A battle for second place in the American League Central will take place at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario Streets this week as the Cleveland Indians welcome the red-hot rival Royals of Kansas City into town for a three-game series.
The Royals (33-34) come into town on a very good streak and trailing the Indians by just one-half game in the division. They have won all four series played entirely in the month of June and have an 11-4 record for the month. They have put together winning streaks of six and three games in the last two weeks.
The Indians (34-34) have now won back-to-back series for the first time since early May, taking series against two high quality opponents, the Texas Rangers and the Washington Nationals. Cleveland owns a 305-290 advantage in matchups with Kansas City all-time, dating back to the Royals’ inception in 1969.
The Indians wake up this morning at 34-34, experiencing a roller coaster ride that would make most Cedar Point goers blush on the journey that they have traveled.
By definition, the Indians are what make a .500 team. They have inconsistent starting pitching, inconsistent offense—and suddenly an inconsistent bullpen. Most .500 teams are inconsistent, some days looking like a contender while other times looking like a team headed for the cellar.
Pitching ruled the day for both clubs as the two teams mustered a combined two runs on five hits and 18 strikeouts through the first seven innings. Some timely hitting mixed in with late inning heroics gave the Tribe a hard fought win and Joe Smith picked up his second victory on the season as the Tribe rises to the occasion to defeat the Washington Nationals 2-1.
The Indians come back to Progressive Field on the heels of winning two straight games against the Texas Rangers. They face off against the Nationals who currently sit in second place in the National League East. The Tribe came into tonight’s game with an 18-12 record at home on the season. They have won 16 of their last 22 home game and the Indians lead all American League teams with 42 home runs at home. Indians ace Justin Masterson (8-5, 3.52) took the hill for Cleveland and the Nationals countered with left hander Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.40).
After a painful road trip against the Yankees, Tigers, and Rangers, the Cleveland Indians return home for their final nine home games of the month of June, beginning with a series against the Washington Nationals on Friday night.
The Nationals (33-32) come to Progressive Field for the first time since 2010. A projected playoff team by many prior to the season, Washington has struggled to stay above the .500 mark throughout the season. They were 13-14 after April, 28-27 after May, and improved to 5-5 in June with a win on Thursday.
The Indians (32-33) said goodbye to a season-worst eight game losing streak that began on the final day of their previous homestand. After being swept by New York and Detroit, they took two of three from a struggling Texas team during the week. The Nationals and Indians have split their six meetings together at three wins a piece and two wins each at home. The all-time advantage for the two franchises tips in the favor of the Nationals, who as the Montreal Expos won two of three games in 2002. For some more information on the histories of the two clubs and their cities, with his usual witty insight, check out this contribution from our own Vince Guerrieri on William World News.
The Indians needed a well-pitched game this afternoon and Justin Masterson provided just that. However, the Tigers received a better one from Jose Alvarez, making his major league debut.
Alvarez was recalled from Triple-A Toledo to make a spot start …
A reeling Cleveland Indians squad continues a tough road trip as they head to Detroit to play three this weekend against the rival Tigers.
The Indians (30-29) have not played well at all since losing a two-game midweek series with the Tigers in late May. Since that sweep, they are 4-12 and have fallen out of first place. They had taken two of three earlier in the season in Detroit.
The Tigers (32-26) have enjoyed home cooking this season. They are 19-10 on the season at Comerica Park, the second-best winning percentage at home of American League teams. They have not been exempt from the struggles affecting the AL Central, as they have dropped six of ten and have failed to capitalize on the Indians slide to increase their distance in the division.
In baseball circles it is said you can get a good feel for what a team will be through 40 games. As the Cleveland Indians have proven the last couple years, there are exceptions to that rule. However, it is a generally a good stretch of games to see if a team will be good, bad or somewhere in between as the summer rolls along.
This season’s Indians are again putting the old theory to the test, though not like they have in years past. Both the 2011 and 2012 Tribe were in contention for a division title beyond the halfway points of each campaign. Both clubs crumbled in the second half with young teams wilting under pressure.
The 2013 squad was built with more veterans to better face the strains of expectations to contend. The 2013 squad, to this point, is in contention. As the season hits game No. 60 tonight, though, the identity and realistic expectations one should have are as unknown as they were on Opening Day.
Cleveland fans expected that going into a nine game road trip, things would be hard.
After the Indians’ first night in the Bronx, their fears were confirmed.
Justin Masterson gave up a season-high seven runs on the way to a 7-4 loss to the New York Yankees (32-25) on Monday night at Yankee Stadium.
Cleveland (30-27) was yet again unable to muster much offense the first time through the lineup, going 2-7 without any runs through the second inning. In the third, Nick Swisher grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring Michael Bourn and giving the Indians the first run of the ballgame.
The Cleveland Indians will wrap up their season series with the New York Yankees as they head to the Big Apple for three games this week, beginning Monday night.
The Indians (30-26) finished their brief five-game homestand against Cincinnati and Tampa Bay at 3-2. After sweeping the home half of a home-and-home series with the Reds, they dropped two of three to the Rays. Even though they have been playing through a tough stretch of games with several difficult losses, they remain just one-half game out of first place in the American League Central.
Since their doubleheader with the Indians on May 13th, the Yankees (31-25) have had difficulties on the field. They have won just two of their seven series since, losing two of three from Seattle, Baltimore, and Boston and being swept in four straight by the New York Mets. Their recent woes have dropped them to third in the AL East, three games behind the front-running Red Sox and a half-game behind the Orioles for second place and the Wild Card lead.
“There’s more to life than making shallow, fairly obvious observations.” –Jerry Seinfeld
The 2013 version of the Cleveland Indians is about as easy to read as the most difficult Shakespearian novel. They’ve taken us fans through peaks and valleys, exciting comebacks and painful blown opportunities. They are exactly who they are…a team that is nearly impossible to predict.
FEAST OR FAMINE
I think we had better all get used to this roller coaster that we are riding.
The Tribe started out the season by taking the first two in Toronto then dropped five of their next six. They seemed to turn it back around a little by taking two from the White Sox, but then proceeded to lose five in a row including getting swept by the Red Sox. Three wins followed and were immediately cancelled out by three more losses. The Tribe then got red hot, by taking 13 of the next 15, but then lost two in a row when the bats went silent. Another five game winning streak was great, but all momentum was lost because of the meltdowns in Boston and against Cincinnati.
When you are in a losing streak, it often seems like nothing can go right. Bounces don’t go your way, pitchers can’t seem to find the zone and overall the losses just pile on. However, all it takes is just one game to break the trend, which is exactly what happened on Wednesday night for the Tribe. They were able to get great pitching and strong hitting on the way to a 5-2 victory, starting a one game-winning streak.
The Indians and Reds resume their cross-state battle with a pair of midweek matchups, as the two clubs head north from Cincinnati to Cleveland to conclude their season series at Progressive Field starting Wednesday.
The Reds (33-19) swept the two-game set at Great American Ball Park and have now won six straight games against the Indians in Cincinnati. The Reds are now one game shy of evening up the all-time series between the two clubs.
Manager Terry Francona will need to rally his team after they lost their third straight series and five straight games overall. The Indians (27-24) fall to 16-11 in the month of May. They have a current seven-game winning streak against the Reds in Cleveland though. In their last meeting at Progressive Field, Justin Masterson went the distance and defeated Bronson Arroyo by an 8-1 final on June 20th, 2012.