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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | October 20, 2020

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Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 6

Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 6

| On 18, Jul 2020

We are officially less than one week away from the return of Major League Baseball in Cleveland, as the Indians are set to host the Kansas City Royals in game one of 60 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season on July 24. Follow along as Did The Tribe Win Last Night counts down the days to Opening Day. – BT

Countdown to Opening Day – 6 days

Mike Freeman went from minor league spring training invitee to a steady and versatile contributor to manager Terry Francona’s lineup in 2019.

The 38th player to wear the number six in Indians history, Freeman was one of the earliest offseason additions by the Indians a season ago in a quiet move that most paid little mind to. He came to camp with a chance to claim a utility spot on the roster with Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor both starting the season on the injured list, but the Indians opted for rookie Eric Stamets and offseason trade acquisition Max Moroff.

Freeman fulfilled his contractual obligations and headed to Triple-A Columbus. Over the first two weeks of the minor league slate, the journeyman with three partial seasons of play in the Majors provided some intriguing numbers. Three of his five hits to open the year were solo homers, and despite a .208 average at the plate, he provided the Clippers with a .424 on-base percentage with nine walks in 33 plate appearances. In mid-April in a flurry of middle infield roster moves (including the demotion of Stamets and the designation of Brad Miller for assignment), Freeman’s contract was selected from Columbus. He made that his final stay in the state capital for the season.

Freeman & Mercado – Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

In his first two weeks with the Indians, he did all that he was asked to do. He pinch-hit, he served as a late inning defensive replacement, and he filled in at three different spots in the infield. Playing time was intermittent in May, as he played a couple of times a week, but he added pinch-runner and left fielder to his job tasks. He did not do too much with the stick, recording seven hits in the month (five singles and two doubles), but he supplemented the efforts with seven walks to finish the month with a .429 OBP.

Freeman got more aggressive at the plate in June as he saw more consistent playing time in the middle of the month. He recorded his first two homers of the season, but drew just one walk in 30 plate appearances. He wrapped up the month on the mound, working two innings of mop-up relief in the team’s 13-0 loss in Baltimore.

After a so-so July, Freeman was good at the plate again in August. In eleven games, he recorded nine hits, scored seven times, and drove in five runs, hitting .360 with a .414 OBP in that stretch of play. As injuries began piling up for the club down the stretch, Freeman saw his largest chunk of playing time in September, making 15 starts and five trips in off of the bench. He hit .273 with a .359 OBP.

The 32-year-old, who had played 57 games from 2016-2018 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Chicago Cubs, surpassed that entire total with the Tribe in 2019, playing in 75 total games while posting a .277/.362/.390 slash at the plate with eight doubles, four homers, and 24 RBI.

Freeman was designated for assignment in December after the Indians signed Cesar Hernandez and he was outrighted to Columbus. Back in camp as a non-roster invitee this spring, he had hit .286 with six hits in eight spring games before the pandemic shutdown. With the news that utility man Jake Elmore, signed earlier in the month, had been reassigned from the Indians’ summer camp on Saturday, one player in Freeman’s way is now out of the picture. His chief competition remains Christian Arroyo, acquired last year from Tampa Bay, and Yu Chang, who has put on a home run hitting display in intrasquad work at Progressive Field. Expanded rosters may help Freeman’s chances, but the considerably crowded outfield mix may hurt him. It could all come down to how Francona wants to balance out his bench between the infield, the outfield, and those with more experience in the bizarre situation that the 2020 season is going to be.

Other notable 6s in Tribe history (38 in total): Lew Fonseca (the first in 1929), Johnny Hodapp (1930), Joe Vosmik (1931-36), Ray Mack (1939-43), Bob Lemon (1946), Ken Keltner (1947-49), Minnie Minoso (1951), Larry Doby (1953), Rocky Colavito (1958-59), Harvey Kuenn (1960), Joe Azcue (1963-69), Jim Thome (1991), Lou Marson (2011-13), Brandon Guyer (2016-18).

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)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 11 (Jose Ramirez)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 10 (Jake Bauers)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 9 (Carlos Baerga)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 8 (Jordan Luplow)
Countdown to Indians’ 2020 Opening Day – 7 (Eric Stamets, Ryan Flaherty, others)

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