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.
It’s win or go home time for the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees as a poor defensive showing from the Tribe led to six unearned runs and the Yankees rode a dominant performance from Luis Severino in a 7-3 rout to force a Game 5 in Cleveland on Wednesday.
Home field has been all the advantage throughout the playoffs thus far, but especially in the contest between the Indians and Yankees, as both teams have won their hosted games through four games of the series. It was the collapse of the usually sound Indians defense on Monday that led to a half dozen unearned runs, forcing an early exit from starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, who made the start on just three days’ rest.
Despite what you might have read or been told Monday morning, what Cleveland Indians fans witnessed Sunday night was an incredibly well-pitched and well-fought playoff game, and not the “latest chapter in a tortured history¹” of a Cleveland franchise “intimately connected with pain²”.
For Game 3 of the American League Division Series, Major League Baseball fans were actually treated to a pitchers’ duel (a rarity in the postseason thus far) as Masahiro Tanaka and Carlos Carrasco each took shutouts deep into the night. One mistake, hit over the short porch in right by New York’s Greg Bird off of Cleveland’s All-Star left-hander Andrew Miller, provided the game’s only run as the Yankees staved off eliminated with a 1-0 playoff classic win over the Indians.
In 2007, CC Sabathia was on the mound for Cleveland in the postseason at the tail end of a Cy Young Award winning year for the Indians as he became the second Tribe pitcher to ever bring home the top pitching award of a season. Seven years later, Corey Kluber joined him on that short list when he became the fourth Indians hurler to be recognized as the American League’s top pitcher.
On Friday night, the two will square off from opposite sides in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.
Trevor Bauer brought a no-hitter into the sixth, Jay Bruce was involved in producing all four Cleveland runs, and the familiar bullpen tandem of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen closed out Game 1 in usual fashion as the Indians blanked the New York Yankees with their 20th shutout of the season in a 4-0 victory on Thursday night in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
All questions about Bauer starting the opener of the playoffs for the Indians were silenced as his excellent numbers against the Yankees in 2017 continued in his second ALDS Game 1 start in as many seasons for the Tribe. He contained a strong Yankees lineup all game long and got a big effort from one of the newest members of the ball club.
The wait has been excruciating, but that wait is now over. After a long three days off, the Cleveland Indians will return to the playing field on Thursday night as they host the American League Wild Card play-in game winners, the New York Yankees, in Game 1 of a best-of-five series in the American League Division Series.
The Indians (102-60) earned the right to play the home team, not only in the ALDS, but in the ALCS and in the World Series against all teams not named the Los Angeles Dodgers, after an incredible run through the final 100 games of the regular season schedule. Much is focused on the modern day record winning streak of 22 games that the team put together from the end of August into the middle of September, but the team went 71-29 in those final 100 games after a 31-31 start to the season. The Indians used impressive starting pitching, an offense that became more and more consistent and lethal as the season progressed, and a bullpen that found surprise contributions and survived several absences from one of its top arms, Andrew Miller.
The Indians won five of seven against the Yankees this season.
Colder weather could not cool off the Cleveland bats on Friday night as the Indians opened the final series of the regular season with a 10-1 rout of the Chicago White Sox from Progressive Field.
Trevor Bauer took the mound for the Indians in his final start of the season as he prepared for the playoffs. Chasing down a personal statistical accomplishment, he would fall just short of that goal, but he added another win to his career-best totals while ending the Tribe’s Friday losing skid at two.
It’s hard to believe that earlier this week, northeast Ohio was dealing with 90 degree temperatures while leaves were beginning their descent back to earth. Now, the weather has fallen back to more fall-like levels, which seems much more fitting for the Indians’ season finale with the Chicago White Sox.
The Indians (100-59) have had to deal with losses a bit more in the last week, taking a loss last Friday in Seattle and another on Tuesday against Minnesota. It marked the first time the team had lost twice in the matter of a week since the final week of August, further recognition of the incredible run that the team has been on. The Indians offense has continued to contribute at high levels, while the pitching staff has fired on nearly every cylinder. If anything could strike as a concern, it might be the backend of the bullpen, which was on the mound and responsible for each of the team’s last two losses. Still, a 31-3 mark in their last 34 games is nothing to scoff at.
With a playoff spot already locked up, the Indians control their AL playoff destiny. With Houston playing Boston this weekend, the Astros have a much tougher road to pass the Indians to claim home field. Both teams have earned the opportunity to host their American League Division Series matchups, but any combination of Indians wins and Astros losses equaling two this weekend will grant Cleveland home field for the entire AL playoff bracket. The Tribe’s chances for the overall best record in baseball is much more difficult, as they will need the Dodgers to lose all three of their games this weekend while sweeping the White Sox at the same time.
For the second Friday in a row, the Cleveland Indians have had little fun.
The Indians had little answer for Seattle right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who struck out ten and set down 18 straight after Cleveland’s lone run, and the Mariners offense staged a walk-off win on a two-run shot by Nelson Cruz off of Cody Allen in the ninth.
The Indians’ rookies and minor league call-ups enjoyed some friendly superhero themed hazing prior to their flight to Seattle on Thursday. The Tribe will look for more on-the-field heroics as the team will take on the Mariners in Cleveland’s final road series of the regular season.
The Indians (96-57) will continue their pursuit of the best record in the Majors after pulling within a game of the Los Angeles Dodgers (97-56) after an incredible run beginning in the last week of August. The team is 27-1 in its last 28 games and sits just four games short of 100 wins on the season, which would mark just the third time in franchise history that the Indians have reached the century mark in victories. They added three more wins to their season total during the week, completing a season series sweep of the Los Angeles Angels to guarantee at least a .500 road trip while extending their road winning streak to a franchise record 14 straight.
The Cleveland Indians did something for the first time on Friday night since August 23 – they lost.
A back and forth ball game went in favor of the Kansas City Royals, who ended the Indians’ 22-game winning streak in a 4-3 contest at Progressive Field.