Homecoming games are usually easy victories for the home team. However, this homecoming was easy for the visiting team.
The Indians struck early and often and used a six-run sixth inning to pace themselves to a 12-3 victory, taking the first game of a four game series in Boston. The win was the first for Indians manager Terry Francona since his eight year tenure as skipper of the Red Sox ended two years ago. Zach McAllister turned in another solid start, controlling Boston with the exception of one pitch.
The Cleveland Indians started the season with high hopes. They added several key offensive players and looked to have a lineup ready to contend. The biggest question mark going into the year, and the one that changed the least from last season was the pitching; more specifically the starting pitching. With Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson coming off the worst seasons of their careers, a rookie pitcher that had ups and downs in Zach McAllister, a newly added starter turned reliever turned starter Brett Myers, and a plethora of young uncertain arms to fill the five hole, the rotation looked like a potential mess.
Through 44 games the Indians rotation has been okay. Masterson and McAllister have had strong starts, Jimenez was shaky, and then seemed to string a few good starts together, and Bauer has shown control issues but pitched well. The pitchers deserve a lot of credit for what they have done so far, but the defense behind them deserves some too.
The attention of the baseball world returns to the corner of Carnegie and Ontario in downtown Cleveland as the blazing hot Indians welcome the Detroit Tigers in for a short two-game set this week.
The Tigers (23-19) come to Cleveland a week and a half after dropping two of three against the Indians at Comerica Park. They relinquished their longest lead in the American League Central over the weekend to the Indians after losing their series against the Texas Rangers. They are 10-12 on the road this season and have a 17-18 record against all teams not named the Houston Astros.
The Indians (26-17) pushed their lead in the AL Central to two and a half games after sweeping the Seattle Mariners in a four-game series over the weekend. They have not lost a series since a sweep by Boston from April 16th to 18th. They have now won 18 of their last 22 games (since game two of the doubleheader in Kansas City) and are 21-8 since that sweep by Boston.
The Indians are in first place in May. We’ve heard this before.
This afternoon the Indians go for a four game sweep of the Seattle Mariners and their fifth straight win. Heading in to the game, the Indians have a two game lead on the Detroit Tigers, whose starting pitching is starting to become a question mark of their own. Instead, the Indians seem to be hitting on all cylinders as they are winners of 17 of their last 21 games. While Detroit seems to be stalling at the quarter mark, the Tribe seems to be hitting the gas and starting to speed ahead.
Walk-off victories are kind of becoming a thing again at Progressive Field.
Saturday afternoon the Tribe squandered an early 4-0 lead and strong pitching performance from Zach McAllister to blow the lead in the top of the ninth and walk off with another bottom of the ninth inning victory, winning 5-4. It was the second victory in as many days in the Tribe’s final at bat.
The Seattle Mariners continue their cross-country tour with their lone stop to the shores of Lake Erie this weekend as they take on the Cleveland Indians in a four-game set.
The Mariners (20-21) pulled into second place in the American League West after a series win over the New York Yankees. They have won or split each of their last six series (five wins, one split). They still trail the division-leading Texas Rangers by seven games.
The Indians (22-17) got a much needed day off on Thursday, their last of the month, but were still able to move back into a first place tie in the AL Central, courtesy of a Detroit loss to Texas. During a 14-games-in-13-days span, the Indians were 10-4. They now begin a stretch of 20 straight games before their next day off.
After a couple games in a row where the Indians pitching staff has pitched well with no help from the offense, the bats finally woke up one Wednesday. The Indians were able to win the game 10-4 with the help of three home runs, a solo shot from Mike Aviles, a two run home run from Nick Swisher and a three run blast to extend the lead off the bat of Jason Kipnis. The pitching was also strong to keep the Phillies bats in check with Corey Kluber going six innings, giving up six hits, three runs but no walks and striking out five.
The first and second innings were quiet from both teams, as no runs were scored despite the Tribe getting Ryan Raburn and Mike Aviles on base with two outs. Kluber flied out on a very strong at bat for a pitcher, making Cole Hamels throw eight pitches.
No brooms were needed at Progressive Field after 18 innings on Monday afternoon.
Despite a 1-0 win in the first game, the Tribe could not muster any offense in the second game and New York took the second game 7-0. Trevor Bauer battled the Yankees into the seventh inning—in what might be his best start with the Tribe—but the bullpen, poor defense and a quiet offense was too much to overcome.
Plenty has changed for the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians since the two teams were rained out of half of their series in early April to open the home season at Progressive Field. They return to Cleveland Monday to squeeze in a traditional doubleheader as their respective division leaders.
The Yankees (23-13) have won five straight games and have sole possession of the AL East by one full game. They came to Cleveland the first time at 2-4 and scuffling. They left town after pummeling the Indians pitching staff for 25 runs in two games before Mother Nature called mercy on the home town crowd.
The Indians (20-15) return home for a one-day layover after taking two of three from the division-leading Detroit Tigers and pulling into a tie for the top spot in the AL Central. They have won four consecutive series after splitting four with the Royals and a pair with the White Sox. The offense has come to life since they scored seven runs against the Yankees in their two defeats to them over a month ago.
The Indians looked to gain a series victory against the Detroit Tigers on Mother’s Day. On the hill for the Tribe was Zach McAllister (3-3, 2.63) who was opposed by Rick Porcello (1-2, 7.52) for the Tigers. It was a game where both teams missed key opportunities at the plate but the Indians were able to put together the late-inning magic to secure an extra inning victory.
The Tigers got the hitting started when Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera ripped back-to-back singles to left with one out in the first. Prince Fielder then hit a sinking line drive that Ryan Raburn managed to scoop off right above his shoe tops for the second out and then McAllister rung up Victor Martinez to end the inning.
The Indians are beyond making a habit of defeating former Cy Young winners. It is officially a trend.
Saturday evening the Indians beat their sixth former Cy Young winner of the season when the took down Justin Verlander and Detroit Tigers by a score of 7-6. The Tribe was able to strike Verlander early and push up his pitch count, limiting him to only a five inning outing. Meanwhile, it was Ubaldo Jimenez who looked more like he was hardware worthy, logging his third consecutive quality start while the Indians’ bullpen survived through the final nine outs.
Over the years, I’ve never been impressed by Mark Reynolds. I saw him put up big power numbers in Arizona, but also huge strikeout totals and a mediocre batting average at best. I figured that Reynolds was just another Rob Deer, Dave Kingman, Carlos Pena or Russell Branyan.
Boy was I wrong.
Reynolds has been far better than advertised and is currently on pace to put up one of the more productive seasons in Cleveland Indians history. Through Thursday’s victory, Reynolds has played in 31 of 32 games, has a .291 batting average, a league leading 11 homeruns, a team high 29 RBI, 22 runs, 14 walks, 32 strikeouts and one stolen base. When these numbers are projected out over a 162 game season, it puts Reynolds in exclusive company.
Reynolds is on pace to play in 157 games while batting .291 with 55 homeruns, 146 RBI, 115 runs, 70 walks, 162 strikeouts and five steals. Obviously, these numbers are just projections and come with absolutely no guarantees, but this is currently the pace that he is on. If he were to keep hitting this way for the entire season, he would match Jim Thome’s 2002 club record for homeruns and would drive in more runs than anybody since Manny Ramirez’s club record 165 back in 1999. He would become the first Indian to drive in 140 runs since Juan Gonzalez back in 2001 as well.