2021: Life After Lindor
Jose Ramirez’s two-out, two-run home run in the sixth off of Lance Lynn moved Cleveland out in front and two more insurance runs late paced the Indians to a 4-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday afternoon.
One night after coming two outs from having a perfect game thrown against them and still suffering the club’s first no-hit effort against them in nearly a decade, the Tribe bats were quieted again for the first half of the game until the team’s slumping but perennial MVP candidate Ramirez gave Aaron Civale some support for his solid start on the mound.
After a brief scare on Tuesday when starting catcher Roberto Perez was crossed up with reliever James Karinchak and took a pitch to his bare right hand, the Cleveland Indians have brought in additional catching depth. The team announced the signing of 37-year-old backstop Rene Rivera to a minor league deal, assigning him to the team’s alternate training site.
Carlos Rodon etched his name in the Major League Baseball record book, losing a perfect game with one out in the ninth on a hit by pitch before nailing down the final two outs to secure a dominating 8-0 win for the Chicago White Sox over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.
Rodon, scratched from his start on Monday with stomach issues but staring down a place in the historical archives, took the mound in the ninth with 95 pitches thrown to the minimum 24 batters that he had faced through eight. Josh Naylor found himself quickly in an 0-2 hole and grounded to first, losing a bang-bang foot race to the bag to reigning American League MVP Jose Abreu. Two outs away, Rodon got ahead of Roberto Perez with high heat, but went low and in with a back foot slider and caught the toe of Perez’s right cleat, sending the backstop to first base with Cleveland’s first base runner of the night and ending Rodon’s bid to pitch the fourth perfect game in ChiSox history. He went back to the slider to punch out Yu Chang on a questionable pitch in for the second out and got Jordan Luplow to ground his game-high 19th pitch of the inning to third base, where Yoan Moncada fired to Abreu to kickstart a celebration at the mound.
Another error played a factor between Cleveland and Chicago on Tuesday night, as the Indians scored a pair of runs in the tenth and held on by mere feet in the home half to knock off the White Sox, 2-0, from Guaranteed Rate Field.
With the end result of a top-billed pitchers’ duel leaving the game scoreless after nine innings of three-hit baseball for both sides, Garrett Crochet took the mound for the South Siders to face the bottom third of the Tribe lineup in the tenth. With Franmil Reyes standing at second base due to MLB’s extra innings rules, Crochet’s first pitch to Josh Naylor was chopped back to the mound and off of the glove of the second-year left-hander. Home plate umpire Bill Miller ruled catcher’s interference on Yasmani Grandal, putting runners on the corners for Cleveland. Yu Chang flied to shallow right for the first out, but Roberto Perez found the hole between third and short for a rare infield single, allowing Reyes to score the first run of the night. Amed Rosario grabbed a bat and pinch-hit for Andres Gimenez and roped a double to the left-center gap to plate Naylor with the second run of the inning, putting the Indians on top, 2-0. Jordan Luplow entered as a pinch-hitter for Ben Gamel to face new reliever Matt Foster, but he swung and missed on a low changeup for the second out. Cesar Hernandez lined out to second to strand a pair.
Sometimes, that’s how the ball bounces.
An errant throw from Cleveland first baseman Yu Chang struck a base runner and allowed the winning run to cross home plate in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Chicago White Sox a 4-3 win over the Indians on Monday night.
Logan Allen settled down after a rough first inning to give Cleveland five strong innings on the mound while his offense gave him just enough support for his first victory as an Indian in a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday afternoon.
Cleveland won its fourth straight game, improving to 5-3 and moving into first place in the American League Central courtesy of a balanced game that saw contributions from all parts of the roster. Allen did his part to keep his teammates in the game before the bullpen contained a Tigers lineup that refused to go away. The Tribe offense chipped in with some early run support and added on two big runs late thanks to some bad throwing decisions by Detroit right fielder Nomar Mazara.
The home run ball continued to be the biggest source of offense for Cleveland on Saturday, as the Tribe bats blasted five balls over the outfield walls on the way to an 11-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers from Progressive Field.
With family on hand to enjoy the show, Franmil Reyes blasted a pair of homers in a three-hit game to back seven strong innings from Zach Plesac in a 4-1 for the Cleveland Indians over the Detroit Tigers on Friday.
Plesac got all of the support that he would need after an eleven-pitch first inning when the Tribe bats struck through against Derek Holland. The veteran left-hander was thrust into a starting role with Julio Teheran a late scratch with shoulder soreness during his warmups and Cleveland got to work and capitalized on missed outs by Detroit to take an early lead. Amed Rosario opened the home half of activity with a single to right. Cesar Hernandez was cut down swinging on three pitches, but Jose Ramirez laced a worm burner up the middle and off of the second base bag into shallow left, allowing A. Rosario to advance to third on the unusual play. Eddie Rosario grounded to the hole at second, but he legged out the backend of the double play attempt to allow A. Rosario to score safely on the play and leave the inning alive for Reyes. His big day at the plate began with a bang as his fifth straight pitch in on the hands was yanked over the left field wall and into the bleachers for a two-run shot, putting the Indians up by a 3-0 count.
Even in a new look, less threatening Cleveland lineup, Jose Ramirez is going to see a few pitches per game that he can put a good swing on. He made the most of those pitches on Wednesday, as he hit a pair of timely two-run home runs to power the Indians over the Kansas City Royals, 4-2, from Progressive Field.
Inconsistent offensive production has been the story as anticipated for the Cleveland baseball club through its first four games and the same looked to be the case on Wednesday until the heroics from the little Ramirez, who displayed his underrated and underappreciated MVP-caliber results on the diamond once again in lifting the Tribe to victory. He picked up his fellow award winning teammate, Shane Bieber, who put up another quality effort on the mound, but left minutes before the Royals tied the game up in the seventh.
Danny Duffy and the Kansas City bullpen shut down the Cleveland bats and the always dangerous Whit Merrifield lived up to his hype on Monday as the Royals spoiled the Indians’ Home Opener behind a three-hit 3-0 shutout.
Duffy entered the day with a 4-12 career record against Cleveland and just a 3-8 mark at Progressive Field through his first 14 trips to the mound there, but he put together one of his better efforts against the inconsistent bats of the Tribe in the opening game of a quick two-game set between the two clubs. To their credit, the Indians had numerous hard hit balls throughout the afternoon, but few found their way past the gloves of the Royals defenders.
The bats of the Cleveland lineup woke up just in time on Sunday as the Indians scored eight unanswered runs over the final four innings to defeat the Detroit Tigers by a 9-3 count.
Aaron Civale drew the starting nod in the series finale against second-year left-hander Tarik Skubal with the task of sending the Tribe back to Ohio in the win column for the first time in 2021. He did his part, scattering just two hits over seven quality innings of work, but he needed some help from his friends to get the job done.
It was another tough day at the plate for Cleveland as a quality start by Zach Plesac was wasted in a 5-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Saturday afternoon.
After putting up just two runs in support of a quality start from Shane Bieber on Thursday, the offensive efforts fell short again in game two of the 2021 campaign as the concerning Cleveland lineup card had little punch to it again. Plesac kept the game close in six innings of work on the mound, but the Tigers broke the game open late with a three-run seventh to erase all doubt.