The Cleveland Indians will open the interleague portion of their schedule this week as they play host to the Chicago Cubs for the first time since the 2016 World Series.
The Indians (12-8) will welcome the Cubs to Cleveland for the first time since a rain-afflicted Game 7 in the 2016 World Series. Both clubs followed their Fall Classic appearance with shorter-than-expected playoff trips last season, as the Indians were eliminated in the first round by the New York Yankees, while the Cubs were knocked out in five games in the National League Championship Series by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Indians’ offense remains a source of concern, as the team has performed poorly with runners in scoring position and in general. But despite the inconsistent efforts from the bats, the pitching staff has been strong all around. The staff ranks first in the Majors in batting average against (.201) and WHIP (0.98) and second in ERA (2.57). The starting rotation is first with a 0.98 WHIP, second with a .203 BAA, and third with a 2.58 ERA, while the bullpen is first in WHIP (0.96), second in BAA (.197), and fourth in ERA (2.55).
A two-run home run by Yonder Alonso in the second inning proved to be the difference as Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco and the Indians bullpen made the blast stand in a 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.
The Indians (12-8) wrapped up their unusual six-game road trip with a 4-2 mark, splitting their series in San Juan with the Minnesota Twins before taking three of four from Baltimore from their home at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Early offense would be the story for both clubs, but both lineups would go largely dormant in what became a game dominated by quality pitching on both sides of the slate.
Mike Clevinger was masterful on the mound for the Cleveland Indians on Saturday afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards as he threw his first career complete game and shutout in a 4-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
For the first time in his Major League career, Clevinger pitched into and completed the ninth inning in wrapping up a two-hit shutout over the Orioles. He came into the outing with a pair of wins against Baltimore in his career. It was a strong bounce back effort for “Sunshine”, who looked sharp after giving up four runs in the fourth inning of his last start in a short no-decision for the 27-year-old right-hander.
Making his second career start in Baltimore, following last season’s five innings of two-run baseball in a win, Clevinger took command early and worked around the few problems that came his way. A first inning run gave him some room on the mound, and three home runs later would pad his advantage, with some of the pop coming from a big day at the plate from Jose Ramirez.
The Cleveland Indians will make their only trip to Camden Yards this season when they play the Baltimore Orioles for four games in a weekend wraparound series.
The Indians (9-7) make their return back to the states after a two-day vacation in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they were hosted by the “home” Minnesota Twins in a pair of midweek games. Cleveland used strong pitching and four home runs to capture the game one win before losing a tough 2-1 decision in 16 innings on Wednesday night. They have spent more time in the last week not playing than playing, after rain outs on Saturday and Sunday and off days on Monday and Thursday. How much the lack of game activity affects consistency and routine for the club remains to be seen.
Corey Kluber was his usual self on the mound for Cleveland, but that story will be lost in the shuffle as Francisco Lindor led the way for the offense with a two-run home run in his return to his native Puerto Rico as the Indians defeated the Minnesota Twins by a 6-1 final on Tuesday.
Cleveland showed little rust after three straight days off as strong starting pitching from the well-rested Kluber and some explosive support from a native son powered the Indians past the Twins in the first game of their two-game series from the capital of Puerto Rico.
Playing at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan in a short series from the Caribbean, one of the island’s top baseball stars took center stage and stepped up in a big moment, giving Kluber some much needed and deserved support while bringing the packed house of 19,516 to an uproar, complete with curtain call.
The Cleveland Indians racked up a season-high ten hits and Carlos Carrasco allowed just one run on three hits in a complete game gem over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night, 5-1.
Carrasco finally looked to be locked in on the mound after claiming wins in a pair of rough outings to start his 2018 season. Backed by a rare offensive outburst from the starting nine, the Indians (7-5) won their fourth straight game and secured their 14th consecutive series win over an American League Central rival.
The Cleveland Indians used a well-rounded attack on Monday night to continue an impressive run of dominance over the Los Angeles Angels with a six-hit 6-0 shutout in Anaheim.
The Indians (2-2) moved back to the .500 mark with a game that featured strong pitching, timely hitting, clutch base running, the long ball, and a little bit of the unexpected, ending the Angels’ (3-2) modest winning streak at three games. They extended their winning streak against the Angels to 12 straight, dating back to June 12, 2016.
A pitching matchup that was highlighted by ties to the opposing club, it was former Angels draft pick Mike Clevinger who shined brightest in his first start of the season against former Indians farmhand J.C. Ramirez. “Sunshine” was backed by six runs of offense from his Tribe teammates as the club coasted to an easy win at Angel Stadium.
In a game that featured a pair of the top arms in the American League in Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco and Mariners left-hander James Paxton, it was offense that would prove to be the story of the day. Neither pitcher would last six innings and both would be tagged for all of the runs scored on the afternoon.
A streak of wildness from Seattle closer Edwin Diaz gave Cleveland a chance in the ninth inning, but the rally fell short for the Indians as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Mariners in game one of the 2018 regular season.
Baseball is officially under way and fans at Safeco Field and around the country were treated to a well-pitched game between former Cy Young winners Corey Kluber and Felix Hernandez that was one of the lowest scoring games of the day. One first inning swing by the Mariners would turn out to be the difference, but the Indians fought to the final out in an attempt to claim an Opening Day win.
Live from Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington, the Mariners will host the Cleveland Indians in the nightcap of Opening Day activity around the country as the 2018 Major League Baseball regular season schedule kicks off.
For the Indians (102-60 in 2017), they enter the year as the favorites in a depleted and rebuilding American League Central Division, but the underdogs in the race to the AL pennant. Their effort a season ago was one of the best in 117 years of junior circuit action for the Cleveland ball club, but despite the successful season, their postseason dreams were quickly squandered in a five-game American League Division Series loss to the New York Yankees. They will come in with a handful of new faces (and one old face) as another face, that of Chief Wahoo, begins his final year adorned on the team’s jerseys. It will also be the beginning of a new era for the Tribe as they play their first games without mainstays Carlos Santana and Bryan Shaw on the roster, but the team is hoping that several players and other new additions can step up to fill their respective voids.
Last year, veteran first baseman Yonder Alonso changed his swing and had a career year. At the age of 30, he shattered his career high home run total and had his best RBI season of his eight-year and four-team career. The Indians are hoping their biggest free agent signing of the winter has more from where last season came from.
Alonso’s 28 homers were 21 better than his previous career high, set in 2012. That was his first full Major League season, when he finished sixth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting while playing for the San Diego Padres (in his third season in the Majors after a pair of years with the Cincinnati Reds). His 67 RBI were not quite as impressive last season but still five better than his previous water-shed mark, also set as a rookie. Of course, he did play his first 100 games of 2017 with the Oakland Athletics, where there simply was not a lot of offensive players getting on base for him to drive in.
That will be different in Cleveland.
The first weekend of Cactus League play is in the books and the Cleveland Indians had, as expected, some good and some bad to show for it. After opening the spring training calendar with a home loss to the Cincinnati Reds, 6-4, on Friday from their shared complex at Goodyear Ballpark in Arizona, the Tribe notched its first win of the exhibition season with an 11-2 win on Saturday from Salt River Fields at Talking Stick against the Arizona Diamondbacks. They returned home to Goodyear, this time playing as the visitors on Sunday, playing to a 2-2 tie against a split-squad Reds team.
Now, a look at how some of the temporary residents of Arizona fared in their first weekend back out in the sun…