2020: Game Recaps
After a little extra use over the last couple of games, the Cleveland Indians bullpen was due for a break. Aaron Civale was up to providing that extra rest for his teammates, as he allowed just five hits in a complete game 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.
Civale packed his A-game for the Tribe’s series at PNC Park as he made his fifth start of the season in the middle game of three between the Indians and Pirates. He kept his pitch count to a minimum, surpassing his previous career high of seven innings with ease, while effectively using all four quadrants and commanding the bottom of the zone. The Pirates struggled to find their way to first base and only one time on the night did they get a runner into scoring position as Civale captured a big victory.
Carlos Santana’s three-run home run down the left field line in the tenth inning edged the Cleveland Indians past the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-3, on Tuesday night.
Santana has had a flare for the dramatic at times throughout his career and Tuesday night was again one of those nights. Struggling at the plate for the majority of the season to date, Santana stepped to the plate against left-hander Sam Howard. Cesar Hernandez, who struck out to end the ninth, was the designated runner at second base. Jose Ramirez opened the inning with an eight-pitch battle with Howard, fouling off three straight pitches before striking out swinging. Francisco Lindor was plunked to put two on for Santana, who took a first pitch ball low before catching a fastball in on the hands. He whipped the bat around and yanked the ball high and deep down the left field line while falling off balance in the batter’s box. With Chief Wahoo peeking out from the top of his unbuttoned jersey top, Santana stopped on his jog towards first, leaned as if trying to move the ball with his body, and briefly took a step back towards home plate before the home run call went up, beginning his slow trot around the bases to cap his three-run blast.
The series finale from Comerica Park between the Indians and Tigers on Sunday was hardly a clinic in pitching, but the game did provide plenty of fireworks on and off the field as Cleveland used five homers to push past Detroit, 8-5.
Cleveland (13-9) used a well-timed power display to pick up starter Adam Plutko while the bullpen allowed just two runs over six and one-third innings of needed relief. It was more of the same from the Tigers (9-10), which are still looking for answers to solve the riddle that has become the Indians lineup and pitching staff. Their fifth straight loss extended their losing streak against the Indians to 20 consecutive games, dating back to last April.
Shane Bieber struck out eleven Tigers hitters over seven shutout innings while the Indians made Detroit starter Spencer Turnbull work hard and exit before the fifth was complete in a 3-1 Cleveland victory on Saturday night.
The Indians (12-9) moved back above the .500 mark on the road this season one night after an offensive eruption in the series opener on Friday night from Comerica Park. While the offense was only able to provide three runs in the second game from Detroit, Bieber did not need much support as he took matters into his own hands in another dominating effort on the mound.
The Indians dominated the Tigers a year ago and picked up where they left off to start the first of ten encounters with Detroit in 2020 as Cleveland batted around in a six-run fourth on the way to a 10-5 victory from Comerica Park on Friday night.
The pitching matchup in the series opener from Detroit pitted veteran right-hander Ivan Nova against second-year righty Aaron Civale. The Indians were taking on the Tigers for the first time this season, hoping to carry over a little bit of its success from the previous campaign in the new, shortened slate.
A moving strike zone is hard to combat when you are already struggling with your own control on the mound. Carlos Carrasco fought through command issues on Wednesday, while the combination of a rough performance from the Cleveland bullpen and another lackluster showing from the Indians bats against Kyle Hendricks and three Chicago relievers helped push the Cubs to a 7-2 win at Progressive Field.
The Indians matched the Cubs in the hit department, but nine free passes by Cleveland pitching helped increase base traffic and opportunities for the opposing Chicago club, already one of the top offense in the game today without extra help. Neither team was all that impressive with runners in scoring position, but the Cubs came through when it counted with several big hits, including a pair of homers from the big boppers at the top of their lineup. The Indians squandered scoring chances throughout the night, doing little to help their cause.
In the end, it marked another game where the Indians faltered against a top-tier opponent.
The Chicago Cubs showed little rust after their long layoff, routing the Cleveland Indians 7-1 on Tuesday night in the return to the dugout by Terry Francona.
While the Indians welcomed Francona back to the Progressive Field dugout, the day was tarnished by the absence of the game’s scheduled starting pitcher Mike Clevinger, whose failure to abide by team protocols in Chicago followed by a senseless unwillingness to self-report his transgression after another teammate was sent home by the club for the same mistake left him unable to start the series opener between the two clubs. The matchup was already an unfavorable one, with pesky lefty Jon Lester set to oppose. Adam Plutko took the mound for just his second appearance in two weeks with the task of giving the Indians as many pitches as he could to minimize the wear and tear on the bullpen as a result.
Cleveland tied the game with a big two-out two-bagger from Franmil Reyes in the eighth, then plated a pair in the tenth and held on through a weather-delayed home half to squeeze out a 5-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday Night Baseball.
With all eyes in the baseball world affixed on Chicago, the White Sox hosted the Indians for the third and final time this season in a key rubber match between the AL Central rivals. A back-and-forth game pitted a pair of staff aces against one another, but the final score was decided by both teams’ bullpens.
One game removed from taking the night off at the plate, the Cleveland Indians bats burst out for six runs in the fourth inning to pace Zach Plesac and the Tribe to a 7-1 win on Saturday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Indians added to their quality start tally, posting their 14th in 16 games as Plesac provided Cleveland with six shutout innings on the mound. The bats needed a few innings to get going, but they ultimately did in a much-needed outburst at the plate, making up some for a scoreless performance the night before in a 2-0 loss to the White Sox in the series opener from Chicago.
So much for that excitement about the Cleveland offense’s triumphant return. The Indians were blanked on just four hits as the Chicago White Sox claimed a 2-0 win in the series opener from Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday night.
The White Sox didn’t win the game as much as the Indians lost it. With a small village of base runners throughout the game courtesy of eight walks and a hit batter, the Tribe managed just four hits and could not buy a hit with runners in scoring position, instead grounding into two double plays on the night and wasting seven quality innings of one-run ball from Aaron Civale.
The Indians scored ten runs – yes, you read that right – in the seventh inning with a 3-0 lead to back Carlos Carrasco and the Cleveland bullpen in a 13-0 three-hit shutout over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday night.
Questions have plagued the Indians offense throughout the season, but the lineup erupted in a cathartic seventh inning in systematically tearing apart the Reds’ bullpen. Carrasco gave the Tribe his third straight quality start and limited the Cincinnati lineup to just one hit over six shutout innings of work and the Cleveland bullpen extended the team’s scoreless body of work against the Reds bats to 23 consecutive innings, dating back to the fourth inning on Tuesday.
Mike Clevinger and four relievers held Cincinnati to just three hits, while Cleveland baserunners hustled home for a pair of fifth inning runs to give the Indians a 2-0 shutout victory over the Reds on Wednesday night.
There wasn’t much offense to talk about in the third straight matchup between the two Ohio clubs, but the Indians took advantage of their four hits and some aggressive base running to swipe away a win at the expense of the visiting Reds.