The depleted Cleveland starting rotation took another hit on Monday, but the Indians bullpen picked up the slack to complete a six-hit 4-0 shutout of the Chicago Cubs in the first of two from Wrigley Field.
The latest in the growing list of walking wounded for the Tribe is Aaron Civale, who exited in the middle of an at bat in the fifth inning on Monday night. The last man standing in the starting rotation left with what was described as a right middle finger injury, but four relievers handled the rest of the load to protect a three-run lead to get the team back to ten games over the .500 mark.
The Tribe pitching staff squandered a gift three-run first inning as the New York Yankees tied the game early and used three more runs late to take and pad their lead on the way to a 6-3 win at Cleveland.
If Terry Francona‘s wish when blowing out the candles on his 62nd birthday cake on Thursday was for an Indians win against the Bronx Bombers or at least a good offensive showing, that wish failed to come true as the Cleveland lineup missed several chances to add on to their early run support of starter Aaron Civale.
Logan Allen settled down after a rough first inning to give Cleveland five strong innings on the mound while his offense gave him just enough support for his first victory as an Indian in a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday afternoon.
Cleveland won its fourth straight game, improving to 5-3 and moving into first place in the American League Central courtesy of a balanced game that saw contributions from all parts of the roster. Allen did his part to keep his teammates in the game before the bullpen contained a Tigers lineup that refused to go away. The Tribe offense chipped in with some early run support and added on two big runs late thanks to some bad throwing decisions by Detroit right fielder Nomar Mazara.
Even in a new look, less threatening Cleveland lineup, Jose Ramirez is going to see a few pitches per game that he can put a good swing on. He made the most of those pitches on Wednesday, as he hit a pair of timely two-run home runs to power the Indians over the Kansas City Royals, 4-2, from Progressive Field.
Inconsistent offensive production has been the story as anticipated for the Cleveland baseball club through its first four games and the same looked to be the case on Wednesday until the heroics from the little Ramirez, who displayed his underrated and underappreciated MVP-caliber results on the diamond once again in lifting the Tribe to victory. He picked up his fellow award winning teammate, Shane Bieber, who put up another quality effort on the mound, but left minutes before the Royals tied the game up in the seventh.
It was another tough day at the plate for Cleveland as a quality start by Zach Plesac was wasted in a 5-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Saturday afternoon.
After putting up just two runs in support of a quality start from Shane Bieber on Thursday, the offensive efforts fell short again in game two of the 2021 campaign as the concerning Cleveland lineup card had little punch to it again. Plesac kept the game close in six innings of work on the mound, but the Tigers broke the game open late with a three-run seventh to erase all doubt.
It was a nail-biting finish from the corner of Carnegie and Ontario on Monday night as the Cleveland Indians and closer Brad Hand held off the Chicago White Sox’s ninth inning threat to capture a 7-4 win in the series opener.
The Tribe’s All-Star closer came on as the fourth Tribe pitcher of the day looking to slam the door with a three-run lead. Rookie nine-hitter Nick Madrigal fought off several pitches to work the count back to even before dropping in a single to shallow center to lead off the inning. Tim Anderson launched a rocket deep to center; Delino DeShields raced back to the warning track and leapt, snagging the blast from the air at the top of the fence for the first out. Yoan Moncada grounded to Jose Ramirez’s left and off of his glove into left field for a fielder’s choice and error, bringing the tying run to the plate. James McCann, hitting for an injured Yasmani Grandal, fouled off several pitches before watching a high slider on the outside edge for a called third strike for out number two. Jose Abreu, the White Sox’s last hope and more than capable of tying the game up with one swing, left the bat on the shoulder for a called third strike on the outside corner to give the Tribe a big first win in the four-game set between the two clubs this week.
When things are going bad, teams have a tendency of finding new ways to lose. That was exactly the case on Tuesday night in Chicago, where the visiting Clevelanders lost on a bases loaded hit by pitch in the bottom of the ninth to give the Cubs a 6-5 walk-off victory.
Trailing by a 5-3 count in the top of the ninth, the Indians pulled off a rally that felt improbable given the club’s play of late. Facing closer Jeremy Jeffress, Josh Naylor walked on five pitches. Delino DeShields, with three hits to his credit already on the night, grounded slowly to third to move the runner into scoring position. Jeffress fell behind Francisco Lindor 2-0 before the Tribe shortstop caught a sinker thigh-high and out over the plate. He lofted a fly ball the opposite way and just over the left field wall to tie the game at five. Mike Freeman followed with a walk before Jose Ramirez grounded into a double play.
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.
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.
Carlos Santana’s three-run home run down the left field line in the tenth inning edged the Cleveland Indians past the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-3, on Tuesday night.
Santana has had a flare for the dramatic at times throughout his career and Tuesday night was again one of those nights. Struggling at the plate for the majority of the season to date, Santana stepped to the plate against left-hander Sam Howard. Cesar Hernandez, who struck out to end the ninth, was the designated runner at second base. Jose Ramirez opened the inning with an eight-pitch battle with Howard, fouling off three straight pitches before striking out swinging. Francisco Lindor was plunked to put two on for Santana, who took a first pitch ball low before catching a fastball in on the hands. He whipped the bat around and yanked the ball high and deep down the left field line while falling off balance in the batter’s box. With Chief Wahoo peeking out from the top of his unbuttoned jersey top, Santana stopped on his jog towards first, leaned as if trying to move the ball with his body, and briefly took a step back towards home plate before the home run call went up, beginning his slow trot around the bases to cap his three-run blast.
The series finale from Comerica Park between the Indians and Tigers on Sunday was hardly a clinic in pitching, but the game did provide plenty of fireworks on and off the field as Cleveland used five homers to push past Detroit, 8-5.
Cleveland (13-9) used a well-timed power display to pick up starter Adam Plutko while the bullpen allowed just two runs over six and one-third innings of needed relief. It was more of the same from the Tigers (9-10), which are still looking for answers to solve the riddle that has become the Indians lineup and pitching staff. Their fifth straight loss extended their losing streak against the Indians to 20 consecutive games, dating back to last April.
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.