Tyler Naquin’s RBI-double in the 12th inning broke a 1-1 tie and Brad Hand benefited from a game-ending base running blunder as the Cleveland Indians won a 2-1 contest against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday afternoon.
The middle game of three from Busch Stadium provided no clinic in baseball fundamentals as neither team was particularly sharp. From start to finish, there were missed opportunities on both sides. There were mistakes on the base paths and behind the plate. At the dish, the two clubs combined to ground into four double plays and left 19 men on base while contributing a 3-for-29 showing with runners in scoring position. Twelve pitchers combined for 23 strikeouts and eleven walks while needing 369 pitches over 12 long innings of work.
It feels fitting that Major League Baseball honors one of the legends of the game on Friday given the current unrest plaguing the country.
Jackie Robinson Day, typically recognized on April 15 of each season, did not get its due this year as baseball was on the bench due to the coronavirus. Now with play well under way and half of the season already in the books, MLB will take pause to honor the first African American to reach the big league level back in 1947. As is done every year, the number 42 will come out of league-wide retirement as all players will don the digits on Friday.
Three Detroit long balls and strong pitching until the ninth paced the Tigers to a 7-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday afternoon.
It was another short outing for Carlos Carrasco, who was shelled in the fourth inning by the Tigers in a quick extra base hit barrage that turned a tie game into a three-run Tribe deficit. Carrasco left after just three and one-third innings and turned the game over to Logan Allen, who allowed the visiting club to tack on three more runs, which loomed large in the ninth when the Indians rallied for three runs in what was by that point a six-run hole.
It was too little too late as the Indians dropped a series they should have won to fall to 17-11 on the season.
It is amazing sometimes just what a week can do for a team.
Just keeping their heads above water in a contentious American League Central Division a week ago, the Cleveland Indians sat at 10-9 with a favorable six-game road trip set in Detroit and Pittsburgh. A week later, the Indians are 16-9, winners of six straight with some impressive and needed victories to pull the club back to within a half-game of first place Minnesota.
Carlos Santana’s three-run home run down the left field line in the tenth inning edged the Cleveland Indians past the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-3, on Tuesday night.
Santana has had a flare for the dramatic at times throughout his career and Tuesday night was again one of those nights. Struggling at the plate for the majority of the season to date, Santana stepped to the plate against left-hander Sam Howard. Cesar Hernandez, who struck out to end the ninth, was the designated runner at second base. Jose Ramirez opened the inning with an eight-pitch battle with Howard, fouling off three straight pitches before striking out swinging. Francisco Lindor was plunked to put two on for Santana, who took a first pitch ball low before catching a fastball in on the hands. He whipped the bat around and yanked the ball high and deep down the left field line while falling off balance in the batter’s box. With Chief Wahoo peeking out from the top of his unbuttoned jersey top, Santana stopped on his jog towards first, leaned as if trying to move the ball with his body, and briefly took a step back towards home plate before the home run call went up, beginning his slow trot around the bases to cap his three-run blast.
The Detroit Tigers provided the Cleveland Indians with everything that they needed over the weekend, getting the team back on track after a tough portion of the schedule. Now, they continue their road trip against another lackluster opponent, heading to Pittsburgh’s PNC Park for three games with the Pirates.
The Indians moved to 13-9 on the year with a strong three-game sweep of the Tigers to extend their winning streak over Detroit to 20 straight decisions, now within striking distance of the most consecutive wins against one opponent in Major League Baseball history. Cleveland got its share of strong starting pitching and quality work out of the bullpen, but the bats came to life against a shaky pitching staff in Motown, dropping 21 runs on the Tigers arms during the three-game set.
A moving strike zone is hard to combat when you are already struggling with your own control on the mound. Carlos Carrasco fought through command issues on Wednesday, while the combination of a rough performance from the Cleveland bullpen and another lackluster showing from the Indians bats against Kyle Hendricks and three Chicago relievers helped push the Cubs to a 7-2 win at Progressive Field.
The Indians matched the Cubs in the hit department, but nine free passes by Cleveland pitching helped increase base traffic and opportunities for the opposing Chicago club, already one of the top offense in the game today without extra help. Neither team was all that impressive with runners in scoring position, but the Cubs came through when it counted with several big hits, including a pair of homers from the big boppers at the top of their lineup. The Indians squandered scoring chances throughout the night, doing little to help their cause.
In the end, it marked another game where the Indians faltered against a top-tier opponent.
The Indians scored ten runs – yes, you read that right – in the seventh inning with a 3-0 lead to back Carlos Carrasco and the Cleveland bullpen in a 13-0 three-hit shutout over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday night.
Questions have plagued the Indians offense throughout the season, but the lineup erupted in a cathartic seventh inning in systematically tearing apart the Reds’ bullpen. Carrasco gave the Tribe his third straight quality start and limited the Cincinnati lineup to just one hit over six shutout innings of work and the Cleveland bullpen extended the team’s scoreless body of work against the Reds bats to 23 consecutive innings, dating back to the fourth inning on Tuesday.
With rains falling heavily in northeast Ohio and scattered thunderstorms forecast for the Cincinnati area throughout the day on Monday, the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds will be hoping to avoid any doubleheader silliness to open their four-game series split between the two cities this week.
The Indians (5-5) will be the road team first, heading to the Queen City for Monday and Tuesday games at Great American Ball Park. The club has not had the best of weeks and is struggling mightily at the plate, squandering some consistent quality start pitching unlike anything seen in quite some time. Through ten games, the Indians starting rotation has fired nine quality starts, but the offense has mustered just 26 total runs of offense in those games, leading to the subpar overall record through the first sixth of the shortened season schedule.
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.
Every game feels all the more important in a 60-game schedule, which means this week’s four-game series between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins could have a significant effect on how the American League Central Division plays out in 2020.
The Indians (4-2) are off to a hot start, led by incredible starting pitching performances from six different starters. The team could very well be sitting at a 6-0 record, but a late loss in extra innings in the second game of the season against the Kansas City Royals and a tough defeat on Wednesday night when the Chicago White Sox tagged Brad Hand for four runs in the ninth have left the Indians a half game out of first place, trailing only the Twins.