The Cleveland Indians have been the epitome of inconsistency this season. This weekend was a prime example of that as the Tribe dropped two of three to the Detroit Tigers in matchups that were on paper favorable for the second seeded club in the American League Central.
The Tigers, who were 9-14 entering the series, came into Cleveland in bad shape and left with a confidence boost after putting up 23 runs against the Indians’ vaunted pitching staff to bring an end to a 20-game losing streak against the Tribe coming into the weekend. Now, the Indians will have to contend with the first place Minnesota Twins over the next three days.
Few expected the Cleveland offense to be the bright spot of the 2020 season with a loaded pitching staff, but the Indians’ woes at the plate continued to drag the team down on Saturday night as the Tribe mustered just two infield singles in a 3-0 shutout against the victorious Minnesota Twins.
Francisco Lindor paced the Indians to an early lead in support of a quality start from Aaron Civale, and the Cleveland bullpen worked out of several jams to secure a 4-3 win in game one of Tuesday’s twinbill from Progressive Field.
Civale, beginning the season on the Indians roster for the first time in his career, worked around a one-out infield single by Yoan Moncada, striking out a pair in the first frame of his 2020 campaign. Facing another second-year right-hander in Dylan Cease, the Indians got to work quickly in the home half after a good at bat from Cesar Hernandez concluded with a single to right. Jose Ramirez worked Cease for seven pitches before flying to center for the first out. Lindor cut and missed on a low changeup for strike one of his at bat, then caught a four-seamer in his nitro zone, sending the pitch well over the wall in right for a two-run blast to put the Indians up early. Carlos Santana followed with an infield single to short before he was stranded there.
We are officially less than one week away from the return of Major League Baseball in Cleveland, as the Indians are set to host the Kansas City Royals in game one of 60 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season on July 24. Follow along as Did The Tribe Win Last Night counts down the days to Opening Day. – BT
Countdown to Opening Day – 4 days
Will this be the year that the Indians’ number four, Bradley Zimmer, remains healthy and an active part of the Major League roster?
Do you know the name James Karinchak? If you’re a Cleveland Indians fan, it may be time to get acquainted.
The Indians made a handful of minor roster moves on Saturday, highlighted by a waiver claim of pitcher Jordan Stephens from the Chicago White Sox.
A 26-year-old right-handed pitcher, Stephens was added to the 40-man roster as a result of the waiver claim and optioned to Double-A Akron. To make room on the 40-man for Stephens, outfielder Bradley Zimmer was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list while rehabbing his right shoulder injury.
In less than a week, the 2019 Major League Baseball season will formally kick off as all 30 teams take the field together. Join Did The Tribe Win Last Night as we continue our long countdown to Opening Day – BT
Countdown to Opening Day – 4 days
Bradley Zimmer, resident number four on the Cleveland Indians roster, suffered the worst kind of sophomore slump in his second season with the Tribe a year ago.
At the age of 25, the former 2014 first round pick made the roster and slotted in as the team’s center fielder, but he got off to a rough start. Through his first eight games, he was hitting just .154 with more than a strikeout per every other trip to the plate (14 in 27 plate appearances), but the modest six-game hitting streak that followed boosted his average 123 points. Over his next ten games, he would get just five hits (with his strikeout rate improving slightly with 12 Ks in 29 plate appearances) and his average for the month settled in at the .240 mark.
For the most part, the Cleveland Indians have survived Cactus League play with a minimal number of injuries. But there have been a few that have changed manager Terry Francona‘s roster construction for next Thursday when the team opens play in Minnesota against the Twins.
The most notable of the bunch was the biggest loss as the Indians settled in to Goodyear, Arizona, for their month and a half stay in the desert in mid-February. The moderate right calf injury suffered by three-time All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor before arriving to camp left many wondering if the 25-year-old would be ready within the seven- to nine-week time table expected for his injury. While there were plenty on the social media landscape calling for Lindor to take it slowly and ease into the season, the young superstar returned to action in minor league camp but has yet to play in an official Cactus League game for Cleveland.
During the six-year tenure of manager Terry Francona, the Cleveland Indians outfield has been a work in progress, piecemealed together and full of platoons for much of that time. That has been especially true during the club’s three consecutive division championships seasons.
The quest to try and put together an outfield befitting a team with title aspirations is not going to end any time soon. In fact, the jobs of President Chris Antonetti and General Manager Mike Chernoff could be even harder this offseason than the past few.
The last couple of winters, the outfield buzz often centered around whether or not Michael Brantley would be healthy or not. However, at least when he was on the field, there was no doubt who would play left field on an everyday basis.
After nearly two months on the shelf, the Cleveland Indians announced on Tuesday that right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall had been activated from the 10-day disabled list.
Chisenhall’s return had been expected, as he had worked his way back through his rehab assignment with stops at Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. The corresponding transaction to create room on the roster for the outfielder was much more surprising, as the Indians optioned center fielder Bradley Zimmer to Columbus.
Cleveland sports fans are going to want a do-over of Tuesday’s efforts.
While the NBA’s Cavs were falling two games behind the Celtics in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals from Boston, the Indians blew two separate four-run leads and a five-run edge later, squandered several bases loaded opportunities, and saw the bullpen implode again in the late innings as a big lead turned into a close game and ended in disaster, as the Detroit Tigers rallied several times and scored the final six runs to win an ugly 9-8 final from Comerica Park.
Some games are hard to recap and Tuesday was a prime example. The Indians (20-21) got off to a great start in the first inning, giving Josh Tomlin plenty of support before he even took the mound. Given the fact that he had not pitched since May 4 and that he has been home-run-happy this season, a big early lead seemed imperative for the Tribe to have any sort of shot at success in the Motor City. They got it, but it would not be enough.
The Indians waited and waited and waited some more, but finally on Tuesday afternoon, they could wait no longer for Bradley Zimmer‘s injuries to heal up.
The Tribe officially placed their starting center fielder on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday, retroactive to May 12, with a left rib contusion. The injury was the end result of a collision with the wall at Yankee Stadium two Saturdays ago. He had missed six games and had two off days since the ill-fated wall encounter, but has still experienced discomfort while swinging. After missing the finale of the series with the Yankees, he played in the second of two games in Milwaukee against the Brewers, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout on May 9. After Thursday’s off day, he missed the entire series against the Kansas City Royals and the opener of the current series with the Detroit Tigers on Monday.