An emotionally charged week may have left the Cleveland Indians a little empty on Saturday as the Pittsburgh Pirates outperformed them in all facets in an 8-0 shutout.
With the Pirates playing for seeding in their pursuits of the top pick in next July’s draft at the end of their year, the Indians had some things at stake entering the penultimate game of the 2020 regular season slate. The division title was still up for grabs, but was going to require a sweep of the Pirates while the Cincinnati Reds were going to need to sweep the Minnesota Twins, which would have put the Indians in position for the second or third spot in the bracket. If that fell through, the Indians could still beat out the Chicago White Sox for the second spot in the American League Central, which would net them the fourth seed against the New York Yankees. A couple of losses would drop the Indians to the seventh spot ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays, forced to travel to either Oakland or to the site of the AL Central victors.
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.
The Chicago Cubs showed little rust after their long layoff, routing the Cleveland Indians 7-1 on Tuesday night in the return to the dugout by Terry Francona.
While the Indians welcomed Francona back to the Progressive Field dugout, the day was tarnished by the absence of the game’s scheduled starting pitcher Mike Clevinger, whose failure to abide by team protocols in Chicago followed by a senseless unwillingness to self-report his transgression after another teammate was sent home by the club for the same mistake left him unable to start the series opener between the two clubs. The matchup was already an unfavorable one, with pesky lefty Jon Lester set to oppose. Adam Plutko took the mound for just his second appearance in two weeks with the task of giving the Indians as many pitches as he could to minimize the wear and tear on the bullpen as a result.
Baseball may be at a standstill, but the game goes on in some front offices as teams make some minor moves in preparation for the eventual arrival of the 2020 season.
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 – 53 days
Logan Allen, now number 54 for the Cleveland Indians but wearer of the number 53 during his one-game debut with the club in 2019, could have an interesting future on the shores of Lake Erie.
While the pressure may have been on the Cleveland Indians to hold down their brief spot atop the American League Central Division during their series with the Boston Red Sox this week, any hopes for a World Series repeat from the pride of New England may have rested on having a playoff-caliber series in Cleveland. The Sox kept those fading hopes alive on Wednesday, taking their series at Progressive Field against the Indians by riding two long balls from All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts to oust Shane Bieber by a 5-1 final.
The slumping Red Sox claimed a second game in a tightly fought series between the two clubs. The first two games were decided by late inning rallies – the Red Sox rallied back on Monday, only to be defeated on a walk-off home run from Carlos Santana, while Boston held off a five-run rally by Cleveland to win in extras on Tuesday night on a Jackie Bradley Jr. homer in the top of the tenth.
On Monday afternoon, Trevor Bauer was on the campus of Baldwin-Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, conducting his Wiffleball camp with dozens of youngsters less than 24 hours after catching the public eye after hurling a baseball from behind the Kauffman Stadium pitching mound to the center field batter’s eye.
On Tuesday, he said goodbye to his Cleveland teammates of the last six years as he was dealt across the state to Cincinnati in a reported three-team trade with the Reds and the San Diego Padres.