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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | August 10, 2020

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Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 11

Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 11

| On 13, Jul 2020

Did The Tribe Win Last Night is now back on track with a new day in the countdown to Opening Day. Follow along as we count down the days until the Indians kick off play in the pandemic-shortened 2020 schedule on July 24. – BT

Countdown to Opening Day – 11 days

Just as Jose Ramirez found his missing hitting stroke last year, cruel fate intervened.

An All-Star and Silver Slugger in 2017 and 2018 and a third place finisher in the league’s MVP race both seasons, Ramirez lost his groove at the plate in the second half of 2018 and inexplicably carried the slump into the early stages of 2019. He hit .181 in March/April, .245 in May, and .216 in June with little to show in the power department. Had it not been for relatively high walk rates, his contributions to the lineup as a whole may have been minimal.

While much of the production over the first three months of the season was discouraging, there were some signs that things were about to change. In the third month of the season, Ramirez had just four singles in his first 39 plate appearances (.111 average), but starting with the club’s mid-June road trip in Detroit and Texas, Ramirez put together two hitting streaks of six and five games respectively (hitting .319 in that 12-game stretch). He hit in four of five to open July (after being activated from the paternity list) before baseball took pause to celebrate its All-Stars at Progressive Field, where Ramirez was unable to represent the hometown Tribe due to the decreased production that he had provided. His .218/.308/.344 slash in the first half with 15 doubles, two triples, seven homers, 35 RBI, and 18 stolen bases in 21 attempts over 85 games was easily the culprit, and that is even considering that those paltry numbers were boosted by that late push over the final three weeks before the break.

Ramirez – Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire

Ramirez had been heating up at the break, but the extra days off did not hurt him as he kept the fire burning. He turned a three-game hitting streak to close out the first half into an 11-game stretch of success, batting .348 as the Indians opened the second half at home. The pop was back in his bat as was run production, as he hit five doubles and four homers while driving in 14 over 48 positive plate appearances. Later in the month, he had another five-game hitting streak, using four straight multi-hit efforts to start that stretch. Incredibly, he homered in each of the final four games of that streak, driving in eight runs to push his season average back up to .245.

He remained hot to open August as summer heated up and the Indians were in need of all the help that they could get in their pursuits of the Minnesota Twins. Ramirez hit in eight straight early in the month and drove in six runs in a two-homer day in Cleveland’s 19-5 win over New York on August 15.

An unfortunate turn of events changed everything for Ramirez (and in many ways for the Tribe) on Saturday, August 24, in his first inning at bat at Progressive Field against Kansas City’s Glenn Sparkman. Swinging left-handed on some high heat out of the zone, Ramirez took a walk away from the plate flexing his right hand and adjusting his batting glove. The trainer and manager Terry Francona met Ramirez at the plate and pulled him from the game, later to find that he had suffered a fractured hamate bone in his hand.

Ramirez opted for surgery on Monday, August 26, but the time table for a return even by the playoffs was grim. Typical conservative estimates for the procedure included six weeks casted, followed by four to six weeks of physical therapy. Ramirez had the broken hooked bone removed, which allowed him to start the therapy process right away, but it should have still had him sidelined for a month and a half to two months.

Improbably, the little goat was on Francona’s lineup card hitting sixth one month to the day of the injury. The Indians were rapidly running out of time in the divisional race, sitting four games in back of Minnesota in the American League Central while trailing Tampa Bay by a half-game for the second Wild Card spot. In something almost too fairy tale to script, Ramirez stepped to the plate in the first inning after the Indians put on three straight men after two were out to load the bases. Working the count to 3-1, Ramirez yanked Carson Fulmer’s fifth offering down the right field line and over the wall for a grand slam, putting the Tribe up a four-spot. As if that wasn’t enough to make the day memorable, Ramirez stepped up right-handed with two on in the third against Hector Santiago and jumped his first pitch, parking the souvenir over the left field wall for a three-run shot, giving him seven RBI in just two ABs. He struck out in his final at bat in the fourth before being lifted for a defensive replacement.

Ramirez & Santana – Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire

Ramirez homered again the next day with what marked his final hit of the season. He went 0-for-3 in the series finale with Chicago on September 26 and was held out of the lineup the rest of the way as the Indians, already guaranteed a second-place finish to Minnesota in the Central, were eliminated from postseason consideration via Wild Card berth on September 27.

