The Indians got six and one-third innings of scoreless baseball from Trevor Bauer and the bullpen tandem of Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen retired the final eight outs without a hit as Cleveland blanked the Kansas City Royals, 5-0, on Saturday night.
Bauer got a little help from his friends, who provided some early runs and some good work in the field behind him as the Tribe starter won his 12th game of the season, joining Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco to form the Majors’ only pitching staff with three different dozen-game winners. Bauer has now won each of his last five decisions, the longest streak of his career, and has not taken a loss in over a month.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona tried to loosen up the Indians clubhouse a little bit heading into a key weekend series in Kansas City with the Royals. The results appeared evident on the field, as the Indians routed the Royals by a 10-1 final, but had a scare in the sixth inning when starting pitcher Corey Kluber had to exit the ball game early with an injury.
In a game that had plenty of positives to draw upon, Indians’ players, brass, and fans were all collectively holding their breath in the sixth when Kluber broke from the mound and appeared hobbled as he attempted to cover first base on an infield single. He was able to talk his way back onto the mound in what was then a 6-1 contest and pitched to another batter, but after the base hit, Francona and the team trainer were back out to the mound to escort Kluber from the game.
It was announced late in the game that Kluber left with a right ankle sprain.
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.
Home field advantage has not applied to Target Field for the Minnesota Twins when facing the Cleveland Indians this season. The Tribe improved to 9-0 in Minneapolis this season behind a 9-3 victory in game one of a day-night doubleheader on Thursday afternoon.
The game was a bit closer than the final score indicated, as the Indians tacked on six runs in the final two frames to blow open the contest. Carlos Carrasco worked around some early difficulties and five relievers had to combine to close out the game, temporarily making things close in the bottom of the seventh before the bats came to the rescue.
The Indians hit their targets repeatedly at Target Field on Tuesday night as five home runs provided plenty of support for starter Danny Salazar in an 8-1 Home Run Derby rout of the Minnesota Twins.
In arguably its biggest road trip and most important series to date this season, Cleveland continued its dominance off of the shores of the Mississippi River as the Tribe bats were alive and well, guiding the Indians to a fifth straight victory in game number six of an eleven-game road trip. The demoralizing way in which they defeated the Twins in the series opener involved an effective balance of power hitting and power pitching as the Indians extended their lead in the American League Central Division to six games over the second place Twins.
The Indians have made Target Field their home away from home in 2017, as the club is now a perfect 8-0 in Minnesota this season.
Inclement weather intervened on the final game of the series between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox on August 2, which may have been a blessing for both clubs after a grueling emotional roller coaster ride of a game the night before that saw bad outings by Chris Sale and Carlos Carrasco followed by some poor pitching performances by some of the biggest names in each team’s respective bullpen. That cancellation led to a quick reunion, as the Tribe and Sox will rematch for a one-night showing at Fenway Park on Monday.
The Indians (63-52) have not let the disadvantages of playing on the road be an issue for the club this season. With a 32-25 record away from Progressive Field, the Tribe is one of just seven teams in the Majors with a winning road record, and their mark is the third-best in the American League, trailing Houston (39-20) and Minnesota (32-24). Road wins have been a common theme for the division leaders this season – all six clubs leading playoff chases possess winning records and the other road warriors, the Minnesota Twins, find themselves just four and a half games off of the mark in the AL Central.
Jason Kipnis has had a rough go this 2017 season. Cleveland’s two-time All-Star second baseman and team leader has had two stints on the disabled list and had not totally seemed like himself at the plate when healthy.
He missed the beginning of the season with an oblique injury and appeared to be a little bit rusty upon his return in late April. Just when it seemed his bat was coming around, he injured his hamstring in a game against Detroit on July 8. He has not played with the Tribe since.
Out on a minor league rehab assignment in Akron and Columbus this past week, Kipnis is finally expected to return to the Indians Sunday. His reinsertion into the every day lineup should be a big boost to the Tribe, especially if his month away has helped to get healthy and hopefully pain-free, at last.
The rookie delivers – second baseman Jason Kipnis drives in Carlos Santana with a walk-off single to right field off of Hisanori Takahashi as the Cleveland Indians score two in the ninth to defeat the Los Angeles Angels, 3-2. Both the hit and RBI are the first of Kipnis’ career.
With the way Carlos Carrasco was pitching on Friday night at Progressive Field, he was not going to need too much run support. So, of course, the Cleveland bats put up eleven runs as the Indians destroyed the Detroit Tigers in an 11-2 final.
Carrasco got the help that he did not necessarily need as he fired seven innings of two-run baseball while striking out eleven Tigers hitters to win his fifth straight decision. He improved to 10-3 in his final start of the first half. He pitched with a big lead after a five-run third inning by the Tribe off of Detroit starter Jordan Zimmermann and never looked back.
His effort was also a historic one for the record books as he pulled off the “immaculate inning” in the fifth by striking out the side while needing just nine pitches, becoming just the second pitcher in Cleveland Indians history to accomplish the feat and just the 84th to do so in Major League Baseball history (Justin Masterson was the only Tribe pitcher to do it previously, recording his in 2014).
The schedule has worked out in bizarre ways for the Cleveland Indians this season as several times, they have played teams on back-to-back weeks. Such is the case this weekend, when the Indians host the Tigers at Progressive Field, just one weekend after the Motor City Kitties welcomed the Indians to Detroit for a rain-shortened three-game set.
The Indians (45-39) may welcome a familiar opponent after struggling during the week with the unfamiliar San Diego Padres, who proved records means nothing when playing a lengthy 162-game schedule. The young Padres took each of the first two games of the series with the Indians before the Tribe bats awoke in a well-pitched game by Josh Tomlin to avoid the sweep in a much-needed way. When the Indians and Tigers met last weekend, Cleveland took the final two games of the set after Detroit took game one of Saturday’s doubleheader and Mother Nature claimed a win over both clubs last Friday.
For five innings, Detroit starter Jordan Zimmermann resembled the pitcher that he was for years with the Washington Nationals. In the sixth inning, it all crumbled apart as Cleveland put up four runs to take the lead and Carlos Carrasco, Cody Allen, and Andrew Miller held that edge to the finish as the Indians took Saturday’s second game in a 4-1 win over the Tigers.
The Indians had little to show through the first half of the nightcap with the Tigers, as the offense had been relatively quiet all day long, outside of a big inning in their 7-4 loss earlier in the day. Zimmermann had moved easily through the first five innings, facing two over the minimum while allowing just three base runners total. He walked Lonnie Chisenhall in the second, allowed a one-out single to Michael Brantley in the fourth, and plunked Carlos Santana in the fifth in retaliation for a hit batter by Carrasco the previous half inning, before erasing him on a double play ball.