The Cleveland Indians checked off a few more boxes from their offseason to-do list on Friday when the club came to agreements on one-year contracts with arbitration eligible players Zach McAllister, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Danny Salazar.
The trio of Tribe mainstays joined closer Cody Allen in taking care of a contract for the 2018 season, leaving only starting pitcher Trevor Bauer’s status up in the air as the team prepares to pack up for the trip to Goodyear, Arizona, for the start of spring training in just over a month.
The Cleveland Indians checked off another box on the offseason to-do list on Friday when it signed two players to one-year contracts and tendered contracts to their remaining five arbitration eligible players on the roster.
Reliever Dan Otero and outfielder Abraham Almonte each agreed to one-year contracts with the Indians to avoid arbitration. The Indians also tendered offers to pitchers Cody Allen, Trevor Bauer, Zach McAllister, and Danny Salazar as well as outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall.
The clock is ticking loudly around Major League Baseball as teams have until Friday night (8 PM ET) to decide whether or not to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players.
The decisions for the Cleveland Indians may be fairly easy this year, but keeping all seven of their arbitration-eligible players will shrink what little financial wiggle room the organization has all the more.
The Indians set a franchise record for salary spent last season, and with a significant amount of money due to returning players already because of the way many of the existing contracts on the roster are structured, Cleveland is already on the brink of equaling last season’s payroll, and that includes money subtracted by the culmination of the contracts of Jay Bruce, Carlos Santana, Bryan Shaw, and other free agents following the 2017 season.
After a pair of disappointing efforts in the first two games of their interleague series with the San Diego Padres, the Cleveland Indians put together one of their more complete performances of the season in an 11-2 rout of San Diego, avoiding the dreaded three-game sweep in the series finale on Thursday night.
Josh Tomlin was solid in an outing that he desperately needed. The offense was alive, active, aggressive (maybe to a fault), and contributing consistently throughout, one night after scoring just two runs while accumulating 14 hits. The bullpen even chipped in as the Indians improved to 45-39 on the season and remained atop the American League Central Division for another day.
The final score from Comerica Park was hardly indicative of what the Cleveland Indians did to the Detroit Tigers in a big 11-8 win on Sunday to take the abbreviated three-game series from an American League Central rival.
Putting up multiple runs in the second, third, fourth, and sixth innings, the Indians were able to chase Tigers starter Justin Verlander early with another lopsided drubbing of Detroit’s veteran ace. Had it not been for six ninth-inning runs in a last-ditch effort by the Motor City Kitties, the Indians would not have had to call upon the services of one of their closers to wrap up things from Michigan.
Over the past couple weeks, the Cleveland Indians have finally started hitting their stride. The defending American League Champions spent April and May mostly treading water and doing just enough to stay near or at the top of a weak American League Central Division.
That has changed in recent weeks as the Tribe bats have started heating up and the pitching staff, led by the always great Corey Kluber, has started resembling last year’s vaunted group.
However, one issue that remains is a somewhat inconsistent offense. Last week was a microcosm of that. In last weekend’s three-game series against the Twins, Cleveland tallied a grand total of two runs. Then, the offense exploded for 15 on Monday against Texas before falling back to one the next night on Tuesday. The Tribe totaled five runs in each of their final two games against the Rangers on Wednesday and Thursday.
Rarely are games on back-to-back nights the same, which is what can make baseball fun. Things were not fun for the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night, however, as one night after plating 15 in an incredible comeback win, they mustered just one run and lost the game on a solo homer in the ninth inning off of one of the best relievers in their bullpen.
Acting manager Brad Mills went to the closer, Cody Allen, with the game tied in the ninth inning after using Bryan Shaw and Andrew Miller in the previous two innings to keep it the contest knotted at one.
After striking out Shin-Soo Choo looking on a 3-2 pitch and getting Elvis Andrus to line deep to center, the veteran slugger Adrian Beltre stepped to the plate and swung on a first pitch fastball up and in, depositing his 450th career home run into the bleachers in left to put the Rangers up, 2-1. It marked the second time in four days that an opposing club has broken a tie ball game late with a solo blast off of Allen.
When the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers last met, the two clubs opened the 2017 season. Hopes were high for both teams, as each was coming off of a trip to the 2016 postseason after strong campaigns and both were expected to be contenders once again. While both clubs remain contenders in their own right, their respective seasons may not be going as many had expected.
The Indians (39-35) have yet to find the magic recipe to sustained success. The starting rotation has had some struggles with injuries and varying results. The bullpen has been steady, statistically one of the best in the game, but has had its edge-of-the-seat moments. The offense has been a head scratcher at times, producing runs in bulk in stretches before series like this past weekend, when the club mustered just two runs in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Twins on the heels of an offensive eruption during a 7-1 road trip. Even worse, home has not been a sweet home for the Indians, as they are one of just two American League clubs (see: Twins) to post a losing record at home (15-20). In the Tribe’s favor this week in their matchup with Texas is an impressive 13-3- start against the AL West this season.
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.
After a solid 9-3 win earlier in the afternoon, the Cleveland Indians completed the Saturday doubleheader sweep of the Minnesota Twins, 6-2, using four long balls to get the job done.
The win for the Tribe (35-31) moved them into sole possession of first place after tying the Twins (34-32) earlier in the day. The Indians continued their strong play at Target Field this season, improving to 5-0 there this year with seven straight wins dating back to last season, the club’s longest winning streak in Minneapolis since concluding an eight-game streak there in 1969. Home has not been a sweet home for the Twins this season, as they are just 14-23 at their unfriendly confines.
Lonnie Chisenhall delivered a clutch pinch-hit three-run home run in the fifth inning and the Cleveland bats tacked on as the Indians defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 12-5 to avoid the sweep in the final game of their homestand Thursday afternoon.
The bats were alive and well in a rare series finale between the Tribe and Dodgers as the club’s met for just the 12th time in the regular season. It required an unusual mid-game turn to the bench by manager Terry Francona, but the move worked to perfection as the Indians extended a one-run lead and did not look back.