For the third season in a row, there will be meaningful October baseball for the Cleveland Indians organization. The American League Division Series will kick off Friday afternoon from Minute Maid Park where the Houston Astros will play host in their quest for a second straight World Series title.
For the Indians (91-71), it was an underwhelming season in an easy division as the American League Central crown was nearly awarded them in spring training. While the cakewalk schedule may have led to mixed results throughout the season, the offense still wowed with the third-most runs scored in the game (818, trailing only Boston and New York) while the team put up a strong +170 run differential. The bats struck out the fewest times in baseball and on the base paths the team picked off 135 bases to lead the Majors. The Indians play with extra motivation, looking to make up for their disappointing first round exit after losing a 2-0 lead a season ago in the ALDS against the New York Yankees.
The Cleveland Indians lost an inconsequential game on Saturday night, but could have lost much more after an injury to Yan Gomes led to several stitches. As for the game results, Andrew Miller allowed a three-run home run in a four-run sixth and Cody Allen gave up two more the next frame as the Indians dropped a 9-4 decision in Kansas City with the Royals.
While manager Terry Francona looked to get his players prepped for postseason work next Friday against the Houston Astros, things did not go as planned. Corey Kluber exited early as planned after allowing three runs in five innings, but the bullpen struggled with six runs allowed from two of their workhorses in the latter innings. Far more concerning, however, was the injury to All-Star catcher Gomes, who left the game in the third after hitting his throwing hand on the bat of Alex Gordon.
Adalberto Mondesi had himself a day all over the field for the Royals on Thursday and he capped it by scoring the winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning to give Kansas City a 2-1 win over the Cleveland Indians from Kauffman Stadium.
Mondesi, son of former big leaguer Raul Mondesi who previously played under the same name as his big league pops, started the Royals scoring with his 13th homer of the year, prevented a run in the eighth with a defensive gem, and then capped his day by walking, stealing two bases, and scoring in the tenth on Salvador Perez’s walk-off single against Neil Ramirez.
Rookie starter Shane Bieber was unable to protect a 4-1 lead, allowing six runs on eight hits in relief, as the Cleveland Indians fell to the Boston Red Sox by a 7-5 final on Friday night from Progressive Field.
The Red Sox (105-49) matched a franchise-best mark with their 105th win of the season while winning their third in a row over the Indians, a possible playoff matchup for them on their quest for a World Series. In the three previous years that the Red Sox earned more than 100 wins, the team has reached the championship series, winning twice and losing once.
Baseball will get a playoff preview of sort over the weekend as the Cleveland Indians host the Boston Red Sox in three straight games from Progressive Field. The series may lack the usual buildup, however, as both teams have clinched and will likely be looking to rest up players in anticipation for the postseason grind.
The Indians (85-67) claimed a pair of wins in three tries against the Chicago White Sox in their second-to-last series against their young fourth place rival on the year. The team needed a walk-off grand slam in the second game of the series to claim a series win as they lost in extra innings on Thursday night. The Indians and Red Sox last met in the third week of August and each team won a pair of games, with Cleveland claiming the first two close contests before Boston earned 10-4 and 7-0 victories in the final games.
The final homestand of the season continues for the Indians on Tuesday night as Cleveland hosts the Chicago White Sox in a three-game midweek set.
The Indians (83-66) continued their sleep walk through September, falling to 6-9 on the year after dropping two of three to Detroit over the weekend. While the team is winning at just a 40% clip in September, they still have managed to outscore the opposition by 12 runs. The Indians have lost or tied four of their five series in the month. They have defeated the White Sox ten times in 13 tries this season (outscoring them 73-34) with two series left in September.
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.