Mike Clevinger and four relievers held Cincinnati to just three hits, while Cleveland baserunners hustled home for a pair of fifth inning runs to give the Indians a 2-0 shutout victory over the Reds on Wednesday night.
There wasn’t much offense to talk about in the third straight matchup between the two Ohio clubs, but the Indians took advantage of their four hits and some aggressive base running to swipe away a win at the expense of the visiting Reds.
A two-run home run by Franmil Reyes in the top of the eighth highlighted a four-run rally for the Cleveland Indians in support of starter Shane Bieber, while Brad Hand pitched a perfect ninth to save a 4-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
The struggling Indians lineup had a different approach during the game, but came away with just three hits against right-hander Tyler Mahle and the Reds bullpen. Two of those hits came in their final two innings at the plate, however, and both were instrumental in putting key runs on the scoreboard.
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before – the Cleveland Indians got a quality start, little run support, and fell in a 3-2 final to the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.
If that gave you a bit of déjà vu here in the 2020 Major League Baseball season, you’re not alone. There were, however, a few differences in the tale of the tape this time around – the opponent was different, the game was delayed two hours and two minutes at the outset by rain, and for the first time this season, the Indians blew a lead in order to find themselves on the short end of the stick.
Quality starting pitching can only get a team so far and the Cleveland Indians are a prime example of that right now. Despite holding the league’s top scoring team to just ten runs over the weekend, the Tribe took a third straight loss on Sunday as the Tribe bats mustered just two hits off of Minnesota relievers in a bullpen game for manager Rocco Baldelli, falling in a 3-1 final from Target Field.
With scheduled starter Homer Bailey scratched from his start and placed on the injured list (retroactive to June 29) with right biceps tendinitis, Baldelli opted to go for a series win over the Indians with a bullpen day. The move paid off as the Indians woes at the plate continued with an abysmal performance in a key early series in the shortened 60-game slate.
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.
Taking advantage of the runner-on-second rule implemented for the 2020 season’s shortened schedule, the Kansas City Royals used a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly against reliever James Karinchak in the top of the tenth, then got three straight strikeouts from Greg Holland in the bottom of the inning with the tying and winning runs on base to hold off the host Cleveland Indians, 3-2, on Saturday afternoon.
In a speedy two hour and 52 minute contest, there was little excitement for either club as both offenses were limited to brief scoring outbursts. The Indians had opportunities late in each of the last two innings, but were unable to come through in the clutch, stranding five men (three in scoring position) in those at bats.
Shane Bieber pitched like he was in midseason form, even though the July 24th contest between the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals marked the first game of the 2020 season. The Tribe bats scratched across a pair of runs to support Bieber’s 14 strikeouts over six scoreless four-hit innings as the Indians blanked the Royals by a 2-0 final from Progressive Field.
Bieber put together a historic effort in the annals of Indians history, surpassing the team’s previous mark for strikeouts in a season-opening performance established by Gary Bell on April 19, 1960, when he struck out a dozen Tigers in a 4-2 loss to Detroit in 15 innings. Bieber tallied his 14 Ks over six innings, while Bell worked ten and one-third innings in that record-setting outing.
The Indians did a thing on Monday (!), coming to terms on a one-year, $6.25 million contract with free agent second baseman Cesar Hernandez. The deal was reported by MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi and ESPN’s Jeff Passan, but had not been confirmed by the Indians at the time of this story.
Cleveland did formally announce on Monday that the limbo status of utility man Mike Freeman, who was previously designated for assignment after the Corey Kluber trade last weekend, had accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Columbus and will be in camp with the club in February as a non-roster invitee.