After an 8-3 road trip and with the American League East-leading Boston Red Sox in town for a key four-game series this week, the Indians should be greeted to a raucous playoff-like atmosphere at Progressive Field in the team’s return to Cleveland.
The Indians (68-54) won four straight series and finished their road trip strong, taking three of four from Tampa Bay, one from Boston in a makeup game, and two of three against both Minnesota and Kansas City. In a notably difficult stretch of the schedule, the Indians have stepped up their game and look to be in top form, despite still being limited by injuries. The offense has been providing in bulk and at clutch moments, the bullpen has been consistent, and the starting rotation has been lights out. During their road trip, they outscored the opposition, 58-26, putting up an average of 5.3 runs per game. The starters combined for a 2.32 ERA in that stretch and the team hit .290 with runners in scoring position.
The Indians got six and one-third innings of scoreless baseball from Trevor Bauer and the bullpen tandem of Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen retired the final eight outs without a hit as Cleveland blanked the Kansas City Royals, 5-0, on Saturday night.
Bauer got a little help from his friends, who provided some early runs and some good work in the field behind him as the Tribe starter won his 12th game of the season, joining Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco to form the Majors’ only pitching staff with three different dozen-game winners. Bauer has now won each of his last five decisions, the longest streak of his career, and has not taken a loss in over a month.
A lengthy eleven-game road trip has proven to be little problem for the Cleveland Indians as they return to Kauffman Stadium for a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals this weekend.
It will be a clash of the top two clubs in the American League Central, as the Royals (61-59) have slipped a half-game in front of the Minnesota Twins for the second spot in the division. After ignoring any urges to sell at the deadline, the Royals instead attempted to bulk up the roster, adding to the outfield, bullpen, and starting rotation. They have hung around the Wild Card race, trailing the second spot by a half game going into action on Friday, and have kept close enough in the AL Central to keep that divisional battle alive and well. A big weekend for the club could cut the gap significantly.
The Indians (66-53) saw their six-game winning streak come to an end on Thursday night, but the club is still riding a wave of strong performances on the road. After dropping the first game of their long roadie in Tampa, they won three straight from the Rays, took a one-game makeup date in Boston with the Red Sox, and defeated the Twins in the opener on Tuesday and in game one of a doubleheader on Thursday. The Indians will now look to expand on their divisional lead, currently sitting at five and a half games over the Royals.
A battle of minor league starters went in favor of the Twins on Thursday night, as Minnesota and rookie Aaron Slegers avoided a sweep with a 4-2 win in game two of the day’s doubleheader.
The 6’10” right-hander Slegers got the call for the Twins as the club’s 26th man for the second game of the day’s double dip and stood tall, both in effort and in stature, in his Major League debut at Target Field. He carried a one-hitter into the seventh inning and after Max Kepler‘s lost footing cost the Twins the lead, the outfielder put Minnesota back on top for good with an eighth inning blast off of Mike Clevinger.
Trevor Bauer struggled some in the early innings to maintain a big lead, but Edwin Encarnacion made sure the Tribe’s right-hander had some extra room to maneuver through the Boston lineup, hitting a pair of two-run homers to power the Cleveland Indians past the Red Sox, 7-3, in Monday’s makeup game.
A long and winding road trip for the Indians across the right half of the continental United States is off to a good start for the Indians (64-52), who won a fourth straight game on their four-city, eleven-game road trip after taking the final three of a four-game set in Tampa Bay over the weekend. Coming to Boston, where the club was massacred earlier in the month, the Indians put that tough loss behind them and fought back after once again coughing up a big lead at Fenway Park to the Red Sox.
Inclement weather intervened on the final game of the series between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox on August 2, which may have been a blessing for both clubs after a grueling emotional roller coaster ride of a game the night before that saw bad outings by Chris Sale and Carlos Carrasco followed by some poor pitching performances by some of the biggest names in each team’s respective bullpen. That cancellation led to a quick reunion, as the Tribe and Sox will rematch for a one-night showing at Fenway Park on Monday.
The Indians (63-52) have not let the disadvantages of playing on the road be an issue for the club this season. With a 32-25 record away from Progressive Field, the Tribe is one of just seven teams in the Majors with a winning road record, and their mark is the third-best in the American League, trailing Houston (39-20) and Minnesota (32-24). Road wins have been a common theme for the division leaders this season – all six clubs leading playoff chases possess winning records and the other road warriors, the Minnesota Twins, find themselves just four and a half games off of the mark in the AL Central.
