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.
Series in mid-June can rarely be deemed must-win series, but this weekend’s matchup between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins had the potential to be a statement set for either of the two clubs. Through the first two games, the Indians can claim to have made the loudest noise as Jose Ramirez and Bradley Zimmer each drove in four runs as Cleveland took game one of Saturday’s doubleheader with Minnesota, 9-3, from Target Field.
Having to rely on a pair of arms from the minor leagues to complete the day’s double dip, the Indians started the first half of a long day of baseball the right way as the Cleveland offense paced second-year left-hander Ryan Merritt to an early lead and expanded that advantage in the middle frames for a big win.
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.
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.
Cleveland’s issues in interleague play continued this week as it fell to 1-7 against National League opponents after a sweep by the Rockies in Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday. With interleague done, at least for the next three games, the Indians will need to improve upon a disappointing 12-14 record at Progressive Field this weekend while hosting the Chicago White Sox, or risk falling back to or below the .500 mark for the season.
The Indians (29-28) did not take advantage of the high altitudes and friendly hitting environment of Coors Field, putting up just four runs in the brief two-game sweep in Denver. They will now have to take advantage of their long-time opponent in the White Sox, who have struggled for much of the season and now find themselves looking up at all four teams in a sloppy AL Central this season.
A rain delay of nearly two hours could not slow down the bats of the Cleveland Indians on Sunday as they scored four runs before rain and lightning hit and added four more when play resumed to defeat the Kansas City Royals by an 8-0 final from Kauffman Stadium.
After dropping each of the first two games of their series against the Royals, the Indians were able to get the bats going and received a united effort from the bullpen after weather knocked out the day’s starter, Trevor Bauer, after just an inning and two-thirds on the mound.
Things would be much different for the Cleveland Indians if they could just play the American League West all season. With a series win in four games over the Oakland Athletics during the week, the team improved to 13-3 against the westernmost division in the AL. The club departed Cleveland and headed west after its series with the A’s to take on Kansas City for three games for the second consecutive weekend of play against the Royals.
The Indians (28-24) did not start their homestand on a good note as they lost one game to rain and three straight to the Cincinnati Reds and the Royals. The Kansas City club put 6-4 and 5-2 victories on the Indians in the first two games of their series to drop the Indians to a game above the .500 mark, but the Tribe recovered with a resounding 10-1 victory in the finale of that series. They followed it up with much better results against the second-worst team in the league, the A’s, by outscoring them 23-10 in taking three of four.
Corey Kluber threw six innings of two-hit, shutout baseball and the Cleveland offense capitalized on sloppy defensive work by Oakland on Thursday as the Indians routed the A’s, 8-0.
The Indians ace returned from a lengthy stint on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain, but one would have never guessed it with the way that he handed the Oakland lineup as he struck out ten A’s hitters of the 18 that he retired in a start monitored on a pitch count after a short five-inning rehab start in Akron last Friday.
Josh Tomlin allowed just one run in a complete game effort and was backed by a big day from his offense, including four hits from Jason Kipnis as the Cleveland Indians avoided a sweep and a rare four-game losing skid behind a 10-1 thumping of the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon.
The Indians took out some frustrations on the Royals and starter Danny Duffy after putting up a fairly poor showing in each of the first two games of the series this weekend. They racked up their ten runs on 18 hits and scored in five straight innings, beginning in the third.
The Indians could not get the big hit that has plagued the offense throughout much of the first two months of the season and the Royals bullpen slammed the door on Cleveland for starter Jason Vargas as Kansas City won its second straight game of the series with a 5-2 win on Saturday afternoon.
On a day dedicated to former big league great Frank Robinson, whose number 20 was retired as part of the unveiling of a statue in his honor at Progressive Field, Cleveland could not slow down a Kansas City offense that has decided to wake up some this weekend just in time to take on their division rival. Danny Salazar struggled with command and limiting the traffic and racked up some lopsided stats, and that was after he dodged a significant first inning threat.
Rainy weather in Cleveland ended the Indians’ series with the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, with the club losing two of three to their in-state Major League brothers before the postponement pushed their next meeting into late June. The poor results dropped the Indians’ record in interleague play to 1-5 on the season. They will return to a more familiar schedule and opponent beginning Friday night when they host the division rival Kansas City Royals in three games this weekend.
The Indians (24-21) head into play in second place in the American League Central, trailing the first place Minnesota Twins by two games in the standings while holding a two and a half game lead over the third place Detroit Tigers. The Indians will need a series win to stay above the .500 mark against the division this season, as they start the three-game set with an 11-10 record against the Central this season.