The American League Central sleepwalk, coupled with a tough series with Boston earlier in the week, appear to have taken their toll on the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe dropped a season-high fourth straight game on Saturday, shelled by the Kansas City Royals, 7-1.
It was another tough start for Corey Kluber, who saw his four-game winning streak disappear in a rough outing against KC. The Royals fell behind early, but fought back and scored runs in five of their final six trips to the plate to bury the Indians with a big loss.
An early Cleveland lead would not stand in the way for Boston on Wednesday, as the Red Sox would knock out Carlos Carrasco in the fourth and used three long balls to defeat the Indians by a 10-4 final to end their season-high tying three-game losing skid.
It was a rough night for the Indians starter Carrasco, who has been nearly unbeatable over the course of the last month and a half since rejoining the team after a stint on the disabled list. He would only last three and two-thirds innings on the night as he continued to struggle at Fenway Park in his career.
A back-and-forth game needed eleven innings for an outcome to be decided on Friday night as the Cleveland Indians captured a 9-8 win in extra innings over the Texas Rangers.
The second half of the schedule started out with some dramatics for the Indians and Rangers in a slugfest on the hottest night of the season for both teams. The two clubs combined for 17 runs on 34 hits while stranding 24 runners on base. Home runs factored in the early scoring for Cleveland, but late blasts by the Rangers forced bonus baseball in the first game after the All-Star break.
When you recap 162 games a season at a minimum, you kind of feel as though you see everything that can happen. Generally amidst the highs and lows of a long season, you may get a few firsts, you may see some stories that are a lot of fun to script, and a few others still that are absolute torture to relive.
But then this game – Tuesday, July 10 – happened. For the first time in more than a decade, the Cleveland Indians blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning. And it was not just the fact that it occurred, because in professional sports strange and unpredictable things can happen. It was the way that everything transpired that made the Tribe’s 7-4 shocking loss to the Cincinnati Reds all the more difficult to digest.
Brett Anderson returned from the disabled list on Sunday afternoon and combined with his Oakland bullpen teammates on a five-hit shutout of the Cleveland Indians with a 6-0 final from Progressive Field.
Rookie right-hander Shane Bieber was on the bump for the Tribe, but despite being aggressive in the strike zone, he was unable to keep the A’s off of the scoreboard for long as two early runs, paired with two more at the end of his day, gave Oakland a lead it would never look back from. The Indians offense could not get going against the A’s pitching staff, giving them back-to-back wins to take both the weekend series and the season set from Cleveland.
A bearded imposter, resembling staff ace Corey Kluber, took the mound at Cleveland’s Progressive Field on Friday night for the Indians and allowed four runs during a quick 65-pitch effort over five innings in a 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
It was a rare night in Cleveland as for the first time in a long time, the tried and true Kluber did not have his A-game on the mound for the Indians. Even then, he still gave the Tribe five innings and allowed just four runs while leaving with plenty of pitches still left in the tank. Cleveland fell in an early hole, aided by two home runs, two errors, and a balk, and its offense was unable to get anything going until the latter innings against Kyle Gibson and the Minnesota bullpen.
Cleveland sports fans are going to want a do-over of Tuesday’s efforts.
While the NBA’s Cavs were falling two games behind the Celtics in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals from Boston, the Indians blew two separate four-run leads and a five-run edge later, squandered several bases loaded opportunities, and saw the bullpen implode again in the late innings as a big lead turned into a close game and ended in disaster, as the Detroit Tigers rallied several times and scored the final six runs to win an ugly 9-8 final from Comerica Park.
Some games are hard to recap and Tuesday was a prime example. The Indians (20-21) got off to a great start in the first inning, giving Josh Tomlin plenty of support before he even took the mound. Given the fact that he had not pitched since May 4 and that he has been home-run-happy this season, a big early lead seemed imperative for the Tribe to have any sort of shot at success in the Motor City. They got it, but it would not be enough.
After seven innings of one-hit baseball combined between the Indians and Yankees, New York rallied for three in the eighth and four more in the ninth, riding a game-winning three-run walk-off home run by rookie Gleyber Torres to a 7-4 win over Cleveland on Sunday afternoon, completing a three-game sweep.
It was a wild and wacky finish to the Indians and Yankees series in New York on Sunday as both starting pitchers flirted with no-hit bids. The Indians would not get their first hit until the eighth inning, but tallied four runs in the frame to take the lead, only to see the scorching hot Yankees rally for three in the home half and four in the ninth to take home a shocking win and a series sweep in a rematch of last season’s American League Division Series.
There was no fooling around this April Fool’s Day as offense was again the story from Safeco Field as Seattle and the Cleveland Indians combined for four home runs in a 5-4 slugfest that went in favor of the home Mariners.
While the long ball would tell the tale on Sunday afternoon, it was a two-out base knock that started the scoring on the day for the Indians against Mariners right-hander Mike Leake. After Edwin Encarnacion struck out looking to start the second inning, Lonnie Chisenhall singled to right and Roberto Perez worked a walk. A fly to left from Tyler Naquin left the inning in the balance, but Bradley Zimmer drove a sinker to left for an RBI-single to put the Indians on top, 1-0.
Last Friday, the Cleveland Indians and reliever Dan Otero came to terms on a one-year contract, avoiding arbitration.
On Tuesday, the Indians did the deal one better, with an option for more, as the club extended the 32-year-old right-hander on a two-year contract with a team option for the 2020 season. The contract buys out the last two of Otero’s arbitration years (for the 2018 and 2019 seasons) and secures an unheralded piece of the Indians’ successful bullpens over the last two seasons.
The Cleveland Indians checked off another box on the offseason to-do list on Friday when it signed two players to one-year contracts and tendered contracts to their remaining five arbitration eligible players on the roster.
Reliever Dan Otero and outfielder Abraham Almonte each agreed to one-year contracts with the Indians to avoid arbitration. The Indians also tendered offers to pitchers Cody Allen, Trevor Bauer, Zach McAllister, and Danny Salazar as well as outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall.
The clock is ticking loudly around Major League Baseball as teams have until Friday night (8 PM ET) to decide whether or not to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players.
The decisions for the Cleveland Indians may be fairly easy this year, but keeping all seven of their arbitration-eligible players will shrink what little financial wiggle room the organization has all the more.
The Indians set a franchise record for salary spent last season, and with a significant amount of money due to returning players already because of the way many of the existing contracts on the roster are structured, Cleveland is already on the brink of equaling last season’s payroll, and that includes money subtracted by the culmination of the contracts of Jay Bruce, Carlos Santana, Bryan Shaw, and other free agents following the 2017 season.