Since May, Corey Kluber has been pitching at a level even greater than when he won the 2014 American League Cy Young Award. Despite a few hiccups, Carlos Carrasco has been a strong No. 2 pitcher this season. Beyond that, however, the Cleveland Indians rotation was a giant question mark during the season’s first half.
The starting five figured to be a strength of the team for the Tribe before this season. Carrasco and Danny Salazar were set to come back from injuries that kept them from playing in the 2016 postseason, in Carrasco’s case, or making any significant impact in Cleveland’s run to the World Series, in Salazar’s scenario. Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin were supposed to reprise their 2016 roles this season as two of the game’s better back-of-the-rotation hurlers.
Instead, Salazar spent the first half battling confidence issues as well as the injury bug. Bauer and Tomlin simply were not very good. Before the All-Star break, it was Mike Clevinger who was pitching like Cleveland’s third best starter. However, the second-year pitcher never seemed to have the complete confidence that the veterans could inspire when going right. Many wondered if his good stretch in June was a mirage or if he really was coming around. He was becoming a master of the Houdini act in getting out of rough innings and tight spots, never a recipe for long-term success.
With Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies in 12 innings, the Cleveland Indians will not face another National League opponent this season unless the ultimate goal – a return trip to the World Series – is met.
Their performance in interleague play this season makes the early end of that portion of the schedule a very good thing – the Indians were just 6-14 this year against senior circuit opponents, a stark contrast to last season’s 13-7 record against them in advance of their battle with the Chicago Cubs in late October.
The last interleague game resembled many of the games that preceded it, as the Indians were left with disappointment after Cody Allen blew the save in the top of the ninth inning and Charlie Blackmon hit his second homer in as many days off of Tribe pitching to give the Rockies the lead for good in the 12th as Cleveland dropped to 60-51 on the year.
What made the loss even more disappointing was that it wasted a third straight strong start on the mound from Trevor Bauer.
The long run atop the National League West this season may have ended a month and a half ago, but the Colorado Rockies remain one of the top teams in baseball this season. After some trade deadline upgrades, they head to Cleveland for the first time since 2014 as the Indians prepare for their second interleague set with Colorado this season. The Tribe will look to keep a four-game home winning streak against the Rockies alive.
The Indians (59-50) are coming off of a series split with the New York Yankees, winning the first two of the set before dropping decisions on Saturday and Sunday. The team has played much better at home in the second half, rattling off nine straight wins before the two losses over the weekend. They have been evenly matched with the Rockies over the years in their limited encounters, with Cleveland winning 11 times and Colorado winning 12. Home field has been the difference maker the majority of the time, as the Rockies are 9-2 when hosting, while the Indians are 9-3 when welcoming Colorado to Progressive Field. The Indians will need to drastically improve upon their 5-13 (.278) record in interleague play, the second-worst mark in the American League this season, if they hope to defeat the Rockies.
Trevor Bauer made another big start for the Cleveland Indians on Friday night as he gave the club seven innings of one-run baseball in defeating the New York Yankees, 7-2.
The Indians may have solved the home woes that had plagued them this season. Playing in front of consistently larger crowds than earlier points in the season, the Indians have gone a perfect 9-0 since the All-Star break at Progressive Field and are now 30-24 on the shores of Lake Erie.
Every now and then, the baseball gods look down upon a team and take pity on it. Unless, that is, you are the Padres. They’ve had some extended bad luck.
After going on a nine-game tear, the Cleveland Indians (57-48) have given a few of those wins right back, dropping three in a row and both games of their series in Boston this week. A third game was postponed, forcing the loss of an off day in a week and a half when the team will have to return to Fenway Park for one final game. While the players could have benefited from returning to the diamond to get the sour taste of a painful loss on Tuesday out of their collective mouths, the rest will be needed as the schedule has just two more off days in the rest of August.
While both the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox could have been big buyers at Monday afternoon’s trade deadline, each club made just minor tweaks to its roster as the league prepares for the final two months of the regular season schedule. Both very much in contention, the two teams will play each other this week for the first time since the Indians swept the Red Sox in the American League Division Series last October.
The Indians (57-46) have turned around what looked like a frightening start to the second half of their season after opening 1-5 against two of the worst teams in baseball in the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants on a west coast road trip. Since then, they rattled off nine straight wins, including sweeping a perfect seven-game homestand, before they were finally slowed down by the Chicago White Sox, 3-1, on a walk-off homer on Sunday afternoon.