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.
Ervin Santana kept the Indians off of the scoreboard for six innings and his bullpen did the same as the Minnesota Twins completed the three-game sweep in Cleveland to reclaim first place in the American League Central Division with a 4-0 victory on Sunday afternoon.
Just one weekend after entering Target Field and sweeping the Twins (39-34) in four straight, the Indians (39-35) were unable to continue their victorious ways against Minnesota. Despite posting a 7-1 road trip behind a revival of the bats in the lineup, those same threats were unable to produce against the Twins this weekend, dropping three straight while scoring a grand total of two runs in the three-game set. They are now just 15-20 at Progressive Field this season, while the Twins are 23-9 on the road.
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.
Josh Tomlin could not hold an early lead as he surrendered three home runs and Manny Machado was 4-for-4 at the plate with four runs batted in as the Baltimore Orioles held off the Cleveland Indians, 6-5, on Tuesday night.
The scuffling Machado looked like the player of old as he owned Tribe pitching all game long, providing the bulk of the offense for Baltimore on the night. The Indians held a three-run lead at one point, but Machado tied the game with one swing in the fifth and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh as the Indians stranded a small village on the bases.
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.
The Cleveland Indians completed a very emphatic display this weekend as strong pitching from Trevor Bauer and a pair of home runs from Edwin Encarnacion helped the Indians complete a four-game sweep in Minnesota over the Twins with a 5-2 victory on Sunday afternoon.
The fifth straight victory for the Indians (36-31) moved the club’s record to a season-high five games above the .500 mark. Trailing the Twins (34-33) by a pair of games at the outset of the series, the Tribe gained four games with the four wins and now hold a two-game lead over the young Twins team.
A strong performance from Bauer helped pace the Indians as he moved to the winning side of the season ledger with another victory over the Twins this season. Making his third start against Minnesota after winning each of his first two, he did not allow a run until his final inning of work and retired 15 straight batters at one stretch.
Fans of the Cleveland Indians are finally being treated to the power displays and run-producing ways of slugger Edwin Encarnacion that Blue Jays fans had become accustomed to over the past five years. The Tribe faithful could not be happier to finally see their new cleanup hitter producing like the All-Star and MVP candidate that he has been in season’s past.
At the end of April, some Indians followers and baseball aficionados across the country were ready to call Encarnacion a bust. They were saying the Indians overpaid this past winter when they went out of their comfort zone and gave a large contract to arguably the best free agent on the open market this past offseason. Cleveland had not gone on an offseason baseball spending spree in four years, a little gun-shy from the last time the club had opened its pocket books.
To be sure, the first month-plus was not kind to the Tribe’s new first baseman/designated hitter. However, comparisons to Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, high-profile Cleveland signings prior to the 2013 campaign that did not end well, may have been a little premature. Swisher and Bourn took nearly three years to completely prove that they were not worth the lucrative contracts the Indians had given them. There were some fans who were ready to bail out on Encarnacion after less than a quarter of a season.
Carlos Carrasco pitched into the seventh inning while allowing just four hits and his offense rewarded his efforts with an early lead to work with as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Minnesota Twins by an 8-1 final on Friday night.
As fans in attendance at Target Field celebrated the life of the late entertainer Prince with themes of purple, their team was bludgeoned black and blue by the Indians bats, which were productive in a big way for the second straight ball game as Cleveland inched closer to the top spot in the American League Central Division.
While things have not gone as planned for the Cleveland Indians this season, the opposite might be said for the American League Central’s top club, the Minnesota Twins (34-29). The Twin Cities representative remains atop the division, holding a two-game lead over the Indians despite being outscored by their opposition this season. Injuries have knocked out several veteran pitchers from the starting rotation, and yet with a patchwork staff, the Twins have continued to chug along. They have held at least a share of the number one spot in the Central since the second week of May.
The Indians (32-31) will need to take advantage of the series’ location this weekend as the two teams meet for a four-game series, with Saturday serving as a doubleheader day for the two clubs to make up a previous rainout. The Twins have not had a ton of success against the Indians, as they have dropped four of the six games played between the two clubs this season. The Indians will need to take advantage of the Twins’ struggles at Target Field this season, as Minnesota is just 14-20 at home, compared to 20-9 on the road.
Lonnie Chisenhall delivered a clutch pinch-hit three-run home run in the fifth inning and the Cleveland bats tacked on as the Indians defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 12-5 to avoid the sweep in the final game of their homestand Thursday afternoon.
The bats were alive and well in a rare series finale between the Tribe and Dodgers as the club’s met for just the 12th time in the regular season. It required an unusual mid-game turn to the bench by manager Terry Francona, but the move worked to perfection as the Indians extended a one-run lead and did not look back.
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.