An explosive first inning for both clubs provided all of the runs on the afternoon as the Cleveland Indians held off the Seattle Mariners, 4-3, on Saturday.
A game that looked like it had all the potential to be a high scoring slugfest completely changed course after the first and turned into more of a mound battle between Cleveland starter Danny Salazar and Seattle right-hander Yovani Gallardo. Salazar would get the better of the veteran M’s pitcher, who was making just his second career start against the Indians.
The Cleveland Indians remembered this week how to win a series at home. They will look to make it two straight series this weekend as the Seattle Mariners make their way to Progressive Field for a three-game set.
The Indians …
After being dormant all series long and for much of the past week and a half, the Chicago bats woke up against Cleveland starter Danny Salazar early and added some unearned insurance runs late as the White Sox avoided the home sweep by the Indians on Sunday with a 6-2 victory.
Salazar lost his way on the mound in the first inning, but was eventually able to find himself to give the Tribe five innings, sparing a bullpen that was up in the first inning preparing for the worst case scenario. A rough first frame was made all the more difficult as the Indians’ opposition on the afternoon was nemesis Derek Holland, who had flourished against Cleveland in ten starts coming in to the day.
When the Indians and Chicago White Sox met a week and a half ago, Cleveland was reeling after a three-game sweep courtesy of the Arizona Diamondbacks. While the Tribe would claim a walk-off win over Chicago in the home opener, the White Sox took the next two games to start a tough 2-4 homestand for the Indians.
The Indians (8-7) turned things around quickly during their second road trip of the season, sweeping the Minnesota Twins in an abbreviated three-game sweep at Target Field during the week. Now, they will face a White Sox club that they scored just seven runs against during a rough offensive drought. The biggest issue for the club at the time may have been the lack of timely clutch hitting, as they were just 2-for-28 (.149) when hitting with runners on second or third base.
It may have come with some nail biting in the ninth inning, but the Cleveland Indians are back in the win column again as they defeated the Minnesota Twins on Monday night, 3-1.
Danny Salazar gave the Indians the start that they needed to open their road trip. The strong outing from Cleveland’s number three starter was supported by a good day at the plate from Michael Brantley and some edge-of-your-seat pitching in the ninth from closer Cody Allen to bring home the Indians’ sixth win of the 2017 season.
After a 2-4 homestand, it may just be time for the Cleveland Indians to hit the road and put their disappointing series against Chicago and Detroit behind them. They will start a four-game series in Minnesota with the Twins on Monday night to begin a seven-game roadtrip.
The Indians (5-7) will return to Target Field for the first of ten games there this season. A scuffling offense and a starting rotation unable to get the job done consistently have gotten the Tribe off to a poor record after a hot start in Texas, where they swept the first three games of the season before going just 2-6 since against Arizona, Chicago, and Detroit. The team has shown an ability to get runners on base with ease, but when it comes to the big hit, the Indians have been slow in the clutch department, hitting into too many double plays and failing to drive in runs in general.
In 2016, there were two distinct versions of Cleveland starting pitcher Danny Salazar. This year’s Indians need the one that pitched in the first half of last season in order to get their season going in the right direction and accomplish their mission of the ball club’s first World Series title in 69 years.
Salazar’s 2016 campaign, his fourth in the big leagues, got off to such a good start that he was named to his first All-Star squad. Soreness in his right forearm forced him to be spectator for the festivities in San Diego rather than a participant. That is really where his second half troubles began.
Before the Mid-Summer Classic, Salazar was brilliant, enjoying a breakout season. He had shown promise, with good numbers as a rookie in 2013 and then a promising 2015 campaign. However, he was hitting a special kind of level in helping the Indians be the surprise of baseball at the annual summer break.
Derek Holland‘s dominance of the Indians throughout his career continued on Wednesday night as he brought a no-hitter into the sixth inning and the White Sox bullpen held off a late Tribe threat as Chicago defeated Cleveland, 2-1.
After spending his entire career with the Texas Rangers, the lefty Holland relocated to the Windy City in the offseason on a one-year, $6 million deal. It looks to be a move that could prolong his career nicely, as he should have a few more opportunities than usual to pitch against the Indians this season.
While the Cleveland Indians’ road trip got off to a great start with a three-game sweep in Texas against the Rangers, the club was tripped up hard in its return to Arizona when it was dealt a discouraging three-game sweep at the arms and bats of the Diamondbacks.
The Tribe will look to get itself righted again and put that bad series in the rear view when it hosts the Chicago White Sox for three straight at Progressive Field this week.
The Indians (3-3) started the season with some impressive late inning dramatics in the heart of Texas, but back in the desert, they were met by a white-hot Diamondbacks team that contained the Tribe offense while putting up buckets of their own runs. The Indians were outscored 21-7 in the three-game set and were not in many of the games late.
A ninth inning grand slam by Francisco Lindor off of closer Sam Dyson capped a five-run frame as the Cleveland Indians stunned the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night, 9-6, to complete the three-game season opening sweep over the reigning AL West champs.
As if the grand slam was not a special moment for the face of the Indians’ franchise, it was part of a three-hit, two-homer game for the young shortstop, who more than made up for a defensive miscue in the fifth inning that gave the Rangers a three-run inning and a 5-3 lead at the time.
The late Cleveland comeback was the second time this week that the team has stung Texas’ closer Dyson with a big loss. The Indians rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth against him on Monday in a 5-5 tie in the season opener and chased him early from the contest. He came in with a safer 6-4 lead on Wednesday, but it appears as though no lead is safe when facing the potent Indians lineup.
All is right again in the world. Baseball is back and two of the top teams in the American League last season will meet up to open the 2017 regular season as the Texas Rangers host the Cleveland Indians.
The Indians (94-67 in 2016) will look to defend their title as the kings of the American League. A roster that already proved to be one of the very best in the game of baseball got even better in the offseason, as the Tribe upgraded at the first base/designated hitter position with the free agent signing of slugger Edwin Encarnacion. What was already a dominating bullpen in the second half of the season last year got presumably better as well when the team inked lefty reliever Boone Logan to join an already intimidating collection of arms. While the dreams of a second world’s championship in one year for the city of Cleveland came to a heartbreaking close in extra innings of the seventh and final game of the World Series last year, the young club will undoubtedly come back even more hungry for a return to postseason glory, bonus baseball in October, and a fall championship parade.
The Rangers (95-67) will look to make up for a disappointing end to an otherwise strong season in which the club claimed the American League West and the best overall record in the league. Despite hosting the wild card Toronto Blue Jays, they were swept in three straight games in the American League Division Series to spell an early end to their season. They will look to hold down the top spot in the AL West once again, but are already dealing with a slew of injuries that could slow the team down in the early going.
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The Cleveland Indians saw two different versions of starting pitcher Danny Salazar in 2016. Their chances of repeating as American League champions will require more of the results from the first half of last season’s campaign than those posted by him in the second.