The Astros overcame an early two-run deficit with three runs in the fifth and five more in the sixth off of Indians starter Mike Clevinger and a bad middle relief effort again as Cleveland fell, 8-2, to Houston in game one of a four-game set from Progressive Field.
The Indians were able to do some early damage against tough right-hander Charlie Morton, who brought a perfect 6-0 record to the table on Thursday and a win against the Indians last Friday, but the Tribe pitching was not able to make a pair of third inning runs hold up. Clevinger was good early, but a home run in the fifth gave Houston the lead and things imploded in a messy sixth inning that saw four different Cleveland pitchers take the mound.
The wacky baseball schedulers are at it again this weekend, as one week after playing their first games against one another for the season, the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros will reunite Thursday through Sunday for the final four games of their regular season matchups.
The Indians (24-23) return home after another tough rough trip. With a pair of wins at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs, the team went 4-4 in the eight-game trip after starting off with a pair of 1-2 defeats against the Detroit Tigers and the Astros. Starting pitching has continued to carry the Tribe as far as it can go, but the offense has proven to be inconsistent and the bullpen has still allowed runs to sneak across the plate in the latter innings of contests. They come into the series with Houston with just a 9-11 mark in the month of May while holding a two-game lead in the AL Central.
Houston’s Charlie Morton gave up just one run in seven innings of work as the Cleveland Indians dropped their series opener with the Astros on Friday, 4-1.
While the Indians were one of the few teams that handled the future World Champions well last season, that was not the case on Friday as strong pitching shut down a Tribe offense that has been as inconsistent as they come. A tough matchup with Morton, who has emerged as a top quality starter in the game, went the way as the Astros as he paired with two relievers to hold the Indians to just a run on eight total hits.
If the playoffs were to start today (just past the quarter pole of the actual 2018 season schedule), the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros would be first round opponents in the American League Division Series.
Cleveland (21-21) kicked off a three-city, eight-game road trip in Detroit earlier in the week, taking a pair of bad losses before salvaging the finale behind a stellar start from Trevor Bauer on Wednesday. The bullpen was once again in the spotlight, unable to prevent runs from crossing in the series. Their series with the Astros will be a big test, as they will hope that their starting three for the game will be able to do what they have done for most of the season and pitch deep into the ball game to avoid facing relying on the unstable bullpen’s results. The Tribe comes into the weekend with a game and a half lead over Detroit (20-23) in the American League Central Division.
Mike Clevinger pitched into the eighth inning in a quality start and big performances from Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley at the top of the Cleveland batting order led the Indians to a 6-2 win over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday afternoon.
On Lindor’s t-shirt day at Progressive Field, he gave the 10,000 fans to receive the giveaways and the other 14,500+ in attendance a memorable performance as he supported a strong starting effort from Clevinger and got a little help from Brantley in the two-hole in a much needed win for the Tribe.
Plenty could be written about the unpredictable and unusual schedule that the Cleveland Indians have this season. With that said, the Indians return home after a short five-game road trip for three games with the Kansas City Royals before jetting right back out of town for a much longer road trip than the recently completed one.
The Indians (18-18) salvaged an ugly road trip by taking the finale in Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon after losing a close contest on Tuesday night. Cleveland began its brief five-game roadie with three straight losses to the New York Yankees. It continued a down May for the club, as they have gone just 3-6 after ending April three games up in the win column. Despite the downward trend in play, they have remained atop the American League Central Division, holding a game and a half lead over Minnesota. The Indians took two of three from Kansas City in a previous series at Progressive Field this year in a low-scoring set that saw the two clubs combine to score just ten runs in the three contests.
After seven innings of one-hit baseball combined between the Indians and Yankees, New York rallied for three in the eighth and four more in the ninth, riding a game-winning three-run walk-off home run by rookie Gleyber Torres to a 7-4 win over Cleveland on Sunday afternoon, completing a three-game sweep.
