The Cleveland Indians squandered a three-run lead protected over seven innings by Corey Kluber as the bullpen surrendered six unanswered runs, including three in the eleventh inning of a 6-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday afternoon.
It marked a frustrating and disappointing end result for the Tribe’s five-game winning streak as the A’s used three long balls off of the Cleveland bullpen, with two coming to the first four batters faced by the bullpen in relief of their ace.
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.
Cleveland sports fans are going to want a do-over of Tuesday’s efforts.
While the NBA’s Cavs were falling two games behind the Celtics in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals from Boston, the Indians blew two separate four-run leads and a five-run edge later, squandered several bases loaded opportunities, and saw the bullpen implode again in the late innings as a big lead turned into a close game and ended in disaster, as the Detroit Tigers rallied several times and scored the final six runs to win an ugly 9-8 final from Comerica Park.
Some games are hard to recap and Tuesday was a prime example. The Indians (20-21) got off to a great start in the first inning, giving Josh Tomlin plenty of support before he even took the mound. Given the fact that he had not pitched since May 4 and that he has been home-run-happy this season, a big early lead seemed imperative for the Tribe to have any sort of shot at success in the Motor City. They got it, but it would not be enough.
The Indians waited and waited and waited some more, but finally on Tuesday afternoon, they could wait no longer for Bradley Zimmer‘s injuries to heal up.
The Tribe officially placed their starting center fielder on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday, retroactive to May 12, with a left rib contusion. The injury was the end result of a collision with the wall at Yankee Stadium two Saturdays ago. He had missed six games and had two off days since the ill-fated wall encounter, but has still experienced discomfort while swinging. After missing the finale of the series with the Yankees, he played in the second of two games in Milwaukee against the Brewers, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout on May 9. After Thursday’s off day, he missed the entire series against the Kansas City Royals and the opener of the current series with the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
With ten days until the start of the regular season, the Cleveland Indians made their biggest camp cuts of the spring on Monday as eleven players were optioned, reassigned, or released by the club. The moves lowered the team’s spring training population at the Goodyear complex from 50 residents to 39.
Most of the moves were expected, but a pair were much more significant to the makeup of things come March 29 when the season kicks off. Yandy Diaz and prospects Eric Haase and Eric Stamets were optioned to Triple-A Columbus. Offseason additions Brandon Barnes, Preston Claiborne, Stephen Fife, and Neil Ramirez, in addition to returning minor leaguers Cameron Hill and Richie Shaffer, were reassigned to minor league camp. Veteran catcher Ryan Hanigan and outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr. were given their releases from their previously agreed upon minor league deals to search for jobs elsewhere.
Diaz and Upton were the most significant moves of the day.
The Cleveland Indians continued adding low-risk depth to its spring training roster on Thursday as the team announced that free agent relievers Evan Marshall and Neil Ramirez had been signed to minor league contracts with non-roster invitations to spring training.
The Indians also formally announced the signing of outfielder Brandon Barnes. The 31-year-old veteran of five Major League seasons spent all of the 2017 season with the Miami Marlins’ Triple-A New Orleans affiliate.
Marshall, 27, is a right-hander who has worked exclusively in relief during his Major League career. He debuted in 2014, just a few years after the Arizona Diamondbacks made him a fourth round selection in the 2011 draft out of Kansas State University.