During the six-year tenure of manager Terry Francona, the Cleveland Indians outfield has been a work in progress, piecemealed together and full of platoons for much of that time. That has been especially true during the club’s three consecutive division championships seasons.
The quest to try and put together an outfield befitting a team with title aspirations is not going to end any time soon. In fact, the jobs of President Chris Antonetti and General Manager Mike Chernoff could be even harder this offseason than the past few.
The last couple of winters, the outfield buzz often centered around whether or not Michael Brantley would be healthy or not. However, at least when he was on the field, there was no doubt who would play left field on an everyday basis.
With Saturday’s probable starter Mike Clevinger dealing with an illness in Detroit, the Indians have changed course on their roster plans for the day.
Outfielder Tyler Naquin, as expected, has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with right hip soreness and has left the team to return to Cleveland for further evaluation. The team was expected to promote Greg Allen from Triple-A Columbus, but due to Clevinger’s illness, instead brought back right-hander Adam Plutko.
Plutko was with the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate at Lehigh Valley, where the Clippers were set to play the IronPigs.
The Cleveland Indians used four home runs and five late inning runs to knock off the Detroit Tigers from Comerica Park on Friday night in an 8-3 final.
In a close pitching matchup between Carlos Carrasco and pesky Detroit right-hander Mike Fiers, it would be a battle of bullpens that proved to be the difference as the Indians broke open the game with a big inning against the Tigers’ lone All-Star representative, Joe Jimenez.
One night after an embarrassing defeat aided by a communications breakdown by manager Terry Francona and his coaching staff, the Cleveland Indians avoided a similar scenario by running up 19 runs on 19 hits in a 19-4 rout of the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.
The Tribe avoided a series sweep at the hands of the last place Reds from Progressive Field and earned what should have been a series clinching victory, had it not been for the disastrous events of the night before. In the final game of the penultimate series of the first half of the season, the Indians (50-41) salvaged a victory, ending a four-game losing skid while finally notching their 50th win of the campaign. The Indians got good starting pitching from starter Carlos Carrasco, but they would not need much help from him or the bullpen on Wednesday as the bats came alive and battered the young Reds pitching staff.
Looking to avoid the sweep in St. Louis, Cleveland called on rookie right-hander Shane Bieber on Wednesday and the 23-year-old delivered six innings of one-run baseball as the Indians defeated the Cardinals by a 5-1 final from Busch Stadium.
For the third straight start, Bieber did his best on the mound to put the Tribe in position for victory. Backed by some early offense and three perfect innings of relief behind him, the Indians (44-35) were able to get back into the win column after two rough losses to start their series in Missouri.
Just as quickly, suddenly, and surprising as Tyler Naquin burst onto the scene and the Cleveland Indians radar in 2016, he fell off of it almost more rapidly and shockingly a season ago. After one good season and one miserable campaign, the Indians had no idea what to expect for Naquin’s third go-round for the ball club.
Luckily, for Naquin and the team, the outfielder’s third big league season has him squarely back as a solid member of the big league roster. So far in 2018, he is resembling the good version of himself of two years ago rather than the one every member of the Tribe organization would just as soon forget from last summer.
After not seeing each other for the first time this year until the very final days of May, the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox will meet up for the third time in the last seven series when the two clubs kick off a three-game series from Progressive Field on Monday night.
The Indians (37-33) will presumably be excited to face a different divisional foe this week, as they have had no answers for the Minnesota Twins this season, especially over their last two series against one another. The Tribe dropped two of three to the Twinkies over the weekend, avoiding the sweep with a strong 4-1 win on Sunday afternoon, as rookie right-hander Shane Bieber earned his first win with a tightrope act on the mound and his battery mate Yan Gomes drove in three with a bases loaded double in the third. The Indians come into the weekday series with a two and a half game lead over the Detroit Tigers for second place in the AL Central.
The heavily damaged outfield of the Indians has finally returned to full health, as Cleveland activated Tyler Naquin from the 10-day disabled list on Friday afternoon. In a corresponding move, the Indians placed first baseman Yonder Alonso on the Family Medical Emergency list.
The original plan for the Indians was to option outfielder Greg Allen to Triple-A Columbus, but his stay in Cleveland has been extended a few more days while the club waits for Alonso to rejoin the team.
Tyler Naquin has spent much of the last month and a half trying to prove that he can be a valuable contributor on the Cleveland Indians roster, whether it be in a starting role in right field for the time being or coming off of the bench. With an increased opportunity for playing time, he has come through with a big home run earlier this week and he extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games on Friday with another key hit in the clutch, but the latter one will cost him some playing time.
Performing at a high level with a perfect opportunity to make a case to help out the Indians throughout the season, Naquin was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday morning with a left hamstring strain. He suffered the injury running the bases after his big two-run double in the Indians’ six-run fourth inning of Friday night’s 10-9 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
A back-and-forth game between the Indians and Royals went in favor of Kansas City as the visiting club rallied for six unanswered runs to defeat the Tribe, 10-9, from Progressive Field on Friday night.
The Indians (18-19) took an early lead and reclaimed it with a six-run fourth inning, but Cleveland’s pitching could not slow down the Kansas City (13-25) offense, which chipped away with runs in three straight innings to take the lead for good in the seventh on a big home run off of Andrew Miller.
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.
The Cleveland Indians ended their four-game losing skid and salvaged the final game of their five-game road trip, using a pair of long balls and a complete game effort from Carlos Carrasco to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-2, on Wednesday afternoon.
Carrasco was the star for much of the day for the Tribe, striking out the Brewers at ease on the way to 14 total, one short of his career high. He earned his fifth win of the year and ended the Tribe’s losing streak at four with a complete game effort, allowing just two runs on five hits on the afternoon. He threw 117 pitches, making him a curious choice to bring back out in the latter innings. Given the bullpen’s woes, there may have been some hesitance on the part of the coaching staff, which instead opted to let Carrasco throw his second complete game of the year.