Danny Salazar made his case for a role on the Indians’ postseason roster with four and two-thirds innings of strong starting pitching and the Cleveland bats provided just enough offense as the Tribe held on for a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night
The Indians (99-59) held off the Twins offense one night after it erupted for 17 hits against the Tribe pitching staff. With a chance to secure an on-the-field celebration of a trip to the 2017 playoffs, the Twins instead had to postpone their party for several hours until the Los Angeles Angels fell 6-4 in extra innings to the Chicago White Sox, punching Minnesota’s postseason ticket.
This week’s series between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins from Progressive Field has a brand new meaning as the surprise Twins look to lock up the second American League Wild Card spot and a possible first round matchup with the Indians in the ALDS.
The Indians (98-58) will look to prevent the Twins (82-74) from celebrating on their home field, but it may all be just delaying the inevitable. Minnesota comes into play on Tuesday night with a five-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the final playoff spot still available on the junior circuit side of the Major League Baseball landscape. Minnesota is coming off of a sweep of the Detroit Tigers, dropping its magic number to clinch a playoff spot to two games.
Those big league managers make the big bucks for a reason.
Cleveland’s Terry Francona has an important week ahead of him, even if the club has nearly locked up home field advantage on the American League side of the playoff bracket. While the team continues to win on the field, victors of 29 of its last 31 contests, the roster is no certainty for the veteran skipper, who is going to have some difficult decisions to make with his coaching staff before the start of postseason play next week.
Edwin Encarnacion and Francisco Lindor each homered and the Cleveland relief corps handled the rest on Thursday as the Indians completed the three-game sweep in Anaheim of the Los Angeles Angels, 4-1.
It was a “bullpen day” kind of effort on the mound for the Indians (96-57), who used six different pitchers to wrap up the season series sweep of the Angels while remaining a game in back of the neighbor Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in all of baseball. The win increased the Indians’ club record for consecutive road wins to 14 in a row while putting the Tribe at a 27-1 mark in its last 28 games. That feat has been accomplished just three times in Major League Baseball history.
After a well deserved day off, the Cleveland Indians will get back to action across the country as the Los Angeles Angels host the top team in the American League from their home in Anaheim, California.
The Indians (93-57) remain in the driver’s seat in the race to the top record in the AL this season with the hopes of claiming home field advantage throughout the junior circuit half of the postseason. They head into the weekday series with a game and a half lead over the Houston Astros for the best record in the league. They took care of the Angels in three games back in July at Progressive Field, winning on a walk-off Edwin Encarnacion grand slam on July 25 before winning 10-4 and 2-1 decisions to close out the series.
The pressure of a long winning streak has not been too much for the Indians, as Cleveland pulled within one game of the American League record for consecutive wins on Monday night with its 19th straight victory, an 11-0 shutout of the Detroit Tigers from Progressive Field.
There seems to be little slowing down the Indians (88-56), who have made it loud and clear that they are the favorites to claim the American League pennant despite missing several big names from the lineup and appearing unfazed by injuries that have chipped away at the roster throughout the second half of the schedule. Despite missing three former All-Stars in Andrew Miller, Michael Brantley, and Jason Kipnis and losing rookie Bradley Zimmer to what appears to be a season ending broken left hand, the Indians kept on rolling in the series opener with the Tigers and continued their dominance of Detroit since the beginning of July after dropping the first two series against them to start the season.
The Indians were challenged by rookie Myles Jaye on Monday night, as the young right-hander was making his third Major League appearance and first career start with the unenviable job of stopping Cleveland’s reign of terror on AL clubs. He would dodge a jam in the first, but that would be the last time he would slow down the Tribe.
The game may have started chaotic from Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday night, but things settled into a far more normal outcome as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox by a 9-4 final.
The Indians (82-56) extended their MLB-best winning streak to 13 straight games and moved to 9-0 on their current eleven-game road trip. The success on the road also moved the team to 46-27 on the year away from Progressive Field, giving the team its most road wins since the club went 46-26 in the strike-shortened 1995 season. Three championship contending clubs in franchise history remain on the all-time road wins list above them currently, including the 52-win 1954 squad, the 49-win 1948 team, and the 47-win first-time champions in 1920.
During their 13-game streak, Cleveland has outscored its competition, 93-25.
The Cleveland Indians appear to be in postseason form, which does not bode well for the last place Chicago White Sox as the Tribe visits Guaranteed Rate Field for four games this week.
The Indians (80-56) have won a season-high eleven straight games and have started their eleven-game road trip with a 7-0 start. A three-game sweep of the New York Yankees in the Bronx was followed by the Indians’ first ever four-game sweep of the Tigers in Detroit. The hot stretch has helped Cleveland open up a nine-game lead in the American League Central over the Minnesota Twins. The Tribe’s magic number has been reduced to 18 in the process. In addition to their eleven-game winning streak, the Indians have won 16 of their last 20 and 22 of their last 30.
The Kansas City Royals got to Danny Salazar for a career-worst 12 hits as the Cleveland Indians dropped the final game of their four-city, 11-game road trip, 7-4, on Sunday afternoon.
It was not the usual suspects in the Royals lineup who provided the bulk of the damage but instead, the bottom portion of the starting nine as Kansas City put up 15 hits in total and ended a long scoreless streak at the plate. Salazar struggled with his command, despite walking just one, but he allowed the dozen hits and a half-dozen runs in just four and two-thirds innings.
Before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, a good number of Cleveland Indians fans were clamoring for their favorite baseball team to trade for starting pitching.
For much of the season’s first three months, the Indians were mostly a two-man rotation. Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco were throwing like the two-headed aces that they are. However, the rest of the starting five was not holding up its end and Cleveland’s starting pitching was largely a disappointment.
In mid-July, the question of just who the third starter would be if the Indians could get back to the playoffs for a second straight year was unsettled. Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin were struggling. Danny Salazar was similarly struggling and injured. Mike Clevinger was looking much better in his second big-league season, but leaning and depending on a guy who struggled as a rookie in 2016 and really only had pitched well in a handful of Major League games seemed like a stretch.
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.