are back on the road as they make their slow and steady crawl to the west coast with a three-day layover in Missouri to face the struggling Kansas City Royals.
The Royals (2-10) are still looking for their first win in April after losing each of their first nine games this month (and ten straight dating into March) after winning their first two games of the season. Kansas City was swept by the Seattle Mariners in four straight during the week, losing by a single run in each of the final two games despite putting up 19 total runs in the series. The Royals dropped 12 of 19 games to the Indians in 2018 and were just 3-6 at home against Cleveland while being outscored 101-71 for the year.
The Indians (8-4) have picked up their play over the last week. They began their first homestand of the year by splitting with the Chicago White Sox to open April before sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays in four straight last weekend. They outscored the Detroit Tigers 13-6 in their three-game series at Comerica Park, winning the opener before capturing the rubber match on Thursday with a 4-0 shutout.