The depleted Cleveland starting rotation took another hit on Monday, but the Indians bullpen picked up the slack to complete a six-hit 4-0 shutout of the Chicago Cubs in the first of two from Wrigley Field.
The latest in the growing list of walking wounded for the Tribe is Aaron Civale, who exited in the middle of an at bat in the fifth inning on Monday night. The last man standing in the starting rotation left with what was described as a right middle finger injury, but four relievers handled the rest of the load to protect a three-run lead to get the team back to ten games over the .500 mark.
The Cleveland bats backed six different pitchers with four home runs as the Indians swept the Baltimore Orioles behind a 10-3 final from Progressive Field on Thursday afternoon.
With the bullpen expecting to do some heavy lifting with young right-hander Eli Morgan making his second big league start, the bats came to the rescue to provide the entire pitching staff with some wiggle room. Jose Ramirez had a big day, driving home three runs, but Yu Chang made an even bigger contribution out of the eight-hole, driving in a career-high four runs on a pair of two-RBI knocks to help guide the Indians (38-28) to a four-game sweep and a season-high record ten games above the .500 mark.
Baseball may be at a standstill, but the game goes on in some front offices as teams make some minor moves in preparation for the eventual arrival of the 2020 season.
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 – 40 days
Will this year finally be the year for Bobby Bradley?
Max Kepler hit three homers against Trevor Bauer in his last game against the Indians right-hander on June 6 in his second matchup against him of the season. He added two more in the first two innings on Saturday to help pace the Twins to a 6-2 win over the Indians from Progressive Field.
The Indians’ six-game winning streak came to a close on Friday night, but the club looked to get back into the win column and continue a hot stretch on the diamond and turned to Bauer to do so. He gave up three runs early, with Kepler to blame for the bulk of the damage, but settled in to give the club a quality start before the bullpen let things get out of control late.
A six-run outburst by the Indians in the seventh inning proved to be enough as Cleveland completed a three-game sweep over the Kansas City Royals in an 8-4 final on Thursday.
The Indians (48-38) moved to a season-high ten games above even and cut their deficit in the American League Central Division down to six games, coupled with a Minnesota loss in Oakland for the second time in three days. The Indians’ bullpen picked up for rookie righty Zach Plesac when he was unable to make it through the third inning and stopped the bleeding, holding the Royals to just a run on four hits over the final six and one-third innings.
Jason Kipnis capped a three-hit day at the plate with the deciding blow in the bottom of the tenth to send a tired Cleveland crowd to a 3-2 walk-off fireworks display against the Kansas City Royals on Monday night.
After losing a one-run lead in the top of the eighth, the Indians needed bonus baseball to find a fourth straight win in a game already delayed more than two hours by rains in the middle innings. They pulled out the victory in another dramatic Progressive Field moment, walking off for the fifth time this year on Kipnis’ sixth long ball of the season.
Zach Plesac was good again for the Tribe and his offense provided him with a five-run second inning as the Indians cruised to a Sunday sweep of the Detroit Tigers in an 8-3 victory from downtown Cleveland.
Plesac continued an impressive start to his Major League career by handling the Tigers with ease after a slightly shaky opening to the day. He outdueled Daniel Norris, who faced all nine Indians hitters in the second in what proved to be the difference in the ball game.
The Cleveland Indians added three more prospects to the 40-man roster on Tuesday, protecting three young talents from selection in next month’s Rule 5 draft.
First baseman Bobby Bradley, starting pitcher Sam Hentges, and pitcher Jean Carlos Mejia became the newest members of the farm system to earn a spot on the 40-man roster of the Indians, ensuring that Cleveland does not lose any of the three during the Major or Minor League portions of the draft in December. The moves filled the team’s roster at 40, following the addition earlier in the day of right-handed reliever Walker Lockett in a minor trade with the San Diego Padres.
The Minor League schedule kicks off this week and young prospects are reporting to their respective homes to start the season.
The Akron RubberDucks announced the members of their Opening Day roster on Tuesday as players settled in to Canal Park before the club hits the road for Altoona for their season opening series with the Curve (Pirates affiliate) in Pennsylvania.
The ‘Ducks will look to improve upon a 69-71 third place finish last season. Following their four-game set against the Eastern League champions, they will head to Binghamton to face the Rumble Ponies (Mets) from April 9 to April 11 before returning home to Akron for a four-game series against the Trenton Thunder (Yankees), starting on Friday, April 13.
The big league diamonds in Goodyear, Arizona, got a little less crowded on Monday as the Cleveland Indians announced several roster moves with just over two weeks to go until their regular season kicks off in Seattle.
Five players – Abraham Almonte, Francisco Mejia, Julian Merryweather, Shawn Morimando, and Adam Plutko – were optioned to Triple-A Columbus. Four more – Bobby Bradley, Louis Head, Josh Martin, and Adam Wilk – were reassigned to minor league camp. The most notable names of the nine, however, were those of Almonte and Mejia.
The Cleveland Indians announced on Thursday morning that the team had come to terms on a minor league contract with left-handed pitcher Robert Zarate, who last pitched professionally in 2015. He will join seven other Indians minor leaguers who were extended non-roster invitations to spring training next month.
In addition to Zarate, the Indians have invited position players Bobby Bradley, Nellie Rodriguez, and Richie Shaffer and right-handed pitchers Louis Head, Cameron Hill, Josh Martin, and Cole Sulser to play with the team during the spring.
The Indians now have 17 non-roster players scheduled to participate during spring camp in Goodyear, Arizona.