After a disappointing 2-4 start to the season with a pair of road series losses in Seattle and Anaheim, the Cleveland Indians return to Progressive Field to open their home schedule with a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals.
The Indians (2-4) could use some home cooking after four close games to open the year and a pair of lopsided contests against the Angels. After playing three one-run games against the Mariners to open the year while taking just one of the contests, their series with the Angels was highlighted by a pair of blowouts and another one-run defeat in walk-off fashion on Wednesday afternoon. It seems as though the collective offense is cold and the pitching staff has had its own issues to contend with. This year will mark the 25th home opener for the Indians’ jewel on the lake.
A streak of wildness from Seattle closer Edwin Diaz gave Cleveland a chance in the ninth inning, but the rally fell short for the Indians as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Mariners in game one of the 2018 regular season.
Baseball is officially under way and fans at Safeco Field and around the country were treated to a well-pitched game between former Cy Young winners Corey Kluber and Felix Hernandez that was one of the lowest scoring games of the day. One first inning swing by the Mariners would turn out to be the difference, but the Indians fought to the final out in an attempt to claim an Opening Day win.
While the offseason has been historically slow and the winter has crawled along at an even slower pace, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night look ahead to the warmer days of the 2018 season by remembering Tribe players past and present.
Countdown to Opening Day – 8 days
Just as was the case with yesterday’s countdown representative, Erik Gonzalez, and his jersey number nine, the number eight may be soon destined to a new home in Cleveland.
Its current representative is Lonnie Chisenhall, the Tribe’s first round pick in the 2008 draft and a seven-year member of the team’s parent roster. The former third baseman turned right fielder enters the 2018 season in the final year of his contract with the Indians, so a return for 2019 and beyond is hardly guaranteed.
Lonnie Chisenhall may not be a great player. He is also likely to never really live up to his 2008 first round draft selection billing. However, if he can stay healthy, he can help settle a muddied Cleveland Indians outfield.
At 29, Chisenhall only seems old because he made his Major League debut with the Tribe at the tender age of 22. He has been up and down throughout his career, with numerous peaks and valleys. The last two seasons, however, Chisenhall has reinvented himself as an above average outfielder and has become much more consistent at the plate.
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.