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.
A seventh inning rally by the Indians knotted the game at two, but Brian Dozier homered off of Cody Allen to lead off the eighth and the Twins added another homer in the ninth as Minnesota claimed a 4-2 win in Cleveland on Saturday afternoon.
An impressive quality start from Corey Kluber was hurt by first inning defensive woes. Allen, making his first appearance since a paternity list trip and working on the day of his jersey giveaway at Progressive Field, gave up the go-ahead shot to Dozier just after the Indians had rallied and got a little luck on their side to push across the tying run in the seventh.
The Cleveland Indians may have broken the spirit of the Minnesota Twins last weekend, when the Tribe swept the young club and knocked them out of first place. The Twins will look to return the favor and gain some ground back in the American League Central Division beginning Friday night, when Minnesota and Cleveland begin their three-game series from Progressive Field.
The Indians (39-32) have gotten hot and stayed hot, beginning with their four-game sweep of the Twins (36-34) during the successful start to their eight-game road trip. They won seven games on the road to pull two and a half games in front of the Twins in the division. Including their victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the final game of their homestand two Thursdays ago, the Indians have outscored their opponents, 68-23, in their last nine games. The hot stretch includes a season-high tying six game winning streak.
Only a brief rain delay could slow down the Cleveland Indians on Monday night and that was just temporary as the Tribe bats bashed Baltimore for 12 runs on 17 hits and Corey Kluber completed a three-hit gem in a 12-0 drubbing at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Rarely does a complete game three-hitter get lost in the shuffle, but that was nearly the case for Kluber on Monday as he faced just three batters over the minimum with nearly no-hit stuff, allowing just three two-out hits on a night that was delayed 29 minutes by rain at the outset. His 12th career complete game and fifth shutout gave him two this season, tying him for the Major League high. He did so with a diet of filth and plenty of run support as the Indians (37-31) extended their winning streak to a season-high six games and moved the team’s record to a new high-water mark on the year.
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.
A wild and crazy eighth inning went in favor of the Dodgers on Wednesday night as Progressive Field became the site of an episode of the Twilight Zone. Los Angeles plated four runs in bizarre fashion and held off another late Indians charge in a 6-4 victory.
The Cleveland Indians are a .500 team with 100 games to go. While that may have been a positive statement during many seasons in the long history of the franchise, it now serves as a dramatic realization of where the Indians are this season. The Tribe did not roll over after the Dodgers took an early 2-0 lead, nor did they when Los Angeles touched up Andrew Miller for a second night in a row, but in the end, Cleveland ran out of innings and ran out of time.
A better weekend from the Cleveland Indians against the Chicago White Sox kept them above the .500 mark and still within striking distance of the first place Minnesota Twins. Their next opponent, however, is one of the best in the National League and unfamiliar opposition if ever there was such a thing.
The Indians (31-29) will host the Los Angeles Dodgers (39-25) this week for just the second time in the regular season. The series will be the fourth between the two clubs; the Indians have won four of the previous matchups while the Dodgers have claimed five. The two teams last met in 2014 in Los Angeles, where the Indians won two of the three matchups. They previously played in LA in 2008, and the first regular season series between the two clubs occurred in 2003, when the Indians were swept on their home field by the visiting club.
These games, of course, do not include the Indians’ win in the 1920 World Series against the then-Brooklyn Dodgers in seven games in the best-of-nine championship bout.
A two-run home run from Edwin Encarnacion in the fifth put Cleveland back on top and Corey Kluber gave the Indians six quality innings as the Tribe defeated the Chicago White Sox, 7-3, on a busy night in downtown Cleveland.
With the neighbor Cavaliers hosting Game 4 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena, more than 30,000 packed into Progressive Field as the Indians started their three-game series with the White Sox. Cleveland was able to do something it has struggled with this season as it took game one of a series and did so with a team effort on the diamond.
Cleveland’s issues in interleague play continued this week as it fell to 1-7 against National League opponents after a sweep by the Rockies in Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday. With interleague done, at least for the next three games, the Indians will need to improve upon a disappointing 12-14 record at Progressive Field this weekend while hosting the Chicago White Sox, or risk falling back to or below the .500 mark for the season.
The Indians (29-28) did not take advantage of the high altitudes and friendly hitting environment of Coors Field, putting up just four runs in the brief two-game sweep in Denver. They will now have to take advantage of their long-time opponent in the White Sox, who have struggled for much of the season and now find themselves looking up at all four teams in a sloppy AL Central this season.
No player or team ever hopes or wishes for an injury. However, it may come to be that Corey Kluber‘s recent stay on the disabled list was actually something of a blessing in disguise for the Cleveland Indians and the ace of their rotation.
The 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner was put on the shelf on May 3, a day after exiting a start against the Tigers early with a lower back strain.
Questions persisted throughout the offseason about what kind of shape Cleveland’s No. 1 starter would be in after pitching more innings in 2016 than ever before. It was not just the quantity, but the fact that he was pitching on short rest, in high-pressure situations, and carrying a beleaguered starting pitching staff in October all the way to Game 7 of the World Series.
Corey Kluber threw six innings of two-hit, shutout baseball and the Cleveland offense capitalized on sloppy defensive work by Oakland on Thursday as the Indians routed the A’s, 8-0.
The Indians ace returned from a lengthy stint on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain, but one would have never guessed it with the way that he handed the Oakland lineup as he struck out ten A’s hitters of the 18 that he retired in a start monitored on a pitch count after a short five-inning rehab start in Akron last Friday.
The loudest ovation to come from Progressive Field on Monday afternoon when the Indians host the A’s may very well come for one of the visitors.
And that is absolutely okay and appropriate.