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.
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.
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.
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.
A battle between two of the top offenses in the American League was won by the Detroit Tigers Friday night, as they defeated the Cleveland Indians in the first of 19 meetings between the two clubs on the season, 10-4.
Detroit erupted for 15 hits and plated ten runs on the night, due in part to a shaky start by Cleveland starting pitcher Corey Kluber. The Tigers entered the game leading all of baseball in batting average and on-base percentage and had two of the top six hitters in the AL.
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.
In a game that early on looked to mirror last night with a pitching dual, both offenses came alive to quickly change the style of the game, with home runs for the Indians and a certain hit that was just short for the Athletics. The Indians were able to pull out a 4-3 victory in a very controversial game.
A.J. Griffin gave the Indians a chance to take the lead early in the bottom of the third inning when he gave up a one out single to Drew Stubbs. Michael Brantley was able to move him up to second on a fielders choice. During the next at bat he advanced to third on a wild pitch. Jason Kipnis was able to work the count full until he struck out swinging on a pitch drifting out of the zone for strike three to leave him stranded.
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, …
It seems like with each win, the Cleveland Indians have a new hero to celebrate.
Saturday’s win went to Scott Kazmir. He won his first game of the season and his first start since September 19th, 2010, with six impressive innings on the afternoon. After working out of a jam in the second inning, he faced just one over the minimum the rest of his day, allowing two hits and a run. He struck out four straight batters at one point and struck out seven on the day. He was able to settle in because his offense continued to do something it had struggled to do earlier in the season – consistently get runners on base and drive them in.
During the Indians’ winning streak, a new hero has emerged almost every night.
Scott Kazmir won his first start since September 19th, 2010 with six strong innings and the Indians offense continued to slug away, as Cleveland defeated the Minnesota Twins, 7-3.
The Indians have now won six straight games and have moved above the .500 mark at 14-13 on the season. They improved to 6-6 at home. It marks the longest winning streak for Cleveland since winning seven straight from April 26th to May 3rd, 2011. They have now scored six runs or more in six straight games, the first time the team has accomplished this feat since September 18th to 24th, 2005 (when the team won seven straight).
They have scored 53 runs now in their current six game winning streak.
What a difference a year can make.
A year ago Corey Kluber made his first big league start, allowing six runs in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium against the Royals. This year, making his first start of the season Kluber gave the Indians a much needed split of their Sunday doubleheader. His pitching, plus the offensive production of Mike Aviles, gave the Indians a 10-3 victory.
The Indians were able to jump on top right away due to a Kansas City miscue. Michael Brantley led off the game with a single to center field. Once Asdrubal Cabrera struck out, Nick Swisher grounded to third baseman Mike Moustakas. However, Moustakas’ throw was wide of the second base bag and what could have been an inning-ending double play instead put runners on first and second with just one out.