The Indians and White Sox split their doubleheader on Memorial Day, with Chicago stealing an 8-6 win in extra frames in the opener before Cleveland rode the long ball to victory in a 3-1 final in the nightcap.
Amed Rosario had four hits and drove in all of the Indians runs on Wednesday, but it was the last one of each that proved most important as his bases-loaded RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the tenth inning gave Cleveland a 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.
Cleveland (20-14) continued its hot play on the diamond, winning for the third game in a row and for the eighth time in nine contests. It was not the prettiest of games and was aided by another poor offensive performance from the visiting Cubs, who left a small village of runners on the base paths against Indians rookie starter Sam Hentges and the six relievers who worked behind him.
Cleveland ended its road trip in dominating fashion, as Triston McKenzie bounced back from a career-worst performance to fire five shutout innings of two-hit baseball before letting his bullpen handle the rest as the Indians blanked the Kansas City Royals by a 4-0 final on Thursday afternoon.
The Indians won six of seven games during their road trip over the last week, taking two of three from the Chicago White Sox before sweeping the Royals in a four-game series in KC for the first time ever. The stretch of improved play on the field for the Tribe moved the team right back into the mix in the American League Central Division, as the 17-13 club has moved from third place to the top of the pack over the course of the last week.
Cleveland’s Zach Plesac and three Indians relievers combined on a four-hitter in Chicago on Sunday, blanking the White Sox in a 5-0 final from Guaranteed Rate Field.
Plesac exorcised some demons in the finale of the three-game set from the southside of Chicago on Sunday, pitching into the sixth inning and limiting the dangerous Sox lineup to just three hits, despite several threats across the afternoon. He got some support from his offense, which supplied a pair of solo homers, including one in a three-run seventh inning to break open a 2-0 game at the time.
The Minnesota Twins avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians, taking Tribe pitching deep six different times, rolling to an easy 10-2 win on Wednesday afternoon.
Logan Allen’s struggles in the rotation for Cleveland continued as he was tagged for three first inning home runs and did not last the second inning in a taxing day for the Indians bullpen. The poor performance, which included six runs earned on five hits in just an inning and a third, earned Allen a demotion following the contest, with the Indians off until their series in Chicago on Friday.
The Yankees came back quickly from a three-run deficit after one, blasting four home runs on the way to a 5-3 victory over the Indians from downtown Cleveland on Friday night.
Just one night after coughing up a three-run first inning lead, the Indians (8-10) did it again on Friday night, taking a 3-0 lead after one before the Yankees (8-11) responded with two homers in the second to tie the game and two more solo homers in the third and fifth and never looked back. The Cleveland bats were put back on ice by the New York bullpen, after doing some early damage against opposing starter Jordan Montgomery.
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.
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 Cleveland front office created some additional space at camp on Friday, as the club announced the trade of non-roster invitee Mike Freeman to the Cincinnati Reds for cash considerations while shifting several other players around at the team’s Goodyear, Arizona, training facility.
Freeman was in camp with the Indians again looking to claim innings as a utility man, but with several younger options with more potential upside vying for that time, finding a spot for him with the big league club may have been difficult. The 33-year-old will not go onto the 40-man roster for the Reds, as he was designated off of the Cleveland roster before he re-signed with the club on a minor league pact, but he will attempt to win a utility role now with Cincinnati on the other side of the two teams’ shared Goodyear camp.
Cleveland fans were warned in March of 2019 to “enjoy him”, but the long anticipated move finally happened on Thursday as the Indians announced the trade of four-time All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets.
Joining Lindor in relocating to Queens was starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, the longest tenured representative of the franchise and a fan favorite after his public battle with leukemia two seasons ago. His name was floated about some during the Winter Meetings, but with several years of control at what was perceived as a reasonable cost, his inclusion frees up significant finances over the next few years from a position of strength in the Indians organization. The Indians have previously over the last several years dealt from the starting rotation, removing Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, and Corey Kluber for packages of prospects or just general salary relief.