For the third straight season, the Cleveland Indians are American League Central Division champions as they routed the Detroit Tigers by a 15-0 final from Progressive Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Indians became the second team to clinch a playoff berth and the first club to win its division as the Tribe secured a race that was thought to be well over in April when the team moved into sole possession of the AL Central on April 21. The game Saturday was well out of hand after one frame, as the Indians began their onslaught with their first of four multi-run innings on the day. It was more than enough support for Mike Clevinger, who allowed just one Tigers hit and three walks in six innings before exiting with a 15-run lead.
With a magic number of two, the Cleveland Indians look to wrap up the American League Central Division during a three-game weekend set with the Detroit Tigers.
The Indians (82-64) had a tough time during the week with Tampa Bay, dropping two of three again for the second time against the Rays this month. It continued season-long woes against the AL East, which has held the Indians to a 14-17 record against it this season. The Indians have crushed the AL Central, winning two out of every three contests to hold a 42-21 record over their division rivals. That mark is tied with the Atlanta Braves for the second-best interdivisional record and trails only the Boston Red Sox’s 48-19 performance against the East.
With his first inning two-out steal of second in his 140th game of the year on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez added another accomplishment to his growing resume for MVP consideration as he turned in just the 61st 30 homer-30 stolen base season in Major League Baseball history. In doing so, he also became just the third Indians player to accomplish the feat, joining historic seasons turned in by Joe Carter in 1987 and Grady Sizemore in 2008.
Fans can easily remember the type of game-changing ability that Sizemore had, whether it was with the glove, his speed, or with one swing of the bat. Those old enough to watch Carter in his prime in the late 1980s (tough words to even have to write) saw the same power and speed potential on a nightly basis, before his contribution to Cleveland’s future success revolved not around his production, but around the price the club charged the San Diego Padres to send Carter for several prospect pieces which factored largely in the team’s run through the decade to follow.
Tampa’s Blake Snell made another impressive case in his bid for the American League Cy Young Award on Wednesday afternoon as he shut down the Cleveland Indians with just one hit and one run allowed over seven innings in a 3-1 Rays win.
Still on the outskirts of the second AL Wild Card spot, the Rays got a big game from their left-handed ace, who took over the Major League lead in wins with his 19th of the year. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and left with a safe 3-1 lead, with his bullpen taking care of the final two frames to wrap up a disappointing 3-4 road trip for the Tribe.
With a runner at second base and two down in a one-run game against Neil Ramirez in the seventh, Ji-Man Choi blasted a 3-2 two-seamer deep to right, but hooked it foul before dropping the bat at the plate in frustration. He lofted the next pitch to center to end the inning.
He got to drop the bat again in the bottom of the ninth, but after carrying it nearly all the way to first base before beginning a slow and animated trot around the bases as his two-out, two-run home run off of Indians closer Brad Hand gave the Tampa Bay Rays a shocking 6-5 walk-off win from St. Petersburg.
The Indians will try to wrap up the American League Central Division this week in Tampa as Cleveland concludes its seven-game road trip with three games against the Rays.
Cleveland (81-62) traded wins and losses with the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend to start its seven-game road trip before the final homestand of their year. September has been a rough one for the Tribe, as Cleveland is just 4-5 through the first nine days of the month. The pitching has provided some of the issue, as opposing players are hitting .272 against them this month, the second-worst mark in the American League. They do, however, lead the Bigs with 107 strikeouts and the league in walks with 17 in 81 1/3 innings. The Indians come into the series with a magic number to clinch the Central at five.
Former Indians farmhand Thomas Pannone held Cleveland to just two runs over six and one-third innings and the Toronto Blue Jays used three early runs and three more late to claim a 6-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
Pannone, making just his third Major League start and ninth overall appearance since being acquired by the Blue Jays last July for reliever Joe Smith, filled in for the injured Marcus Stroman with a quality outing for Toronto while keeping the Tribe bats quiet. The Jays touched up starter Mike Clevinger for three runs in his own quality start, and three more in the eighth off of right-hander Jon Edwards provided enough cushion late when the Indians threatened briefly in their final at bats.
Kevin Pillar launched a no-doubt about it shot 440 feet to left center off of the first batter faced by Adam Cimber in the bottom of the eleventh to give the Toronto Blue Jays a 3-2 win over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
In a game of repeated missed opportunities by the Indians, the Blue Jays got the last laugh in walk-off fashion after twice tying the score in the middle innings.
The Indians and Royals will kick off their first of two September series with a three-game set from Progressive Field this week.
The Indians (77-59) dropped two of three in a tough series against the scrappy and young Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend in closely contested games. It marked the Tribe’s first home series loss since July 23-25 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Indians have been one of the better hitting teams in the second half of the season, ranking second in the AL with a .263 batting average and third in on-base percentage at .334 in that span. Cleveland was the only team in August to not record a triple, but the lineup tallied the fewest number of strikeouts of all 30 teams in those 31 days.
The Tribe won big last night as Cleveland used a big scoring outburst in the middle innings to oust the Minnesota Twins by an 8-1 final in the series opener from Progressive Field on Tuesday.
Carlos Carrasco handled the Twins with ease throughout the night as he cruised to his 16th win of the season, tying him for second in the American League. He blanked the Twins over seven and two-thirds innings, allowing four hits and a pair of walks while striking out eleven and leaving with a comfortable lead just after throwing 100 pitches.
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.
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.