During the six-year tenure of manager Terry Francona, the Cleveland Indians outfield has been a work in progress, piecemealed together and full of platoons for much of that time. That has been especially true during the club’s three consecutive division championships seasons.
The quest to try and put together an outfield befitting a team with title aspirations is not going to end any time soon. In fact, the jobs of President Chris Antonetti and General Manager Mike Chernoff could be even harder this offseason than the past few.
The last couple of winters, the outfield buzz often centered around whether or not Michael Brantley would be healthy or not. However, at least when he was on the field, there was no doubt who would play left field on an everyday basis.
For the second straight night, the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox needed eleven innings to decide a winner. And for the second straight night, it was the Indians who came away victorious as Greg Allen delivered a bases loaded single with one out to give Cleveland a walk-off win in the final home game of the 2018 season.
The early innings provided a back-and-forth contest as the Indians fell behind early before a big three-run outburst in the fourth. The lead lasted for just a batter, and then both offenses went silent until the Cleveland lineup found the plate one final time.
With each start, Corey Kluber looks more and more ready for October baseball. The reigning Cy Young winner kept his name in that hat with a dominant six and two-thirds innings of two-hit baseball, striking out ten Royals in a 3-1 Indians win on Wednesday afternoon.
The Indians won back-to-back games for the first time in the month with a strong effort from their ace on getaway day. The right-hander made short work of the Royals through his 20 outs, and three men out of the bullpen combined to strike out six of the seven hitters that they faced in two and one-third perfect innings of relief.
Corey Kluber settled in for a dominant start, Edwin Encarnacion homered late, and Cleveland tacked on a couple of insurance runs off of the Tampa bullpen on Friday night as the Indians defeated the Rays in a 3-0 shutout.
It was a return to form for a fresh-faced Kluber, who blanked the Rays over seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out eight batters to move to 17-7 on the season while earning his first win after shaving his notable, sizable beard for the first time this year. He was gripped in a tight pitching battle with young right-hander Tyler Glasnow, making his sixth start for the Rays since coming over in the Chris Archer trade at the end of July, but it would be a solo shot from Encarnacion that broke the ice and tilted the scales just in favor of the Tribe, which completed its 14th shutout of the year.
Former Indians coach Kevin Cash has done some interesting things with the Tampa Bay Rays. Those Rays are on pace for their best win total in his four years as manager and will look to build towards that end result as the club returns to Cleveland for the first time since the middle of May of last season.
The Indians (76-57) edged out a series win over the Minnesota Twins to take the season series from the second place team of the American League Central during the week. It gave the Indians season series victories over the Twins, Chicago White Sox, and Detroit Tigers, while having a sizable lead over the Kansas City Royals (8-4) prior to their visit at the beginning of next week as they go for the AL Central sweep.
For the third time this month, the Indians and Twins will meet on the diamond as Minnesota makes its second trip of August to the city of Cleveland.
The Indians (74-56) will welcome a return home to Cleveland after a tough seven-game road trip over the last week. After splitting with the MLB-best Boston Red Sox to start the week, they dropped two of three to the Kansas City Royals, including a tough loss in the series opener when back-to-back ninth inning homers turned a 4-3 lead into a 5-4 loss in the matter of four pitches. The Tribe has recovered from a rough start to the season against the Twins to pull their season record against the second place club to 8-8. The Indians remain 16-8 in August with a +32 run differential for the month.
After fighting back with a two-run homer in the eighth, the Cleveland Indians were punched square in the mouth by the young Kansas City Royals in the ninth, as back-to-back homers from rookies Ryan O’Hearn and Hunter Dozier off of closer Cody Allen delivered a 5-4 home plate mobbing for the home team.
The on-going woes for Allen continued as he needed just four pitches to cough up the game, sending the Indians (73-55) to their third straight defeat. It marked the first time in Major League history that a pair of rookies hit consecutive homers in the ninth inning to tie and win the game.
It will be a familiar foe for the Cleveland Indians this weekend as they face the Kansas City Royals in three straight, but there will be plenty of things different on Players’ Weekend.
The Indians (73-54) started their seven-game road trip with a four-game set in Boston against the Red Sox. After taking the first two games of the series, they dropped the latter two in short starts from the staff. The Tribe has taken the last five games with the Royals and are 7-2 against them this season. Like Kansas City, Cleveland will be sporting the special Players’ Weekend jerseys, with the Indians donning red jerseys with navy sleeves and a red cap with a blue block ‘C’ and bill.
For four innings, all was quiet in a getaway day afternoon game between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox from Fenway Park.
Then, the fifth inning happened. The Red Sox ripped off six runs on three separate two-run doubles off of starter Adam Plutko and reliever Adam Cimber to support eight shutout innings from David Price in a 7-0 final.
For the first time since the end of April, the Red Sox have lost three straight games. This time, they have the Indians to blame for two of those defeats as Shane Bieber took a shutout into the seventh inning and the bottom of the Tribe lineup provided an extra punch in a 6-3 win by Cleveland in Boston.
The Red Sox, who entered the night with a 44-17 record at home, took a second straight loss to the Indians to make it three straight defeats for just the second time this season (the other occurred from April 21 to 24 in Oakland against the A’s and Toronto against the Blue Jays). Boston could get nothing going against the Tribe starter Bieber, finally tallying three runs in the seventh with Cleveland already up by five.
A playoff preview from Fenway Park lived up to every bit of the hype on Monday night as the visiting Cleveland Indians rebounded from an early three-run deficit, then held off a late rally from the Red Sox for a 5-4 win in the series opener from Boston.
In a pitching matchup that pitted former Cy Young winners Rick Porcello of Boston and Corey Kluber of Cleveland, both starters would deal with scoring threats of the opposing power packed lineups. The Red Sox stepped up big early with two-out hitting, but the Tribe outfielders countered with blasts of their own to get the Indians back into the game in the middle innings. The Tribe dealt the deciding blow against Porcello in the seventh, then had to protect a two-run lead with the relief staff carrying the load for the final three innings.
For the first time this season, the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox will meet on the diamond, providing the world with a potential playoff preview between the best squads of the AL East and AL Central. The Tribe traveled to Boston to start a four-game series with the Red Sox on Monday night.
The Indians (71-52) took two of three from the hapless Baltimore Orioles, capping the series with an 8-0 shutout in the finale on Sunday. Cleveland rode big efforts from unexpected contributors, using its MLB-high tying ninth grand slam of the year to put the game away for good. It marked the seventh straight series win for the Indians. The Tribe has had its issues against the AL East this season, posting a 2-5 record against the New York Yankees and a 1-2 mark against Toronto Blue Jays. The 3-7 mark against those two clubs has been balanced by a 5-2 stomping of the Orioles, who are the worst team in baseball.