Baseball takes little time off in between seasons, so neither can we. Follow along at Did the Tribe Win Last Night as we count down to March 26, when the Cleveland Indians host the Detroit Tigers for game one of the 2020 season. – BT
Countdown to Opening Day – 63 days
While not necessarily a number one would expect to see on the diamond, 63 has had some good years on the shores of Cleveland. Six different men have worn it during a Major League game while representing the Indians, including left-handed reliever Josh Smith a season ago.
The Indians rallied back from a 6-1 deficit, but fell in extras as the Red Sox’s Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in the go-ahead run with a solo homer in the top of the tenth inning against Cleveland’s Nick Wittgren as Boston pulled out a 7-6 victory.
It was a tough way for things to end for the Tribe after crawling all the way back out of a five-run hole felt more than midway through the contest in a matchup against the struggling Chris Sale. He was backed by some early run support against Mike Clevinger, who was unable to make it through five innings.
Cleveland’s Zach Plesac pitched well enough to win on Sunday afternoon, but so too did Chicago’s Lucas Giolito, as the White Sox starter moved to 8-1 on the season with seven and one-third dominant innings on the mound in a 2-0 six-hit shutout over the Indians.
Plesac earned himself another start with seven innings of one-run, four-hit baseball in his second Major League outing, but he was ousted by Giolito, who got one run of support early on the ninth home run of the season by Tim Anderson. The Indians had few opportunities to strike through against Giolito, who kept the bats befuddled with a devastating fastball/changeup mix that made some of the Cleveland hitters look foolish in a two and a half hour series finale from Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Indians and White Sox are now both 29-30 and tied for second place in the American League Central, light years away from the scorching hot Minnesota Twins, which held on for a 9-7 win in Tampa to maintain an 11.5 game lead in the division.
The Indians will need another starting pitcher next week.
Cleveland announced on Saturday morning that pitcher Adam Plutko and catcher Eric Haase had been optioned to Triple-A Columbus. The Tribe made a pair of moves with the vacated roster spots, recalling outfielder Greg Allen from Columbus while also purchasing the contract of left-handed reliever Josh Smith from their top farm affiliate.
The Cleveland Indians added to their farm depth, as the club announced three minor league deals with free agents on Saturday.
Most notable and experienced of the trio is outfielder Trayce Thompson, who has spent parts of the last four seasons in the Majors. Left-hander Josh Smith signs after spending last season in the Boston Red Sox’s minor league systemb, and right-handed reliever James Hoyt rejoins the Indians organization one day after not being tendered a Major League contract by Cleveland.
All three players received invitations to spring training as part of the terms of their contracts.