2018: Still Rallying Together
The Indians and Royals will kick off their first of two September series with a three-game set from Progressive Field this week.
The Indians (77-59) dropped two of three in a tough series against the scrappy and young Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend in closely contested games. It marked the Tribe’s first home series loss since July 23-25 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Indians have been one of the better hitting teams in the second half of the season, ranking second in the AL with a .263 batting average and third in on-base percentage at .334 in that span. Cleveland was the only team in August to not record a triple, but the lineup tallied the fewest number of strikeouts of all 30 teams in those 31 days.
The first half of this baseball season was a long, strange journey for veteran left-handed reliever Oliver Perez. The Cleveland Indians could not be any happier that the second half of this campaign has seen him settle in quite nicely to the Tribe’s bullpen.
Perez got caught up in last offseason’s winter freeze as many solid veteran players had trouble finding quality jobs and contracts. The journeyman, now in his 16th big league season, settled for a minor league contract with the New York Yankees on March 31 after being a camp casualty in Cincinnati. Spring training had just ended and Perez wanted an opportunity to prove that he could still pitch, even with his 37th birthday creeping up later in the playing schedule (this past August 15).
Realizing that the Bronx Bombers had arguably the best relief corp in the game, Perez wisely had an out clause in his contract. He could go back on the free agent market if not on the Yankees roster by June 1. New York never called him, as the Yankees bullpen was as good as advertised. Perez made 16 appearances at the Triple-A level, covering 14 innings, where he toted a solid 2.57 ERA. He opted into free agency on June 1.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Cleveland Indians have acquired third baseman Josh Donaldson from the Toronto Blue Jays just hours before the waivers trade deadline on Friday night.
The return for the Blue Jays for the 32-year-old Donaldson had not been made available at the time of this story.
Former Indians coach Kevin Cash has done some interesting things with the Tampa Bay Rays. Those Rays are on pace for their best win total in his four years as manager and will look to build towards that end result as the club returns to Cleveland for the first time since the middle of May of last season.
The Indians (76-57) edged out a series win over the Minnesota Twins to take the season series from the second place team of the American League Central during the week. It gave the Indians season series victories over the Twins, Chicago White Sox, and Detroit Tigers, while having a sizable lead over the Kansas City Royals (8-4) prior to their visit at the beginning of next week as they go for the AL Central sweep.
For the third time this month, the Indians and Twins will meet on the diamond as Minnesota makes its second trip of August to the city of Cleveland.
The Indians (74-56) will welcome a return home to Cleveland after a tough seven-game road trip over the last week. After splitting with the MLB-best Boston Red Sox to start the week, they dropped two of three to the Kansas City Royals, including a tough loss in the series opener when back-to-back ninth inning homers turned a 4-3 lead into a 5-4 loss in the matter of four pitches. The Tribe has recovered from a rough start to the season against the Twins to pull their season record against the second place club to 8-8. The Indians remain 16-8 in August with a +32 run differential for the month.
It’s a lot easier to hit a baseball when swinging the bat with two hands rather than with one. Just ask Edwin Encarnacion, who returned from the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday night and proceeded to hit two home runs in his first three at bats, both sailing over Boston’s fabled and towering Green Monster.
Encarnacion suffered a bruised right hand on July 15 when he was struck by pitch against the Yankees. Between the All-Star break (immediately following that game) and with the injury deemed as minor, Encarnacion did not miss time with the hand issue. However, he was not pain-free and admitted to basically swinging the bat one-handed. Somehow, he hit three home runs that way and drove in 16 runs and his batting average even rose from .225 to .229 during his 18 starts as essentially the one-armed man.
It will be a familiar foe for the Cleveland Indians this weekend as they face the Kansas City Royals in three straight, but there will be plenty of things different on Players’ Weekend.
The Indians (73-54) started their seven-game road trip with a four-game set in Boston against the Red Sox. After taking the first two games of the series, they dropped the latter two in short starts from the staff. The Tribe has taken the last five games with the Royals and are 7-2 against them this season. Like Kansas City, Cleveland will be sporting the special Players’ Weekend jerseys, with the Indians donning red jerseys with navy sleeves and a red cap with a blue block ‘C’ and bill.
The source of the recent pitching woes of reliever Neil Ramirez may have been revealed on Thursday morning when the Cleveland Indians placed the 29-year-old right-hander on the 10-day disabled list with lower back spasms.
In a corresponding roster move, right-hander Josh Tomlin was activated from his long stint on the DL by the Tribe.
The Cleveland Indians found a solution to the dilemma of how to keep the hot hitting Yandy Diaz on the Major League roster.
The Indians announced on Wednesday afternoon that first baseman/designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion had been activated from the 10-day disabled list. Instead of Diaz being optioned to the minors as originally anticipated, the Indians placed veteran outfielder Rajai Davis on the 10-day DL with a non-baseball medical condition.
For the first time this season, the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox will meet on the diamond, providing the world with a potential playoff preview between the best squads of the AL East and AL Central. The Tribe traveled to Boston to start a four-game series with the Red Sox on Monday night.
The Indians (71-52) took two of three from the hapless Baltimore Orioles, capping the series with an 8-0 shutout in the finale on Sunday. Cleveland rode big efforts from unexpected contributors, using its MLB-high tying ninth grand slam of the year to put the game away for good. It marked the seventh straight series win for the Indians. The Tribe has had its issues against the AL East this season, posting a 2-5 record against the New York Yankees and a 1-2 mark against Toronto Blue Jays. The 3-7 mark against those two clubs has been balanced by a 5-2 stomping of the Orioles, who are the worst team in baseball.
Yandy Diaz deserves to be playing and suiting up every day in a Major League Baseball uniform. His bat could be very useful to the Indians, who have seen the bottom of their batting order struggle during many stretches this season.
The problem is, there is not much room for a player, even as talented as Diaz, when the player’s best position is third base.
The Indians will get a quick sample of home cooking this weekend during a brief three-game homestand with the visiting Baltimore Orioles.
The Indians (69-51) won another road series with a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds earlier in the week to capture sole possession of the Ohio Cup. It improved the team’s record to 11-3 in the month. The Indians have nearly doubled the amount of runs scored by the opposition this month, plating 69 while allowing 35. They have the second-best record in the American League in August, trailing only the 11-2 mark of Boston, and are third-best in the Majors (also trailing St. Louis’ 12-3 mark). The team’s hot stretch has extended well into the second half, when they rank third among the 30 MLB teams with a 17-8 record, worse only than Boston’s 18-6 record and Oakland’s 17-7 mark. Cleveland took three of four from Baltimore earlier this year while outscoring the Orioles, 14-7.