If the playoffs were to start today (just past the quarter pole of the actual 2018 season schedule), the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros would be first round opponents in the American League Division Series.
Cleveland (21-21) kicked off a three-city, eight-game road trip in Detroit earlier in the week, taking a pair of bad losses before salvaging the finale behind a stellar start from Trevor Bauer on Wednesday. The bullpen was once again in the spotlight, unable to prevent runs from crossing in the series. Their series with the Astros will be a big test, as they will hope that their starting three for the game will be able to do what they have done for most of the season and pitch deep into the ball game to avoid facing relying on the unstable bullpen’s results. The Tribe comes into the weekend with a game and a half lead over Detroit (20-23) in the American League Central Division.
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 going his whole (albeit brief) Major League career without winning a weekly honor from the American League, Francisco Lindor decided to go ahead and win it twice in a row.
The Indians’ star shortstop hit .600 and was named the American League’s Co-Player of the Week for games played between May 7 and May 13, sharing the honor with Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton.
The road woes continued for the Cleveland Indians on Monday night as Niko Goodrum’s two home runs lifted the Detroit Tigers to a 6-3 win.
An unexpected performance from Goodrum, who would drive in five runs on the day for the Tigers, helped push Detroit to a needed win, ending an eleven game losing streak against the Indians dating back to last season. It was the first win for the Tigers in five tries against the Indians after being swept in a four-game set in Cleveland in April.
Goodrum entered the game with two Major League homers and five RBI in his career (all provided this season) and he matched those totals with a career day at the plate.
Times have been tough in Tiger town, but Detroit and Comerica Park will still welcome in the Cleveland Indians for three games for the first time this season.
The Indians (20-19) are coming off of a series win over the Kansas City Royals in their brief three-game homestand, pulling the club back over the .500 mark following a rough 1-4 road trip. While the Tribe is just 5-7 in May (after a 15-12 record to open the year), the offense has been producing, scoring 88 runs, an average of more than seven per game. The problem has been some defensive miscues and a bullpen that has not been firing well, as the pitching staff as a whole has allowed more than five and a half runs per game. Cleveland swept Detroit in four straight games in April, outscoring the Tigers by an 18-5 edge.
For the second time this season, Corey Kluber was given double-digit run support and big days throughout the lineup paced the Cleveland Indians to an easy 11-2 win on Mother’s Day over the Kansas City Royals.
Kluber has not always gotten the best run support on the mound, but of late, his teammates have swung the bat well in his defense. In five of his last six starts, the team has scored six runs or more in his starts. Not surprisingly, he has gone 5-1 in those outings while giving up a combined total of 13 earned runs. The Tribe’s ace, on the way to his league leading sixth win on Sunday, got the support early and was able to contain the Royals to just two unearned runs in the later innings.
Mike Clevinger pitched into the eighth inning in a quality start and big performances from Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley at the top of the Cleveland batting order led the Indians to a 6-2 win over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday afternoon.
On Lindor’s t-shirt day at Progressive Field, he gave the 10,000 fans to receive the giveaways and the other 14,500+ in attendance a memorable performance as he supported a strong starting effort from Clevinger and got a little help from Brantley in the two-hole in a much needed win for the Tribe.
Plenty could be written about the unpredictable and unusual schedule that the Cleveland Indians have this season. With that said, the Indians return home after a short five-game road trip for three games with the Kansas City Royals before jetting right back out of town for a much longer road trip than the recently completed one.
The Indians (18-18) salvaged an ugly road trip by taking the finale in Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon after losing a close contest on Tuesday night. Cleveland began its brief five-game roadie with three straight losses to the New York Yankees. It continued a down May for the club, as they have gone just 3-6 after ending April three games up in the win column. Despite the downward trend in play, they have remained atop the American League Central Division, holding a game and a half lead over Minnesota. The Indians took two of three from Kansas City in a previous series at Progressive Field this year in a low-scoring set that saw the two clubs combine to score just ten runs in the three contests.
The Cleveland Indians ended their four-game losing skid and salvaged the final game of their five-game road trip, using a pair of long balls and a complete game effort from Carlos Carrasco to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-2, on Wednesday afternoon.
Carrasco was the star for much of the day for the Tribe, striking out the Brewers at ease on the way to 14 total, one short of his career high. He earned his fifth win of the year and ended the Tribe’s losing streak at four with a complete game effort, allowing just two runs on five hits on the afternoon. He threw 117 pitches, making him a curious choice to bring back out in the latter innings. Given the bullpen’s woes, there may have been some hesitance on the part of the coaching staff, which instead opted to let Carrasco throw his second complete game of the year.
Each team hit a pair of home runs, but it would be a blast from an unlikely source for the Brewers off of Cleveland’s Corey Kluber that would prove to be the difference in a 3-2 Indians loss in Milwaukee on Tuesday night.
The Indians’ road woes worsened in the first game of two in a quick series from Miller Park against the Brewers. Cleveland (17-18) dropped its fourth game of the trip and fourth in a row, a season-high losing skid to drop the team back below the .500 mark and just a half game ahead of the charging Minnesota Twins in the American League Central Division.
The Indians will return to their one-time home of Miller Park (three games in 2007) this week for a two-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers. It will mark the first time the two clubs have met since 2015 and just the seventh time since the Brewers moved from the American League Central Division to the National League Central, turning the once-time rivalry into a sporadic interleague series.
The Indians (17-17) started their brief five-game road trip on the worst note, getting swept in the New York by the Yankees. To their credit, the Yankees have dismantled a handful of playoff caliber teams during their 14-1 tear through the American League in the last several weeks, as they have also beaten up on the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins, and Toronto Blue Jays in that stretch. Cleveland found some ways to lose over the weekend, as their bullpen has been fully exploited for the world to see. The offense has contributed, in bunches, of late but could not create any lead big enough that the Yankees could not prevail, especially with a bullpen now ranked second-to-last in the AL in ERA (5.51) and strikeouts (96) and third-to-last in holds (10).
The Cleveland Indians may have struggled to find the win column last week, going 3-5 against Texas, Toronto, and New York, but it was not due to the efforts of Francisco Lindor at the plate.
For his power-packed week of work for the Tribe, Lindor was named on Monday as the American League’s Player of the Week for games played between April 30 and May 6.