Posts By Bob Toth
If, at the beginning of the season, someone would have told me Ubaldo Jimenez would be on the mound for the Cleveland Indians at the end of September with an American League Wild Card spot on the line, I would have cringed at the thought.
It is amazing how six months can completely change your mind.
For three perfect innings, Cleveland Indians’ fans were left scratching their heads asking, when did Cole De Vries become a future Hall of Famer?
After the first eleven batters were retired in order, including five on strikeouts, a Jason Kipnis single up the middle and a monster home run to right by Carlos Santana woke the sleeping offense, as the Indians went on to win by a 5-1 final over the Minnesota Twins on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
The win pushed the Indians’ season record to 91-70 and put them in the driver’s seat in the American League Wild Card race with one final game remaining. They are 20-6 in the month of September.
With the 53rd and final series preview of the 2013 regular season, the Cleveland Indians have a magic number of four to clinch an American League Wild Card spot with four games remaining.
The Indians (88-70) swept their entire homestand, winning the games that they must win to stay in playoff contention. With two more wins against Chicago, they improved to 17-2 on the season against the White Sox, including 14 straight wins. The win total for the season equaled the most wins by a team against any one opponent in the division era.
The Twins (66-92) will be the last obstacle standing in the way of Cleveland’s postseason chances. Luckily for the Indians, they catch the Twins at a particularly rough patch in an overall disappointing season. In the last 15 games, the Twins are 3-12. They have struggled to score runs (2.6 per game in that stretch) and have not limited the opposition from crossing the plate (team ERA of 6.60).
April 21, 1948
The last few months have been eventful for long-time big leaguer Hank Greenberg.
The Cleveland Indians spent the majority of the spring trying to determine what capacity Hammering Hank would serve with the ball club. He entered Spring Training as a potential candidate to fill one of the vacancies on the roster. As the spring progressed, the need for him to play the field appeared to be less and less the focus of the team.
With a new title and a new emphasis on working at the higher levels of the organization, has the playing career of the legendary Greenberg come to an end?
Cleveland picked a good month to play some better baseball. They are in full control of their playoff future, thanks to posting the third-best record in all of baseball in the month of September.
The Indians (86-70) completed their sixth four-game sweep of the season on Sunday, becoming the first team since the 1961 New York Yankees to accomplish the feat. With a 15-6 record in the month, Cleveland has played itself into the second American League Wild Card spot. They trail the Wild Card-leading Tampa Bay Rays by a game and are a game up on the Texas Rangers. While it may be too little, too late, they have gained four games on the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central this month as well.
The White Sox (62-94) will be the last team to come to Progressive Field for the 2013 regular season and may be glad to leave Cleveland for the year when the series ends on Wednesday night. They have won just two of the first 17 contests against the Indians this season and were victimized three different times by four-game sweeps. They have been outscored 106-51 by the Tribe this year and have the third-worst record in all of baseball.
Meaningful September baseball this season sure beats what fans of the Cleveland Indians had to digest in the final stretch of the 2012 campaign.
While many of the pieces have changed from the squad that finished 2012 at 68-94, 20 games out of first place and in fourth place in the American League Central, the dramatic turnaround has given the city of Cleveland its first team with a winning record since the 2009-2010 Cavaliers and its first on the baseball field since 2007.
After a 5-2 road trip through Chicago and Kansas City, the Cleveland Indians return home for their final homestand of the season, beginning Thursday with a four-game set with the Houston Astros.
This week, the Astros (51-101) successfully completed their third consecutive 100-loss season when they were swept at home by the Cincinnati Reds. They will play their first series in Cleveland this weekend since joining the American League West. They will finish out their season with three games in Texas against the Rangers and in the Big Apple with three against the New York Yankees.
The Indians (82-70) remain a half game in back of the American League Wild Card race after dropping two of three to the Kansas City Royals during the week. Cleveland will play ten more games on the season – all against teams with records below the .500 mark. They will finish up their home schedule with two more games against Chicago before moving on to Minnesota for four to end the season against the Twins.
Three early runs off of Danny Salazar were all the runs that Kansas City would need, as the Royals defeated the Cleveland Indians by a 7-2 final from Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Indians found themselves in an early …
If you are a Cleveland sports fan and you are not following the Cleveland Indians at this point, shame on you.
With their four-game weekend sweep over the Chicago White Sox, the Indians (81-68) pulled within one-half game of the top spot in the American League Wild Card hunt. They have taken care of their own business, improving to 10-4 in September. They have also received some major help from the slumping Texas Rangers, losers of six straight and eleven of 13 in the month.
The Royals (78-71) are still hanging on in the Wild Card race, but are on the outside looking in. After dropping two of three in Detroit over the weekend, they have fallen to three and a half games in back of Texas and Tampa Bay at the top of the pack. They continue a difficult stretch of baseball this week, with three games against Cleveland and three against Texas over the weekend before finishing the season on the road in Seattle and Chicago.
That host, Ben Maller, accused Indians fans of not recognizing that they had been fleeced in the trade of Sabathia in 2008 to the Milwaukee Brewers and that not a single player acquired by the Tribe had succeeded. Furthermore, in addressing Brantley in particular, he noted that Cleveland had gotten an “average outfielder” for the reigning Cy Young Award winner and finished the tweet with an emphatic #FAIL.
But to accuse Brantley of being a mediocre, average outfielder seemed horribly misguided, both at that time and here now as the regular season approaches its close.
It would be safe to say that most fans of the Indians were less than impressed by the results of the Sabathia trade, especially as the experiment known as Matt LaPorta proved to be less and less fruitful on the field as the years moved by.
A strong but short start from Danny Salazar and the work of seven different relievers helped to make Cleveland’s three runs stand, as the Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox by a 3-1 final on a rare Friday afternoon start.
The Indians bullpen picked up the slack of the abbreviated Salazar start, who was limited by the same strict pitch count that has shortened his outings throughout the second half.
With Friday’s tenth straight win against the White Sox, the Indians move into a tie with the New York Yankees in the pursuit of an American League Wild Card birth. Both Cleveland and New York are one game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second spot, with the Yankees and Rays both playing later in the day on Friday.
Even when the Cleveland Indians have played some bad baseball over the last few weeks, the stars seem to align to allow them to stay right in contention in the American League Wild Card picture.
While the Indians (77-68) dropped two of three to the hard charging Kansas City Royals at the beginning of the week, they somehow lost little ground, as Texas was swept by Pittsburgh, Tampa dropped a pair to Boston, and Baltimore lost two of three to New York.
The White Sox (58-87) are 25.5 games out in the AL Central. Of their division rivals, they have had the biggest problem solving the Indians, as they have dropped eleven of 13 matchups this season with Cleveland, including a 1-5 record at home. They have six total games remaining on the 2013 slate.