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Sox Silence Tribe Bats to Spoil Strong Tomlin Start; White Sox 3, Indians 0... September 25, 2016 | Bob Toth
Maybe all is not lost for the Cleveland Indians starting rotation after all.
It sure seemed bleak eight days ago when No. 2 starter Carlos Carrasco was struck by a line drive and pronounced out for the season with a broken bone in his pitching hand. That came eight days after No. 3 man in the starting five and 2016 All-Star, Danny Salazar, left a game early with tightness in his right forearm. He was not deemed a total loss for the year, but if he can get back for any of Cleveland’s possible postseason appearance, it would likely be as a reliever rather than in his starting role.
Even with ace Corey Kluber pitching well enough to be in the conversation for his second career Cy Young Award, the state of the Tribe’s pitching staff sure seemed dire one week ago.
Cleveland wasted several early opportunities and the use of the bullpen for nine innings proved to be detrimental as the Chicago White Sox spoiled Fan Appreciation Night by dealing the Indians an 8-1 loss on Saturday.
After seeing the Detroit Tigers lose in a dramatic five-run ninth inning comeback by the Kansas City Royals earlier in the afternoon, the Indians could not reduce their magic number to one later in the day, failing in a feast-or-famine kind of a game from the pitching staff and the offense.
Chicago took a 2-0 lead against the first reliever of the night, Cody Anderson, before Cleveland had a chance to come to the plate. Tim Anderson singled to start the game, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a double to right by Melky Cabrera. Jose Abreu made it two runs with a single to right before he was thrown out trying to advance.
Prior to their game on Saturday night, the Cleveland Indians got a little help from a divisional foe as the Kansas City Royals rallied for five runs with two outs in the top of the ninth to pull off an unlikely come-from-behind victory in Detroit over the Tigers, winning 7-4.
The loss by the Tigers drops the magic number for the Indians to clinch the American League Central Division to just two games. It also keeps alive the possibility that the Indians can clinch the crown on Sunday prior to hitting the road for the final seven games of the regular season schedule.
After taking the series opener against Chicago on Friday night against right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, the Cleveland Indians will face a pair of White Sox left-handers, Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodon, in the final two games of their series and homestand before hitting the road to wrap up the 2016 regular season schedule.
Once upon a time, the sight of a left-handed pitcher on the mound for the opposition would have felt like a death sentence, a near guaranteed loss, for the Indians. As recent history would have it, those feelings were justified as the Indians had not played very good baseball against lefty starting pitching. Those woes have led to an increasingly louder and louder cry for the elusive “right-handed power bat” in recent years, something the Indians found in the affordable offseason signing of the right-handed hitting Mike Napoli.
Quietly, those losing ways against lefties have very much become a concern of the past as the Indians have been one of the best teams in baseball against southpaw pitchers in 2016.
Jason Giambi sends a pinch-hit, two-run, walk-off home run into the visitor’s bullpen in right in the bottom of the ninth as the Cleveland Indians come back to win a 5-4 final over the Chicago White Sox. It was, as announcer Tom Hamilton proclaimed, “Mardi Gras, in September, in Cleveland.”
Ten runs in the middle innings, including a pair of four-run frames, helped power the Cleveland Indians past the Chicago White Sox, 10-4, on Friday night.
With the season rapidly winding down, the Indians inched another game closer to making their postseason dreams a reality with Trevor Bauer on the mound. The White Sox would get to Bauer twice with a pair of quick blasts to do some damage, but the right-hander was able to protect his big lead and pitched deep into the night.
It didn’t start out pretty for the Tribe and Bauer, who fell behind 2-0 three batters into the game. After a flyout for the first out, Tim Anderson tripled past Lonnie Chisenhall in right and came around to score on a two-run shot to right-center by Melky Cabrera to put the White Sox on top.
Their magic number is four. Their AL Central lead is a healthy seven games. There are just ten games left in the regular season.
Despite some tough luck on the injury front, things have gone rather nicely this season for the Cleveland Indians (89-63), who set their targets on a home field celebration this weekend. With three dates remaining from Friday to Sunday against the Chicago White Sox, the Indians could reduce their magic number to clinch down to one game with a sweep. The club could conceivably clinch on Saturday or Sunday, depending on how much the Kansas City Royals provide help in knocking the Detroit Tigers out of the divisional race in their weekend set.
The White Sox (72-80) stand in the Indians’ way this weekend, try to pull themselves back closer to the .500 mark. They are coming off of a series win the last time the two clubs met in Chicago, when they took three of four from the Tribe on their two-city road trip. The White Sox are coming off of an off day after dropping two to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The injury suffered by Carlos Carrasco last weekend left the Cleveland Indians starting rotation down a man. To help buffer the loss some, the team purchased the contract of minor league starter Adam Plutko from Triple-A Columbus, well after the season ended for the Clippers.
The belated move was the icing on the cake for the 24-year-old right-hander out of Upland, California, and the Indians’ eleventh round pick out of UCLA in 2013. He had just wrapped up his third season in the Indians’ farm system, finishing his year with a combined 9-8 record in 28 starts with a 3.73 ERA for the season.
In front of 40,250 fans at Jacobs Field, the Cleveland Indians defeat the Oakland Athletics, 6-2, to clinch their first American League Central Division championship since 2001 and their seventh such division crown overall.