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.
Terry Francona returns to another city he once called home as his Cleveland Indians head to Fenway Park to take on the Boston Red Sox.
The first-place Indians (26-19) lost their first series, during the week to the Tigers, since the last time they met up with the Red Sox. They maintain a one-half game lead over Detroit in the American League Central. They are 15-6 in the month of May.
The Red Sox (28-19) fell on some hard times after their previous meeting with the Indians. After finishing the month of April at 18-8, they are a game under in the month of May at 10-11. They have lost four series this month – in Texas, versus Minnesota and Toronto at home, and in Chicago against the White Sox in their last series. After charging out of the gate in first place in the AL East, they have fallen as far as three games back and are currently in second place, one-half game back of the New York Yankees.
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 Indians bats were dominated by Detroit pitcher Max Scherzer (6-0) on Tuesday night, as the Tribe breaks their five game winning streak by dropping their contest with the Tigers by a score of 5-1.
The Indians came into the game as the hottest team in baseball, going 18-4 since April 28 while averaging 5.9 runs per game with a .286 team batting average. Scherzer put a hold on the Tribe’s hot bats and all of those numbers for the evening.
The Detroit right hander was outstanding after allowing an early run in the first inning. He set down 22 straight Indians from the first inning through the eighth, using pinpoint control and a mid-90’s fastball. For the game, Scherzer pitched eight innings allowing one run on two hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.
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.
Sunday’s game against the Seattle Mariners had the Indians once again proving that Cy Young winners do nothing to intimidate their team. Following their 6-0 win, the Indians have now beat seven out of the eight Cy Young pitchers they have faced since the beginning of the season.
The Indians strong offense at the game’s beginning, coupled with Masterson’s strong outing which brought him to a straight 19 scoreless innings, brought the Tribe to 3-0 in the series against the Mariners and defeated their ace, Felix Hernandez.
Since returning from his finger injury Indians center fielder Michael Bourn has a .365 on-base percentage and two stolen bases in five games. On the season Bourn is hitting .286/.348/.476 in 15 games. He currently has only three steals but that will change, fans can count on him to rack up at least 30 more stolen bases by seasons end. He was on a roll, batting .333 on the season before getting hurt on a slide into first base on April 14th. He had a hit in eight of the Indians ten games and kick started the Indians offense at the top of the order.
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.
Eyes will be on the Motor City this weekend for a key American League Central matchup between the Tigers of Detroit and the Indians of Cleveland. The series will pair up the number one and two run differential teams in the AL.
The Indians (18-14) have quietly become baseball’s hottest team. After ending their six-game winning streak on Sunday, they immediately ripped off a four-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics, by no means an easy task. Respect is starting to slowly pour in nationally, as Cleveland jumped ten spots in Sports Illustrated’s MLB Power Rankings to third, the largest move of the week for any of the 30 teams in the league. Leading all of baseball in slugging percentage (.475) and home runs (49) certainly has not hurt their cause.
After winning five straight and nine of ten, the Tigers (19-13) lost a pair of close games to the Washington Nationals after weather claimed the opener of the series. They enter play against the Indians this weekend with the league’s best team batting average and on-base percentage and have two of the league’s top six hitters in Miguel Cabrera and Torii Hunter. They have the best team ERA amongst starting pitchers in the AL at 3.17.
The 2013 Indians are already achieving more than the 2009-2012 teams combined.
In terms of overall enjoyment, this year’s squad has a type of flair that has been missing since 2007.
While the team is just two games over .500, …
Major League Baseball’s top scoring team brings its offensive show on the road to Cleveland, as the Oakland Athletics take on the upstart Indians in a four-game series this week.
The A’s (18-14) have cooled off after starting the season 12-4. While Oakland has dominated their AL West rivals, winning 13 of 16 matchups so far, they have struggled against the rest of the league. Their offense has remained productive throughout, as the team continues to be among the American League leaders this season in runs, walks, and runs batted in. They enter their series with Cleveland leading the MLB in runs scored with 171 through their first 32 games.
The Indians (14-14) saw their six-game winning streak end Sunday at the expense of Mike Pelfrey. During their winning streak, they outscored the opposition, 53-14, and had two shutouts. They were able to earn a split against Kansas City and to claim both series against Philadelphia and Minnesota during the week.
In the grand scope of human existence, we are sometimes reminded in the most horrifying and reprehensible ways that there are more important things than sports. The tragic and deplorable events that transpired Monday afternoon in Boston are a prime example. We turn to baseball now to provide temporary relief and distraction from the grim reminder that the world in which we live can be oftentimes too short and too violent.
With heavy hearts, the Boston Red Sox are in Cleveland for a three-game midweek matchup. The series will mark the first time that they will oppose the manager who helped end their 86-year World Series championship drought, Terry Francona.
Cleveland enjoyed its first scheduled day off of the season on Monday, and the timing could not have been better, as the team has fought injuries to several key contributors on offense. Boston will become the fourth American League East team they have played in the season’s first five series.