Cincinnati’s Scott Feldman limited Cleveland to just one run over six innings of work on Monday night as the Reds opened their annual interleague series against the Indians with a 5-1 win.
The Indians (23-20), fresh off of a three-game sweep of the Majors’ winningest team in the Houston Astros, could not bring the same level of success against their intrastate rival in the opener of a four-game home-and-home series that will move from Great American Ball Park to Progressive Field later on this week.
Feldman matched up with Josh Tomlin, who kept the game close early for the Indians before a three-run seventh inning proved to be far too much to overcome on the night.
It’s that time of year again that the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds renew their forced interleague rivalry as Ohio clubs playing at opposite ends of the state. The two teams will start a four-game series from Great American Ball Park, playing twice there before the series relocates to Progressive Field for the final two contests on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
The Indians (23-19) have had their problems at home this season, but those issues have extended to the road far less. They are one of just three teams (see also: Houston, Colorado) to win 15 games away from home already this season. Cleveland comes into this home-and-home series for the Ohio Cup one game up on Minnesota in the wins column, but also one game worse in the losses column, putting the Indians two-thousandths of a point behind the Twins for the top spot in the American League Central Division.
Yan Gomes matched a career-high with five RBI on Sunday as the Cleveland Indians completed a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros behind an 8-6 victory.
The Indians (23-19) have been one of the best teams on the road in the Majors this season and they used that to their advantage once again in handing the Astros (29-15) a third straight loss for just the second time this season. Cleveland’s three-game sweep in Houston completed a perfect 6-0 record in the state of Texas this season, combined with the Indians’ three-game season opening sweep of the Rangers in April.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has shown in years past that a move to the leadoff spot can be a good cure for what is ailing his bat.
In a small sample size, the Indians have seen a good uptick in production from their two-time All-Star since manager Terry Francona inserted him into the leadoff spot of the batting order last Sunday.
That same lineup restructuring worked wonders for Kip in 2015 when he got off to a slow start. That year, his second season as an All-Star, Kipnis hit .311 when leading off and just .245 in other spots in the lineup. Needless to say, after a late April move, Kipnis batted leadoff most of the year thereafter.
Mike Clevinger carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and combined with two Cleveland relievers on a three-hit shutout of a Houston team with the best record in the Majors as the Indians blanked the Astros, 3-0, on Saturday afternoon.
Like the previous four games in the season series between Cleveland and Houston, the fifth of six matchups in the regular season between the two clubs was a hotly contested game that came down to just a few runs. While the Astros have been one of the top teams in baseball since the season began, the Indians have had their number despite their own inconsistencies this year, dealing the club two of its three series losses this season. Saturday’s victory by Cleveland guaranteed it a winning record against the young and fiery Houston club, one that seems to be on the fast track to the postseason already.
Cleveland overcame an early two-run deficit with the power of the home run ball as three blasts paced the Indians to four runs and a 5-3 victory in Houston over the Astros on Friday night.
Trevor Bauer took the mound in the role of the stopper for the Tribe, losers of two straight coming in and facing a hot Astros team which had won four straight. Bauer’s good career marks against Houston would be tested early, however, as his 6-0 record in six starts against the Astros seemed to be in jeopardy early on. The game would be much closer than the Eastern Conference Finals action of the Indians’ downtown Cleveland neighbor, the NBA’s Cavaliers.
Alex Cobb kept the Indians bats silent for much of the game and Josh Tomlin did much of the opposite to the Rays, allowing two more home runs and six runs in total while unable to finish the third inning as Tampa Bay took the rubber match in Cleveland, 7-4.
The starting pitching woes for the Indians are becoming a growing concern among those watching a staff heavily affected by significant use or injury over the past couple of years. While it seemed as though Tomlin had figured that out in his first two starts in May, he was unable to give the Indians a good or long outing in Wednesday’s afternoon matinee, following the trend of Carlos Carrasco on Monday (injury) and Danny Salazar on Tuesday (ineffectiveness).
The game started out well in Tomlin’s favor, but quickly fell apart.
The Tampa Bay Rays won their Home Run Derby competition with the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on Tuesday night with a 6-4 victory to even the series at one game apiece.
While the 2019 All-Star Game’s Home Run Derby may still be several years away, Danny Salazar looked the part of the fan-driven exhibition’s pitcher in a strange outing for the Indians right-hander. He gave Cleveland five-plus innings of work on the mound, but four homers offset a nine-strikeout performance and proved to be too much to overcome, despite the Indians dealing Rays starter Jake Odorizzi his worst start since his first outing of the season.
The Cleveland bats, led by a pair of homers and four hits in total from Jason Kipnis, backed a quality start from Trevor Bauer as the Indians again avoided a four-game losing streak with an 8-3 win over the Minnesota Twins in the series finale from Progressive Field on Sunday afternoon.
Dealing with a tough left-hander on the mound in Hector Santiago, the Indians ignored their up-and-down season against southpaws in chasing the veteran starter from the mound early with a nice and needed display of offense with a shuffled lineup.
The Indians gave Bauer early support with a first inning run. Hitting leadoff for the first time this season and facing a pitcher who he owned a .346 average against with a homer and four RBI, the left-handed hitting second baseman Kipnis sent his first homer of the season into the seats in right to put the Indians on the board.
The last road trip for the Cleveland Indians did not go quite as planned, so the team may be welcoming a brief stay at Progressive Field over the next six days as the club hosts the Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays.
It will be a big weekend for the Indians (18-15) if they hope to put a little distance between themselves and the Twins (17-14), who are off to a strong start to their season after a disappointing 59-103 showing a year ago.
While the Indians are coming off of a frustrating 4-5 road set through Detroit, Kansas City, and Toronto while the offense struggled to get going until the final days of the trip, the Twins have figured it out at the plate. Since a disasterous mid-April homestand, one that included a three-game sweep by the Indians, the Twins have won four of their last five series overall. They took two from the Chicago White Sox during the week, winning 7-2 on Tuesday and 7-6 on Thursday around a rainout in the middle game of the set.
Starting pitchers from Cleveland and Toronto were each knocked out in the third inning but the Blue Jays pecked away gradually against the Indians bullpen, delivering the final blow with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on a bases loaded single to right to walk off with an 8-7 victory to claim the win and the series on Wednesday night from Rogers Centre.
The disappointing results for the Indians sent them home to Cleveland with an 18-15 record on the season. Their weather-shortened ten-game road trip through Detroit, Kansas City, and Toronto ended with a 4-5 record as a newly revived offense could not outslug the Jays.
After evening the score at 7-7 in the bottom of the fourth, the early offensive outbursts from both clubs came to a halt until the ninth as the Indians brought on Cody Allen to try to send the game to extra innings. Instead, it was another shaky outing from the Tribe closer in May and this time, he could not survive the high wire act as the Jays pulled out the win.
Cleveland used three runs in the final two frames to come from behind and defeat the Kansas City Royals on Saturday afternoon in a 3-1 final.
Josh Tomlin made his best start of the season and allowed just one run to the Royals, but heading into the late innings, it looked possible that the slumbering Indians lineup was not going to be able to defeat left-hander Jason Vargas, who has been pitching at an incredibly high level to start the season, and the Kansas City bullpen. The comeback victory for the Tribe (16-13) served as an important reminder of why games aren’t over until the 27th out, give or take some extenuating circumstances.