The Indians dropped their fifth straight game as Cleveland pitching was tagged for five home runs by the Minnesota Twins in an 8-4 loss on Saturday night.
The Tribe showed a little more punch in their bats on Saturday than they had over much of the week, but the Twins bested that performance with five long balls to score all eight of their runs. Cleveland starter Zach Plesac was responsible for three of the homers, but pitched well around those mistakes. The Indians bats could not do enough, scratching out half of their runs in the second half of the game before the Twins’ “Bomba Squad” added big insurance off of Nick Wittgren.
For the second straight week, the Indians and Kansas City Royals will be staring each other down on the diamond, but this time, they will do so in Cleveland at Progressive Field in an important four-game set for the Tribe.
The Indians (25-15) kept pace with the first place Chicago White Sox over the weekend. The Sox hold a half-game lead over the Tribe as they prepare for a series with the Pittsburgh Pirates (13-26), while the Indians will host one of the junior circuit’s worst teams in the Royals. Cleveland took two of three from Milwaukee over the weekend, losing a little ground on Chicago, which has won four in a row.
Cesar Hernandez tied the game in the middle innings and came through once again in the clutch as he delivered the game-winning hit through five infielders to give the Cleveland Indians a walk-off victory against closer Josh Hader and the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-3, on Saturday night.
Hader’s hitless streak of 12 straight games to open the 2020 season came to a close as Cleveland got to him twice in the bottom of the ninth to send the Indians to a big victory over the Brewers in a rare clunker for the Milwaukee closer. It all transpired in the blink of an eye and a five-pitch span as Oscar Mercado laced a hustle double off of the wall in left to start Hader’s night. A wild pitch moved the speedster to third base and with five players standing around the infield looking to cut Mercado down at the plate, Hernandez split the third baseman and shortstop with a screamer through the left side to give the Tribe its first walk-off win of the year.
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.
The big bats of the Minnesota Twins delivered in their usual fashion as a pair of home runs off of Cleveland starter Aaron Civale proved to be the difference in a 3-2 final from Progressive Field on Monday night.
Home runs were the story for both clubs through the first two-thirds of the game as Civale and Kenta Maeda locked into a pitchers’ duel. Both pitchers were coming off of their best outings of the season – Civale allowed a run in a complete game win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, while Maeda carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers.
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.
Triston McKenzie had a historic debut to remember as the 23-year-old right-hander allowed just one run on two hits with ten strikeouts and the Indians offense erupted for six runs over their final three innings at the plate to give Cleveland a 6-1 win on Saturday night from Progressive Field.
It was tough to predict how McKenzie was going to look on the mound for the Indians in the middle game of three against the Tigers. Making his first start in nearly two years after missing the entire 2019 season with a back injury, the young hurler got the call-up for the Indians and lived up to his billing as a top prospect in the Cleveland organization. He limited the Tigers to just two extra bases hits and a walk while striking out ten, putting him in rare company as just the 28th Major League pitcher to reach double digit strikeouts in his first big league appearance.
After a little extra use over the last couple of games, the Cleveland Indians bullpen was due for a break. Aaron Civale was up to providing that extra rest for his teammates, as he allowed just five hits in a complete game 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.
Civale packed his A-game for the Tribe’s series at PNC Park as he made his fifth start of the season in the middle game of three between the Indians and Pirates. He kept his pitch count to a minimum, surpassing his previous career high of seven innings with ease, while effectively using all four quadrants and commanding the bottom of the zone. The Pirates struggled to find their way to first base and only one time on the night did they get a runner into scoring position as Civale captured a big victory.
This week has not gone well for the Cleveland Indians.
Sitting at 10-9 and in third place in the American League Central, two games in back of the first place Minnesota Twins, everything fell apart for the Tribe during a brief two-game homestand with the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday and Wednesday. For the first time this season, the starting rotation went back-to-back games without a quality start. The bullpen was tagged for a handful of runs. The offense mustered just three runs of support as the team took 7-1 and 7-2 losses to the Cubs, which, to be fair, entered as one of the best clubs in Major League Baseball.
Monday’s day off was hardly one free of news about the Cleveland Indians, and while there was a positive piece of information that spread through the social media landscape, there was a far more negative and discouraging chunk of news that shed a bad light on the organization and the potential risk readily present that could cause the 2020 Major League Baseball season from coming to a crashing halt.
First, some of the good news, because it ends with that aforementioned bad stuff. You can ignore that negativity at the end, if that’s more zen for you.
So much for that excitement about the Cleveland offense’s triumphant return. The Indians were blanked on just four hits as the Chicago White Sox claimed a 2-0 win in the series opener from Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday night.
The White Sox didn’t win the game as much as the Indians lost it. With a small village of base runners throughout the game courtesy of eight walks and a hit batter, the Tribe managed just four hits and could not buy a hit with runners in scoring position, instead grounding into two double plays on the night and wasting seven quality innings of one-run ball from Aaron Civale.
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.