Ramirez played in 44 games in the second half, hitting .327 with a .365 on-base percentage and .739 slugging percentage with 18 doubles, one triple, 16 homers, and 48 RBI. He ended the campaign with a .255/.327/.479 slash with 33 doubles, three triples, 23 homers, and 83 RBI in what looked for three months to be a lost year.

The Indians have the 27-year-old locked up through at least the 2021 season on the team-friendly five-year, $26 million contract that he signed at the end of spring training in 2017. The team holds option years for 2022 ($11 million) and 2023 ($13 million) with a $2 million buyout.

Ramirez looked healthy and back to form in the Cactus League earlier this year – in nine games, he had two doubles and two homers and was hitting .320 with seven RBI. The Indians will be counting on that kind of production from Ramirez as he looks to show his second half revival was no fluke and that he is back to being the kind of dangerous weapon perfectly suited for the Tribe’s lineup. Any sort of prolonged slump, as seen in each of his last two seasons, could prove nightmarish to any postseason dreams for the Indians in the unusual, pandemic-shortened slate of games this year.

Other notable 11s in Tribe history (43 in total): Grover Hartley (the first in 1929), Charlie Jamieson (1930), Frankie Pytlak (1932-36), Ben Chapman (1939-40), Frankie Hayes (1945-46), Art Houtteman (1953-57), John Romano (1960-62), Ted Uhlaender (1971), Dave Duncan (1973-74), Toby Harrah (1979-83), Doug Jones (1988-91), Paul Sorrento (1992-95), Matt Lawton (2002-04), Drew Stubbs (2013)

Photo: Ron Schwane/Getty Images

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Miss out on our other Countdown pieces? Check out more Indians history below!

Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 99 (Daniel Robertson)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 90 (Adam Cimber)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 88 (Phil Maton)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 77 (Jack Armstrong)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 76 (Tom Magrann)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 75 (Mike Walker)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 73 (Ricardo Rincon)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 72 (Jason Giambi)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 71 (Johnny Hodapp)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 70 (James Karinchak, George Kontos)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 69 (Luis Medina)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 68 (Jefry Rodriguez, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 67 (Aaron Civale, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 66 (Yasiel Puig, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 65 (Zach Plesac, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 64 (Tom Kramer, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 63 (Josh Smith, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 62 (Nick Wittgren, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 61 (Dan Otero, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 60 (Jhonny Peralta, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 59 (Carlos Carrasco)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 58 (Neil Ramirez, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 57 (Shane Bieber)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 56 (Cody Anderson)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 55 (Roberto Perez)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 54 (Hunter Wood)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 53 (Logan Allen)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 52 (Mike Clevinger)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 51 (numerous)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 50 (James Hoyt, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 49 (Tyler Olson, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 48 (Emmanuel Clase, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 47 (Trevor Bauer)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 46 (Jon Edwards, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 45 (Adam Plutko)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 44 (Nick Goody, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 43 (Josh Tomlin, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 42 (Mike Jackson, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 41 (Carlos Santana, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 40 (Bobby Bradley, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 39 (Oliver Perez, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 38 (Eric Haase, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 37 (Cody Allen, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 36 (Tyler Clippard, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 35 (Oscar Mercado, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 34 (A.J. Cole, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 33 (Brad Hand, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 32 (Franmil Reyes, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 31 (Danny Salazar, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 30 (Tyler Naquin, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 29 (Andre Thornton)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 28 (Corey Kluber)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 27 (Kevin Plawecki, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 26 (Max Moroff, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 25 (Jim Thome)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 24 (Carlos Gonzalez, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 23 (Michael Brantley, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 22 (Jason Kipnis)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 21 (Bob Lemon, Rocky Colavito, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 20 (Frank Robinson, others)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 19 (Bob Feller)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 18 (Mel Harder)
Indians’ 2020 Opening Day Countdown Take Two – 17 (Brad Miller, others)
Indians’ 2020 Opening Day Countdown Take Two – 16 (Mike Sarbaugh, others)
Indians’ 2020 Opening Day Countdown Take Two – 15 (Sandy Alomar, Jr.)
Indians’ 2020 Opening Day Countdown Take Two – 14 (Larry Doby)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 13 (Hanley Ramirez, Omar Vizquel)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 12 (Francisco Lindor, Roberto Alomar)

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