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.
After the Tribe tied the game with a three-run top of the seventh, Cleveland’s Bryan Shaw allowed three runs in the bottom half of the inning as the Tigers defeated the Indians in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader from Detroit, 7-4.
In a matchup of two inconsistent starters in Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin and Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez, neither pitcher would factor in the final decision, but had plenty to say with how the game got to its end results.
The Cleveland Indians may have broken the spirit of the Minnesota Twins last weekend, when the Tribe swept the young club and knocked them out of first place. The Twins will look to return the favor and gain some ground back in the American League Central Division beginning Friday night, when Minnesota and Cleveland begin their three-game series from Progressive Field.
The Indians (39-32) have gotten hot and stayed hot, beginning with their four-game sweep of the Twins (36-34) during the successful start to their eight-game road trip. They won seven games on the road to pull two and a half games in front of the Twins in the division. Including their victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the final game of their homestand two Thursdays ago, the Indians have outscored their opponents, 68-23, in their last nine games. The hot stretch includes a season-high tying six game winning streak.
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.