It was a wild and wacky finish to the Indians and Yankees series in New York on Sunday as both starting pitchers flirted with no-hit bids. The Indians would not get their first hit until the eighth inning, but tallied four runs in the frame to take the lead, only to see the scorching hot Yankees rally for three in the home half and four in the ninth to take home a shocking win and a series sweep in a rematch of last season’s American League Division Series.
It will be no easy task for the Cleveland Indians this weekend as they head to New York to face one of the hottest teams in baseball, the Yankees, in a three-game weekend series.
The Indians (17-14) wrapped up their eleven-game homestand with a disappointing 5-6 mark. They opened with a series split against the Chicago Cubs and closed it with a split with the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. In between, they dropped three of four to the Seattle Mariners, but took two of three from the Texas Rangers. The bats have woken up with the warmer weather of the last week, as the offense has erupted for 49 runs over the last five games. They start the series with a three and a half game lead over Detroit in the American League Central Division.
The Indians fought back with a game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the ninth, but fell in extra innings to the Texas Rangers, 8-6, on Tuesday night in Cleveland on back-to-back home runs in the top of the 12th.
Reliever Nick Goody was on the mound for his third different inning of relief, looking to keep the game tied at six. Nomar Mazara grounded out on a shot to short, but Joey Gallo delivered a big blast with a solo homer to the seats in front of the bullpens to put the Rangers up, 7-6. Isiah Kiner-Falefa crushed the very next offering from Goody into the bleachers in left to give the Rangers an 8-6 edge. Zach McAllister took over and struck out a pair around a two-out single to end the inning.
Alex Claudio returned for the bottom of the 12th, getting a liner to right before two grounders to close out the comeback win.
The Indians will look to get back on the right track with a different American League West opponent this week as the Texas Rangers come to Cleveland for their only appearance at Progressive Field this season (weather permitting, of course).
Things did not go well for the Indians (14-12) during their weekend set against the Seattle Mariners as they dropped three of four games to move to just 8-6 at home on the year and 2-4 on their current 11-game homestand. Seeing the struggling Rangers may be well timed for the Tribe, especially with warmer weather parking itself over Cleveland just in time for the series. Last season, the Indians went 6-1 against the Rangers, losing just one tough 2-1 outing on a ninth inning run off of Cody Allen at Progressive Field.
The Indians and Seattle Mariners opened the season with three straight one-run finals, with Cleveland on the losing side of two of three. So of course, it was only fitting to continue the trend as the Indians rallied back from a four-run deficit to tie the game, only to have the bullpen give up a costly response run in the eighth in a 5-4 defeat on Thursday night from Progressive Field.
With the Indians down a key arm in their bullpen, manager Terry Francona called upon his relief corps to step up to the pitching plate in a big moment just after the offense got a rare hit with runners in scoring position to tie the game at four in the bottom of the seventh. Dan Otero handled Jean Segura for the first out of the eighth and newly called up Jeff Beliveau struck out the dangerous Robinson Cano for the second out. The third pitcher of the inning, Nick Goody, could not replicate the prior two’s success as Nelson Cruz doubled to left-center. He was lifted for pinch-runner Ichiro Suzuki, who scored with ease as Kyle Seager doubled deep to center as Seattle reclaimed the lead.
The Indians will continue their eleven-game homestand on Thursday as the Seattle Mariners make their lone visit to Cleveland for the 2018 season in a four-game weekend series. The contests will mark the final times the two clubs will play this year and all before the first full month of the regular season playing schedule concludes.
The Indians (13-9) split a pair of interleague games during the week with the Chicago Cubs in a rematch of sorts of the 2016 World Series to kick off their second homestand of the month. The Tribe have played well at home this season, posting a 7-3 mark this April, but they are just 2-4 so far this season against the American League West, with seven games against the division during their current eleven-games-in-ten-days homestand. The Indians enter the day with a three game lead over Detroit in the AL Central.