The Indians placed the ball in the hands of rookie left-handed hurler Ryan Merritt, who channeled his inner Gene Bearden while making just his fifth Major League appearance, in blanking the Toronto Blue Jays for four and one-third innings as Cleveland clinched the American League pennant with a 3-0 shutout at Rogers Centre.
Baseball takes little time off in between seasons, so neither can we. Follow along at Did the Tribe Win Last Night as we count down to March 26, when the Cleveland Indians host the Detroit Tigers for game one of the 2020 season. – BT
Countdown to Opening Day – 24 days
Domingo Santana will look to do something that his predecessor in the number 24, Carlos Gonzalez, was unable to do during a short stint in Cleveland a year ago – contribute consistently to the team’s success.
Quite a few familiar names and a few others not as well known have left the Indians organization since the final pitch of the American League Division Series sweep suffered by Cleveland at the hands of the Houston Astros.
In one busy offseason, the Indians saw new holes pop up all around the roster. Two corner outfielders, three more bench outfielders, the team’s starting designated hitter, first baseman, and catcher, as well as the two most important arms in the bullpen, all either left and signed elsewhere or were traded away, while the Tribe front office’s biggest guaranteed deal went to 37-year-old reliever Oliver Perez, who signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal in January with a vesting option for 2020.
Major League Baseball is now less than a month away from the start of the 2019 season, its earliest start ever (excluding international openers). All 30 teams will take the field on March 28 this year. Follow along with Did The Tribe Win Last Night as we count down the days until Opening Day 2019. – BT
Countdown to Opening Day – 24 days
Joyce is off to an inauspicious start of his own, going 0-for-12 to start the spring slate with four strikeouts, one walk, and one run batted in over five games. At Goodyear on a non-roster invitation from his minor league deal signed during the second week of February, Joyce has a chance to fill one of the Indians’ outfield voids, but he will have to show a whole lot more at the plate in order to do so. The 34-year-old is an eleven-year veteran and a former 2011 All-Star for the Tampa Bay Rays who had spent the last two years in Oakland with the A’s. He hit a career-high 25 homers in 2017 there before he was limited to 83 games while hitting .208 a season ago.
The Cleveland Indians opted not to extend qualifying offers to any of the club’s pending free agents this offseason ahead of the deadline on Friday.
The Tribe’s long list of departing free agents including three names that merited some discussion, but instead, the Cleveland front office elected not to offer the one-year, $17.9 million tender offer to any of its veterans, including Cody Allen, Michael Brantley, and Andrew Miller. The significant financial commitment to any of the trio could have severely limited the Indians in the offseason, as funds appear tight and would have only become tighter if the contracts were accepted. By electing not to offer them the qualifying offer, the team forgoes an opportunity to receive draft pick compensation if they were to sign with other teams.
A three-run seventh gave the Houston Astros their first lead of the day and a six-run eighth buried Chief Wahoo as the Cleveland Indians were swept out of the American League Division Series in an embarrassing 11-3 shellacking on Monday afternoon from Progressive Field.
A packed house in downtown Cleveland was the site of one of the more disappointing losses in the playoff history of the Indians, who put up a pitiful last stand at their remodeled gem at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. A 2-1 lead afforded to starter Mike Clevinger was lost in the seventh as several throwing errors and the lethal bat of Indian killer Marwin Gonzalez put the Astros on top for good. The next two innings just threw more dirt on the grave of the 2018 season.
On Friday, the story was the Astros hitting more homers alone than the Indians had total hits. That lack of offense again reared its head for the Tribe as Cleveland was held to just three hits and lost a one-run lead in the sixth inning as Houston took a commanding 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series with a 3-1 win on Saturday.
The flat showing from an Indians roster relatively untested all season long proved discouraging again as the only runner to reach second base for Cleveland was Francisco Lindor during his third inning trot around the bases for the team’s only run of the day. The remaining four players to reach advanced no further than first base. Carlos Carrasco pitched well in his second career playoff game, but the bullpen behind him was unable to get out of a jam and a bad defensive play in right field led to a game-changing inning for the Astros in the bottom of the sixth.
The Cleveland Indians lost an inconsequential game on Saturday night, but could have lost much more after an injury to Yan Gomes led to several stitches. As for the game results, Andrew Miller allowed a three-run home run in a four-run sixth and Cody Allen gave up two more the next frame as the Indians dropped a 9-4 decision in Kansas City with the Royals.
While manager Terry Francona looked to get his players prepped for postseason work next Friday against the Houston Astros, things did not go as planned. Corey Kluber exited early as planned after allowing three runs in five innings, but the bullpen struggled with six runs allowed from two of their workhorses in the latter innings. Far more concerning, however, was the injury to All-Star catcher Gomes, who left the game in the third after hitting his throwing hand on the bat of Alex Gordon.
Adalberto Mondesi had himself a day all over the field for the Royals on Thursday and he capped it by scoring the winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning to give Kansas City a 2-1 win over the Cleveland Indians from Kauffman Stadium.
Mondesi, son of former big leaguer Raul Mondesi who previously played under the same name as his big league pops, started the Royals scoring with his 13th homer of the year, prevented a run in the eighth with a defensive gem, and then capped his day by walking, stealing two bases, and scoring in the tenth on Salvador Perez’s walk-off single against Neil Ramirez.
Corey Kluber pitched seven innings of shutout, four-hit baseball, and the offense used four late runs to back their starter to his 20th win of the season and the team’s 17th shutout of the campaign in a 4-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.
The reigning Cy Young winner pitched nearly stress-free baseball from the southside of Chicago in the series opener with the White Sox, despite slow moving run support. Kluber worked seven shutout frames, striking out eleven batters and walking just one to go with the four hits that he surrendered to win 20 games for the first time in his career while becoming the first Indians pitcher to do so since Cliff Lee won 22 in 2008. The offense awoke with a pair of homers late and used three runs in the ninth inning to pad what was at the time a one-run advantage. In a flashback to better bullpen days, both Andrew Miller and Cody Allen worked perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts to wrap up the evening with 17 straight White Sox batters retired by the Tribe pitching staff.