The Cleveland Indians may welcome the chance to get out of town for a change.
After a brutal 1-6 homestand against the Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Angels, the Indians (63-55) move on to Minnesota to start a nine game road trip against the Twins. They remain seven games out of the American League Central Division race, but are four back in the wild card hunt.
The Twins (52-63) will play their third straight series against an AL Central rival. After dropping two of three in Kansas City, they beat up on the White Sox in Chicago over the weekend.
The Cleveland Indians have been as successful as their starting pitching this season. It’s not a shocking claim as starting pitching may be the most important aspect of any team’s 25-man roster.
Indians starting pitchers had a 5.92 ERA in the recent home stand, the one resulting in a 1-6 record and dropping them four games in the Central Division standings and in the Wild Card race. But worse yet, the rotation appears to be headed for at least a mild shake up.
Just one inning. That’s all it takes.
It was just one inning that sunk the Indians against the Tigers a couple times this week and that theme continued Friday night as the Tribe suffered a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels. Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir allowed all five runs in the first inning and Jered Weaver kept the Tribe at bay for the remainder of the game.
Kazmir, who was released by the Angels in 2011, was not welcomed by some of his former teammates in the top of the first inning. J.B. Shuck and Collin Cowgill each singled to start the game. After Mike Trout walked, Mark Trumbo singled to left to plate both Shuck and Cowgill, giving the Angels a 2-0 lead.
Two and a half games behind Detroit and coming off a shutout in last night’s series opener, the Cleveland Indians attempted to regain their winning ways and defeat Detroit in game two of the four game series. However, the Indians could not gain momentum after a hot start from Detroit and lost with a final score of 9-4 Tigers.
The game paired Carlos Carrasco again Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez was named the winning pitching and is now 7-5 with a 2.70 ERA. Carrasco, the losing pitcher, is now 0-4 with a 9.10 ERA. Newly-named All-Star Jason Kipnis‘ 16-game hitting streak was also broken as he went 0-4 on the night.
After a successful, yet somehow disappointing, 7-4 record on their eleven-game road trip through Baltimore, Chicago, and Kansas City, the Cleveland Indians return home and welcome the American League Central-leading Detroit Tigers to Progressive Field.
The Tigers (46-38) may have snapped out of the funk they were in at the end of June. After starting the month 13-8, they dropped five of their last six to the Los Angeles Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays. They are 6-2 on the season against the Indians, including 2-0 in Cleveland.
The Indians (45-40) dropped two of three in Kansas City against the Royals to lose their first series since being swept by the Tigers towards the end of their eight-game losing streak in June. They will end the unofficial first half of the season at home with ten straight games before the All-Star break, beginning with four against Detroit, followed by three against Toronto, and three more against Kansas City.
Friday night’s doubleheader sweep by the Cleveland Indians over the host Chicago White Sox proved a lot of things about the Indians ballclub.
Along with the never-say-die attitude, the heart, and the resiliency that they showed over the course of 18 grueling innings, a rain delay, and nearly eight hours of game action, two young pitchers also showed that they are not quite ready for the big league stage.
You wouldn’t believe it, even if you were awake to see it.
Down three runs, and with nine hours of baseball already in the books for the day, the Cleveland Indians came back with four runs in the top of the ninth inning for what may be the game of the year to date. The Tribe won 9-8 on a ninth-inning comeback, increasing their record to 42-38 and moving them just two games out of first place in the AL Central.
A lengthy rain delay in their finale with the Orioles prolonged the Cleveland Indians’ stay in Baltimore into the midnight hour, prior to departing for four games in three days in Chicago against the southside White Sox.
The Indians (40-38) have not lost a series since ending their eight-game losing skid to begin June. In their last five series, the club has won four three-game series and split on a four-game set during the week with the O’s. Capitalizing on a recent three-game losing streak by the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland has pulled within two and a half games of the lead in the American League Central.
The White Sox (32-43) enter the weekend series with Cleveland nine games behind front-running Detroit for the divisional lead and nine and a half games out of the wild card race in the AL. Reports Thursday evening indicated the club has made all players, with the exception of starting pitcher Chris Sale and first baseman Paul Konerko, available for trade and that several players have already been discussed.
The Minnesota Twins did a better job of taking advantage of opportunities than the Cleveland Indians Sunday afternoon as they avoided a sweep, defeating the Tribe 5-3.
Carlos Carrasco did not have the same control as he did five days ago against Kansas City and the Twins quickly broke him down, plating runs in the first and fifth innings to take control of the game. Pedro Hernandez was able to give the Twins a solid five innings and avoid the big inning in a spot start.
Another suddenly hot American League Central opponent will come to the shores of Lake Erie this weekend, as the Cleveland Indians host the Minnesota Twins.
The Twins (33-36) have won four of their last five, including their three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox at home at Target Field. They are 10-7 in June.
The Indians (36-35) have won three consecutive series immediately following their eight-game losing streak earlier in the month. They are 7-10 in June but reclaimed second place in the Central after briefly losing their grip on it at the beginning of their series with Kansas City.
On Monday night the Indians got a taste of what could be from Carlos Carrasco. He pitched 7.1 innings giving up just one run on four hits. He only struck out four, but he walked none and nearly cut his ERA in half. After getting shellacked in his first two Major League starts of the season and coming off Tommy John surgery that has kept him off a Major League field since August 2011, many had begun to give up on the hard throwing right hander. There may just be hope yet for Carrasco as his last outing was a fantastic one. Many may call it a fluke, and it is hard to tell what we can expect form him going forward, but there are ways to see what may lay ahead. We can delve into the raw numbers and see trends and patterns that are repeatable; we can also see differences in performance. The latter is what we will explore to determine of Carrasco’s last start was simply a fluke or if there is hope for his future.
There are three major aspects of pitching that will be explored to determine the difference in Carrasco in each of his three starts. Those three aspects are pitch outcomes, pitch selection, and release point. If Monday nights start was indeed a fluke, then nothing should be different about any of those three aspects in each of his starts; but if there is indeed something different that can be seen in Monday night that was not there in his previous starts, then that may indicate that a change for the better is in place.
Carrasco pitched into the eighth inning, not allowing a run until he had already left the game, but suffered a no-decision, just like Shields as the Royals won the game late, 2-1. The Tribe’s bullpen—that was once a strength—coughed up another lead in a late inning situation.
It was a game of a seasoned veteran pitching just like one, keeping his team in the game. Meanwhile, someone who likely should have established himself as a mainstay in the rotation quite some time ago may have finally asserted himself.