2020: Pandemic Pandemonium
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.
This week has not gone well for the Cleveland Indians.
Sitting at 10-9 and in third place in the American League Central, two games in back of the first place Minnesota Twins, everything fell apart for the Tribe during a brief two-game homestand with the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday and Wednesday. For the first time this season, the starting rotation went back-to-back games without a quality start. The bullpen was tagged for a handful of runs. The offense mustered just three runs of support as the team took 7-1 and 7-2 losses to the Cubs, which, to be fair, entered as one of the best clubs in Major League Baseball.
Zach Plesac took to Instagram on Thursday to clarify some of the details that resulted in him being sent back to Cleveland via car by the Indians on Sunday prior to the conclusion of the team’s series in Chicago with the White Sox.
As a result, the Indians’ public relations staff likely had a busier day than expected on what was to be the team’s second scheduled off day of the season.
The 25-year-old Plesac, currently on Cleveland’s restricted list after violating team and league safety protocols involving the coronavirus, took the opportunity in a six minute and 31 second video while driving unsecured around town (…) to explain some of what transpired during what most would consider to be a poor decision while the team was on the road in Chicago, not far from where he grew up.
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.
Monday’s day off was hardly one free of news about the Cleveland Indians, and while there was a positive piece of information that spread through the social media landscape, there was a far more negative and discouraging chunk of news that shed a bad light on the organization and the potential risk readily present that could cause the 2020 Major League Baseball season from coming to a crashing halt.
First, some of the good news, because it ends with that aforementioned bad stuff. You can ignore that negativity at the end, if that’s more zen for you.
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.
After finding their bats on Thursday night, the Cleveland Indians will hope to keep the offense alive in a three-game series in Chicago this weekend against the rival and upstart White Sox.
The Indians (8-6) got themselves back on track after a tough four-game series in Minnesota resulted in a 1-3 record and an absolute absence of offense. After dropping their series opener with the Reds on Monday, the Indians won each of the final three games of the series, using a pair of shutouts and a massive outburst from the bats to rack up 13 runs in the series finale on Thursday night.
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.