The Cleveland bats made up for lost time on Saturday as the Indians routed the Cincinnati Reds, 9-2, from Progressive Field.
After suffering through nine innings without a hit in the series opener with the Reds on Friday night, the Tribe bats came out swinging in the first and never slowed down to even up the three-game set between the two clubs at a game each. The offensive outburst backed yet another strong start from Aaron Civale, who remained perfect on the year with seven quality innings on the mound.
A pair of clutch two-out home runs in the top of the seventh put the Indians on top and the Cleveland bullpen prevented the Kansas City lineup from coming all the way back in an 8-6 victory over the Royals on Monday from Kauffman Stadium.
In game one of a four-game set from Kansas City, Missouri, fans were treated to a lot of offense in an early season matchup with a lot on the line for both clubs, as the first place Royals wanted to use this week to put some extra distance between themselves and the third place Tribe. While the Royals used a long ball of their own to take the lead in the fourth inning, the Indians rallied back with a five-run frame in the seventh, then held on the rest of the way as the Royals tried to chip back into the contest against the tough Cleveland bullpen.
The Cleveland bats took advantage of the slumping Minnesota Twins pitching staff on Tuesday night as the Indians claimed a series win with some extra base magic in a 7-4 victory.
Franmil Reyes put on an impressive display of hitting and power to lead the Tribe to a third straight victory, fresh on the heels of a season-high four-game losing skid. He posted three hits, including a pair of majestic home runs, with the first blast tying the game in the second and the latter giving the club the lead in the bottom of the sixth against Minnesota starter Kenta Maeda. The Cleveland lineup used seven extra base hits to back starter Aaron Civale, who lasted seven and two-thirds innings despite giving up four runs on the night.
The Tribe pitching staff squandered a gift three-run first inning as the New York Yankees tied the game early and used three more runs late to take and pad their lead on the way to a 6-3 win at Cleveland.
If Terry Francona‘s wish when blowing out the candles on his 62nd birthday cake on Thursday was for an Indians win against the Bronx Bombers or at least a good offensive showing, that wish failed to come true as the Cleveland lineup missed several chances to add on to their early run support of starter Aaron Civale.
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.
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.
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.
An emotionally charged week may have left the Cleveland Indians a little empty on Saturday as the Pittsburgh Pirates outperformed them in all facets in an 8-0 shutout.
With the Pirates playing for seeding in their pursuits of the top pick in next July’s draft at the end of their year, the Indians had some things at stake entering the penultimate game of the 2020 regular season slate. The division title was still up for grabs, but was going to require a sweep of the Pirates while the Cincinnati Reds were going to need to sweep the Minnesota Twins, which would have put the Indians in position for the second or third spot in the bracket. If that fell through, the Indians could still beat out the Chicago White Sox for the second spot in the American League Central, which would net them the fourth seed against the New York Yankees. A couple of losses would drop the Indians to the seventh spot ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays, forced to travel to either Oakland or to the site of the AL Central victors.
Will these be the final three home games of the 2020 season for the Cleveland Indians?
The Indians (33-24) are playing their best baseball of the season and the timing could not be more perfect as the team prepares for a return to the postseason for the first time since 2018. The Indians have won five straight games and took a wrecking ball to the American League playoff bracket by sweeping four consecutive games from the Chicago White Sox during the week to knock them out of the top spot in the AL Central. The Indians will need some luck to claim the divisional crown as they would need to sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend while relying on the Cincinnati Reds, playoff bound themselves, to take all three games against the Minnesota Twins. The Indians enter the day two games behind the Twins, which holds the tie breaker between the two teams, while the Tribe sits one game behind the White Sox for the second spot in the division.
It was a nail-biting finish from the corner of Carnegie and Ontario on Monday night as the Cleveland Indians and closer Brad Hand held off the Chicago White Sox’s ninth inning threat to capture a 7-4 win in the series opener.
The Tribe’s All-Star closer came on as the fourth Tribe pitcher of the day looking to slam the door with a three-run lead. Rookie nine-hitter Nick Madrigal fought off several pitches to work the count back to even before dropping in a single to shallow center to lead off the inning. Tim Anderson launched a rocket deep to center; Delino DeShields raced back to the warning track and leapt, snagging the blast from the air at the top of the fence for the first out. Yoan Moncada grounded to Jose Ramirez’s left and off of his glove into left field for a fielder’s choice and error, bringing the tying run to the plate. James McCann, hitting for an injured Yasmani Grandal, fouled off several pitches before watching a high slider on the outside edge for a called third strike for out number two. Jose Abreu, the White Sox’s last hope and more than capable of tying the game up with one swing, left the bat on the shoulder for a called third strike on the outside corner to give the Tribe a big first win in the four-game set between the two clubs this week.
Seven games. Seven days. And just like that, the 2020 regular season will be over and the 2020 Major League Baseball playoff bracket madness will begin.
The Indians (29-24) have not punched their ticket to the postseason, but barring something horrific happening over the next week, it is almost a foregone conclusion. That said, it may seem highly unlikely given the way that the last few weeks have gone, but the Indians still could catch the White Sox (34-19) in the American League Central, although that has hardly been a topic of conversation over much of September given the inconsistent play of the Clevelanders. The Indians, after taking three of four from the Tigers in Detroit over the weekend, enter the four-game weekday set with the White Sox trailing by five games. While that task may be too steep a hill to climb in a week, the Indians could still catch up with the second place Minnesota Twins, which holds a three-game lead over the Tribe with five games left on its schedule.
The Indians come into the series with a magic number of two to ensure a playoff spot, with that number reduced at present by any combination of Cleveland victories and Seattle defeats.
Some botched fundamentals kept the Indians off of the scoreboard in the top of the tenth, while everything fell into place for the Cubs in the home half. Ian Happ opened the inning at second as the designated runner and moved to third on a single to left-center by Kris Bryant. Anthony Rizzo was intentionally walked to set up the force at home. Maton struck out Willson Contreras on three straight and got Kyle Schwarber swinging for out number two. Maton got ahead of Baez on two fastballs, but his 0-2 curveball on the outside edge was yanked into shallow left field for the walk-off hit with Happ scoring the winning run.