Mike Clevinger carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and combined with two Cleveland relievers on a three-hit shutout of a Houston team with the best record in the Majors as the Indians blanked the Astros, 3-0, on Saturday afternoon.
Like the previous four games in the season series between Cleveland and Houston, the fifth of six matchups in the regular season between the two clubs was a hotly contested game that came down to just a few runs. While the Astros have been one of the top teams in baseball since the season began, the Indians have had their number despite their own inconsistencies this year, dealing the club two of its three series losses this season. Saturday’s victory by Cleveland guaranteed it a winning record against the young and fiery Houston club, one that seems to be on the fast track to the postseason already.
Cleveland overcame an early two-run deficit with the power of the home run ball as three blasts paced the Indians to four runs and a 5-3 victory in Houston over the Astros on Friday night.
Trevor Bauer took the mound in the role of the stopper for the Tribe, losers of two straight coming in and facing a hot Astros team which had won four straight. Bauer’s good career marks against Houston would be tested early, however, as his 6-0 record in six starts against the Astros seemed to be in jeopardy early on. The game would be much closer than the Eastern Conference Finals action of the Indians’ downtown Cleveland neighbor, the NBA’s Cavaliers.
What was projected to be an intriguing pitching matchup between Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco and Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer turned into a battle of offenses as the Indians held off a late Rays charge in an 8-7 win on Monday night.
The victory moved the Indians to the 20-win mark on the year as they became just the fourth American League team to reach the level. With the first place Minnesota Twins idle on Monday, the Indians pulled within a half game of the top spot in the AL Central while the Rays dropped to 19-22 on the season. It was the first time that Cleveland has won a home series opener since its very first series of the season against the Chicago White Sox.
The game was marred by early pitching problems for both starters and an early exit for the Tribe right-hander Carrasco, who left early with discomfort in his right pectoral muscle in another hit to an Indians roster heavily afflicted by injuries through the first month and a half of the season.
The Cleveland bats, led by a pair of homers and four hits in total from Jason Kipnis, backed a quality start from Trevor Bauer as the Indians again avoided a four-game losing streak with an 8-3 win over the Minnesota Twins in the series finale from Progressive Field on Sunday afternoon.
Dealing with a tough left-hander on the mound in Hector Santiago, the Indians ignored their up-and-down season against southpaws in chasing the veteran starter from the mound early with a nice and needed display of offense with a shuffled lineup.
The Indians gave Bauer early support with a first inning run. Hitting leadoff for the first time this season and facing a pitcher who he owned a .346 average against with a homer and four RBI, the left-handed hitting second baseman Kipnis sent his first homer of the season into the seats in right to put the Indians on the board.
In what had the potential to be an exciting rematch of former Cy Young pitchers, the game was decided early as the Tigers scored in each of the first three innings against the Tribe ace, while the Indians could do little to put up runs against Verlander after pummeling him for nine runs on eleven hits over four innings when they last saw him in April.
An explosive first inning for both clubs provided all of the runs on the afternoon as the Cleveland Indians held off the Seattle Mariners, 4-3, on Saturday.
A game that looked like it had all the potential to be a high scoring slugfest completely changed course after the first and turned into more of a mound battle between Cleveland starter Danny Salazar and Seattle right-hander Yovani Gallardo. Salazar would get the better of the veteran M’s pitcher, who was making just his second career start against the Indians.
Big things can come in smaller packages and Indians second baseman Jose Ramirez delivered repeatedly in the clutch for Cleveland on Saturday afternoon as the Tribe routed Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers by a 13-6 final.
It was the long-awaited return of offense to Progressive Field as the Indians rolled out a season-high 13 runs while riding four home runs balls against the Detroit pitching staff to even the series at one game apiece. Cleveland used 19 hits to put up multi-run innings in five different frames on the spring afternoon, doing the bulk of the damage against the Tigers ace Verlander.
The Cleveland offense could not figure out Tigers starter Daniel Norris on Friday night and a late rally off of the Detroit bullpen fell one run short as the Indians dropped a 7-6 decision in game one of a three-game weekend set.
Cleveland could not solve the left-handed Norris on the mound for six scoreless innings of work as each of the first eight men to the plate would be retired by the southpaw. Meanwhile, the Tigers were able to get an early run of support for him in the second inning off of Indians starter Trevor Bauer and would pile on in the middle innings.
With Chisenhall ready to go, the Indians made one of those tough decisions on Thursday afternoon as they optioned center fielder Tyler Naquin to Triple-A Columbus.
While two regular starters prepare for their returns to the big league roster sometime this month, the moves have a significant trickle down effect on how manager Terry Francona constructs his 25-man roster for the Cleveland Indians.
The moves may be difficult, but it presents as a good problem to have for the Indians organization.
Join Did The Tribe Win Last Night as we count down to Opening Day!
Countdown to Opening Day – 8
Friday was a day that quite likely made the Cleveland Indians coaching staff cringe with the thought of losing several potential members of the team’s 40-man roster with just a week and a half to go before the regular season begins in Texas against the Rangers.
Utility man Erik Gonzalez exited in the eighth inning of the day’s contest after being struck in the hand by a pitch. In the same game against the Chicago Cubs, right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall suffered a mild sprain of his right shoulder after crashing into the wall chasing down a fly ball.
Luckily for both players, the injuries appear minor and should not prohibit either from being back in action in the next few days.
The word “platoon” can sometimes be a red flag word when referring to a player. A manager can oftentimes see that word as a burden. However, when it comes to the Cleveland Indians right field situation, it is more the term for something of a perfect marriage.
On August , last season, Brandon Guyer and Lonnie Chisenhall became joined at the hip as the co-right fielders for the Tribe. Alone, each has a fatal flaw. Together, they form something of the perfect right fielder for Indians manager Terry Francona to trot out to the position each day.
Chisenhall, a left-handed hitter, has been with the Tribe organization since he was tabbed as a highly-touted 19-year-old prospect in the first round of the 2008 amateur draft. He started as a third baseman, where he could barely cut it in the field. Late in 2015, the Indians converted Chisenhall to right field, where he has seemingly found a comfort zone. He’s not the most graceful of athletes, but covers a lot of ground.