Baseball sure is fun when you’re on the winning side of the ledger.
For the Cleveland Indians, it’s been nearly two straight weeks of good times. And while there was a holiday to celebrate Monday in Labor Day, it was no off day for the Tribe as they won their 12th straight ball game with a 5-3 win over the White Sox from Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.
The Indians (81-56) had some timely hitting, some good quality starting pitching from Trevor Bauer, and a bit of a tight rope act from the bullpen, but the club secured yet another win in formally knocking the White Sox (54-82) out of playoff contention while guaranteeing the south side club a losing season. Cleveland, meanwhile, has locked in a fifth straight winning season.
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 Cleveland Indians did something they had never done in their 117-year history on Sunday, completing a four-game sweep over the Tigers in Detroit to win their eleventh consecutive game.
The Indians may be the team to beat in the American League as they won their eleventh game in a row, joining a nine-game streak from the end of July to make them one of the top teams in baseball in the second half. They were backed by a strong return to the mound by Josh Tomlin, who made his first start in over a month, and an incredible game by Jose Ramirez that was also a historic performance in the long history of Major League Baseball.
As if playing two games was not enough excitement for one day, the Indians and Tigers flirted with the possibility of extra innings in the series opener Friday afternoon from Detroit. After twice letting the Tigers tie the game up, Detroit loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in a one-run game, but Cleveland reliever Joe Smith got the always-dangerous Miguel Cabrera to line out sharply to Francisco Lindor at short to give the Indians a 3-2 win in game one of the day’s doubleheader.
It was fitting that Lindor retired the final out after coming through with the go-ahead hit in the top of the inning to give the Indians (77-56) their eighth straight win.
Ryan Merritt made his second consecutive strong spot start and the Cleveland bats came alive as the Indians completed the rare three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium with a 9-4 win over the New York Yankees in game two of Wednesday’s doubleheader.
The Indians (76-56) will take a well deserved Thursday off, holding a voluntary practice session in Detroit prior to their four-game series against the Tigers this weekend that includes another doubleheader on Friday night. They moved to 19-9 in the month of August and have a seven-game lead in the American League Central at day’s end as Minnesota defeated the Chicago White Sox for the second consecutive night with an 11-1 victory to improve to 19-10 in the month.
Two first inning runs would be all the support he would get, but Trevor Bauer and the Cleveland bullpen would make the runs stand up as the Indians defeated the New York Yankees, 2-1, in game one of Wednesday’s doubleheader from Yankee Stadium.
Bauer and left-hander Jaime Garcia faced off against one another in the day’s first game and the Indians gave Bauer a pair of runs of support before he even took the mound. Francisco Lindor started the game with a single to right. He stole second after a fly out by Brandon Guyer and moved to third on a single to left by Jose Ramirez. A passed ball by Gary Sanchez allowed Lindor to score and Ramirez to move into scoring position and Yandy Diaz delivered the second run of the frame with a single to center.
After an impressive homestand, one that saw Cleveland go 5-2 at Progressive Field while firing three straight shutouts to wrap up the seven-game set, the Indians hit the road to begin an eleven-game road trip over the next eleven days. The first stop of their three-city tour is in the Big Apple, where the New York Yankees will host the Tribe for the next three days.
The Indians (73-56) rocked the Kansas City Royals over the weekend to increase their MLB-leading total to 15 shutouts on the year. They used a good balance of strong starting pitching, solid relief work, and a healthy display of power by the offense to generate the three wins while knocking the Royals back three more games in the division in the process. They head into their weekday series with the Yankees with a six and a half game lead over the Minnesota Twins, who are still hanging around on the outskirts of the AL Central race. Cleveland has caught and moved past the Boston Red Sox for the second-best record in the American League and would host the ALDS, if the postseason began today.
A three-run first inning and a nine-run second provided more than enough support for Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco, who combined with two relievers to complete the Indians’ third straight shutout of Kansas City over the weekend with a 12-0 rout of the Royals on Sunday afternoon.
The Indians improved to a season-best 17 games over the .500 mark at 73-56 with their fourth straight win. The Tribe’s shutout of the Royals was their sixth over Kansas City this season and increased their Major League lead in scoreless ball games to 15. The Royals dropped back below even on the season at 64-65 and now trail the Tribe by nine games in the American League Central Division.
The circumstances were not too much for Merritt, who was certainly not shaking in his boots on Friday, as he gave the Indians a career-high six and two-thirds scoreless innings on the mound as Cleveland defeated Kansas City behind a 4-0 shutout.
Merritt had big shoes to fill but did the job admirably in front of a packed house at Progressive Field, holding a veteran Royals lineup to seven scattered hits. Three other relievers followed him to the mound and completed the eight-hit shutout as the Indians (71-56) kept a five and a half game lead in the AL Central over the Minnesota Twins while pushing the Royals (64-63) another game back in the standings, where they now trail the Tribe by seven games.
There has not been a lot of variety to the schedules of the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals over the course of the last week. After the Indians took two of three in Kansas City last weekend, the two teams got a brief reprieve, but now the Royals come to town this weekend for a three-game series at Progressive Field.
The Indians (70-56) have endured a tough stretch of the schedule and a steady growth of players on the disabled list. Despite that, they have played well and split the first four games of their homestand during the week with the Boston Red Sox. Cleveland sits at 33-29 at home with a run differential of +70 at Progressive Field this season. With two more wins over the last six games of the month, the Indians can match their month-high of 15 wins, done in each of the last two months of the schedule. They will need to keep on winning to hold off the second place Minnesota Twins, who sit just five and a half in back of the Tribe.
If Corey Kluber wins the American League Cy Young award this season for a second time in his career, he may have his teammates to thank. For the second time this month, the Indians pounded Boston southpaw and assumed leader in the race for the top pitching award, Chris Sale, for seven runs and dealt him the shortest start of his career on Thursday night as Cleveland routed the Boston Red Sox, 13-6.
When Cleveland visited Boston earlier in the month, Sale was hit hard early for seven runs on eight hits by the Indians in a start that lasted just five innings. Sale, with a 5-7 career record in 28 appearances against the Indians, had a chance to get even, but the Tribe brought the bats in the regular season finale between the two clubs, making up some for mustering just four hits over the previous two games in a pair of defeats.
Things started well for the Indians’ offense when Francisco Lindor tied the game at one all with his leadoff homer off of Doug Fister in the bottom of the first inning. Unfortunately for Cleveland, that would be the highlight of the night as the Boston starter allowed just three more base runners and no more hits on the way to a complete game one-hitter in a 9-1 Red Sox rout of the Indians on Tuesday night.
Fister, making his third start in his last four outings against the Indians, held the Tribe bats in check in throwing his first complete game since 2014. He worked quickly and efficiently and he was supported by more than enough runs from his teammates, who piled on against starter Carlos Carrasco.