One day away from the start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season and two days away from the Cleveland Indians’ home opener against the Kansas City Royals, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night continue our countdown until the long awaited first pitch of the pandemic-shortened campaign. – BT
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 2
For the first time since early in the 2012 season, the number two returned to the diamond for the Indians on the back of a player.
Outfielder Leonys Martin moved from the unlucky 13 into the 2 during spring training, with Hanley Ramirez taking up the former. Martin had previously worn the number two in three seasons with the Texas Rangers from 2013 to 2015 and had only once ever had a number in the big leagues that did not include a two in it (when he wore 13 for the Indians in 2018).
Thursday was an off day for the Indians, but it was business as usual in the front office as the team announced that reliever Jon Edwards’ fifth stint with the club this season had come to an end with his option to Triple-A Columbus. In a separate move, Leonys Martin, designated for assignment on June 22, was given his release from the organization.
The Indians resolved some of the lack of playing time in the outfield on Saturday as the team designated Leonys Martin for assignment.
The initial basis for the roster move for the Indians was to create room on both the 25- and 40-man rosters for another starting pitcher with Mike Clevinger missing his turn in the rotation with a sprained left ankle. Aaron Civale, a 24-year right-hander pitching for Triple-A Columbus, was tabbed for the start but needed to be added to the roster. The Indians had to make the tough decision to remove yet another player from the mix in the clubhouse and this time it was the veteran Martin.
For four innings, the Indians could not strike through against left-hander Gregory Soto, fresh up from Triple-A Toledo to head up a bullpen game for the Tigers. Once he left the mound, the Indians put together a big inning and used another strong pitching performance from Bieber, who struck out a dozen, to hold on for victory.
Jake Bauers hit for the first Indians cycle since 2016 and the offense used a season-high eight-run fourth inning to rout the Detroit Tigers in a 13-4 win on Friday night.
The Cleveland offense enjoyed its series opener at Comerica Park despite losing an early 2-0 lead. After falling behind in the third, the team batted around while putting up eight runs in the fourth and tacked on three more runs for good measure to easily defeat the host Tigers. Six different Tribe hitters had multi-hit games, including a three-hit day from Roberto Perez and a cycle for Bauers, who needed his last at bat in the eighth to become the ninth Cleveland player in the 119-year history of the organization to get a single, double, triple, and homer in the same game.
The Indians rallied back from a 5-0 hole on Sunday and tied the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on the second error of the inning by the Yankees, but two doubles in the tenth gave New York a 7-6 win over Cleveland.
With Masahiro Tanaka pushed back from his scheduled start on Sunday due to the birth of his second child, the Yankees went with a bullpen game. The Indians essentially did the same as Shane Bieber was chased from the mound with just two outs in the second inning as the Yankees put up an early five-spot to take a big lead.
After a sloppy mess of a game on Friday night, the Cleveland Indians looked a little bit crisper on Saturday afternoon, using a pair of homers from Carlos Santana and Leonys Martin to pace the club to a 5-2 win over the Chicago White Sox from Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Indians needed to burn through five bullpen arms, but the quintet put up five innings of one-run relief with four strikeouts, two walks, and two hits allowed. They were thrust into earlier action as Jefry Rodriguez had to leave his start early with right lat tightness after allowing one run on two hits with three walks and three strikeouts in four innings of work.
The Tampa Bay Rays used four home runs, including one of an unconventional variety, to rout the Cleveland Indians by a 7-2 final on Thursday night in the series opener from Progressive Field.
The Rays (29-18) took an aggressive approach at the plate against Indians’ right-hander Adam Plutko to jump out to an early lead, then used the middle innings to tack on plenty of insurance while the Cleveland bats were baffled by left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who was called up by Tampa prior to the game. He worked a career-high seven and one-third innings for his third win of the year. The Indians (25-24) dropped their fourth straight game on their eleven-game homestand and fell further in back of the homer-happy Minnesota Twins in the American League Central.
Trevor Bauer got back on track on Saturday afternoon in Oakland, but the Cleveland offense and defense both derailed as the A’s wasted an Indians rally in the ninth with one of their own to walk off for the second straight game, 3-2.
Bauer fulfilled his role as the team’s active number one starter, but a quiet day at the plate from the offense and an adventure in the field with a pair of errors and several other mental mistakes cost the Indians a chance to even up the series in Oakland. The Indians were unable to break through against Athletics starting pitcher Aaron Brooks (who took the mound in the second after the unanticipated opening effort from reliever Liam Hendriks), but they hung in and rallied in the ninth before falling with one out in the bottom of the frame.
One swing can end a slump in a hurry and the Cleveland Indians will hope that Wednesday night marks such an instance, as Jose Ramirez blasted a no-doubt-about-it two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to send the Tribe home with a 5-3 win.
It was a much needed sight for the Indians and their fans who have been waiting for the perennial MVP candidate to kick out of a skid dating back to the latter months of last season. And the timing could not have been better for the Tribe, as they entered the night with just one run scored and 21 surrendered over the previous 27 innings of work.
Early season pressures are beginning to mount for the Indians as they come home to Cleveland to host the Seattle Mariners in the final three meetings between the two clubs this season.
Things are only getting harder for the Indians (16-13), which will need to figure out how to function without two talented starting pitchers missing from the rotation. The Indians return to Progressive Field for a seven-game homestand after splitting their last road trip with three wins and three losses. Cleveland has split its last three series and has not won a series outright since sweeping their three-game set in Seattle in the middle of April. The offensive woes of the club have not improved as the month of April progressed, and after a game in May, the club still ranks last in the league in hits, batting average, slugging, OPS, doubles, and triples, and is the second-worst team in runs scored, on-base percentage, and homers.
For the second week in a row, the Indians and Marlins will square up on the diamond as the Tribe heads to Miami for a quick two-game rematch with the fish from Florida.
The Indians (15-12) started their road trip strong with two solid pitching performances on Thursday and Friday to take the first two games of their four-game series with the Houston Astros, but with a chance to earn a series win over the final two days, the team could not deliver in a pair of close contests. The Indians dropped a 4-3 decision in ten innings on Saturday on a walk-off pinch-hit home run to the first batter of the inning, and a four-run Astros rally in the seventh inning on Sunday spoiled a strong start from Carlos Carrasco. The hitting woes have continued for the Tribe this season, as they own the worst batting average (.213) in the American League and have hit the second-fewest homers. The Indians start the series two and a half games in back of first place Minnesota in the AL Central.