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 – 17 days
A pair of utility men donned the number 17 for the Indians during the 2019 season. Both were new faces to the ball club last year looking for a chance to stick, but both whiffed and are no longer with the organization.
The Cleveland infield and bench continued its shuffle on Tuesday afternoon, as the Indians announced that the contract of veteran utility man Mike Freeman had been purchased from Triple-A Columbus. Rookie shortstop Eric Stamets was optioned back to Triple-A to make room for Freeman on the 25-man roster.
It marked the second infield-focused move by the Indians in as many days. On Monday prior to the start of the club’s series against the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland activated second baseman Jason Kipnis from the 10-day injured list and formally designated utility man Brad Miller for assignment in a move that opened up a 40-man spot for Freeman’s arrival.
The winningest team in Major League Baseball will look to continue its incredible and unexpected start as the Seattle Mariners host the Cleveland Indians for the first and final time in the 2019 season.
The Mariners (13-5) have put on a hitting display far exceeding expectations as the team leads all of baseball in homers (39), runs scored (126), RBI (124), hits (178), and stolen bases (tied with 19). The M’s have been on a homer-hitting frenzy, going deep in each of their first 18 games to start the season, a Major League record to open a year. They are within striking distance of matching their club record for consecutive games with a homer (23 back in 2013) and are two-thirds of the way to equaling the all-time record of 27 set by the 2002 Texas Rangers. Despite the hot start, the Mariners are just a game up on the Houston Astros in the American League West after being swept in three straight at home over the weekend.
It might be a bad time for the Indians (8-7) to head to T-Mobile Park (formerly Safeco Field). After turning things around during their first homestand when they swept the Toronto Blue Jays and started the road trip with a win in Detroit, Cleveland has now lost three straight after being swept over the weekend by the Kansas City Royals. While the losses have piled up for the Tribe and they will have to win the series to remain above the .500 mark, they are just a game and a half in back of the Minnesota Twins in second place in the AL Central.
Kansas City’s Homer Bailey channeled his former self for the Royals on Saturday night, blanking the Indians over seven innings of two-hit ball in a 3-0 shutout of Cleveland from Kauffman Stadium.
Bailey was masterful and kept the Indians off balance with a mixture of offspeed pitches down in the zone while using the upper portions of the plate as he pleased with a 94 mile per hour fastball. He struck out six and walked just two while giving up a single and a double to Tribe second baseman Brad Miller.
Corey Kluber allowed one earned run in six innings and was backed by four home runs (and an unofficial Little League homer) as the Indians opened a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers with an 8-2 win.
The Indians entered the day with just four home runs on the year, but they rode the long ball starting with the very first batter of the game, jumping out to an early lead to back Kluber, who was looking to bounce back from an uncharacteristic performance in his last start Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox. Kluber gave the Indians a quality start and left with a healthy lead after six as manager Terry Francona looked to get his rested bullpen some extra work early in the season.
No Wahoo, no runs, and no fun for the Tribe on Thursday as Minnesota’s Jose Berrios won an intense battle against Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, combining with reliever Taylor Rogers on a two-hit 2-0 Opening Day shutout from Target Field.
In a well-pitched game for both starters through six innings, the Twins capitalized on rare base runners in the seventh to take the lead and hold on for good. Kluber took a perfect game into the fifth and a no-hitter into the sixth. Three different relievers combined to throw a perfect eighth inning to keep the score at two runs, but it was too much for the Tribe to overcome in a tough day at the plate. While the Twins managed only four hits on the day, their pitching limited the Indians to just three batters over the minimum while striking out 13 in an Opening Day gem.
With Francisco Lindor on the injured list to start the year and the status of Jason Kipnis still pending (but also expected to involve an injured list trip), the Cleveland Indians added some infield depth on Sunday afternoon, signing veteran Brad Miller to a one-year Major League contract.
Miller opted out of his deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday after being informed that he would not make the club. He was in the lineup for the Indians on Sunday, getting in work at second base.