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 – 62 days
Nearly a year ago, Nick Wittgren’s baseball career took an unexpected turn when the Miami Marlins designated him for assignment after working each of the previous three seasons in regular duty in the team’s bullpen. On February 4, he was dealt to Cleveland for fellow pitcher Jordan Milbrath.
The Indians gave up a 4-1 lead in the middle innings as the Philadelphia Phillies used eight unanswered runs to defeat Cleveland by a 9-4 count on Saturday night.
With every win valuable down the stretch for the playoff contending Tribe, it was a tough blow to the team’s chances of October baseball on Saturday night. An early three-run lead went for naught as the pitching staff could not protect the advantage while the offense disappeared after putting up a four-spot in the first two frames. A loss by the Minnesota Twins kept the Indians (91-64) within four games in the American League Central, but a two-run home run in extras by the Tampa Bay Rays gave them a walk-off win over Boston and a full game lead over the Indians for the second AL Wild Card spot.
Cleveland rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth, including a three-run blast from Franmil Reyes for his second homer of the afternoon, to tie the game at eight, but Kansas City’s Ryan O’Hearn matched his feat with his second deep drive of the day as the Royals edged the Indians by a 9-8 final in ten innings on Sunday afternoon.
In the series final between the two clubs, the Indians fought back constantly throughout the day after falling in an early 3-0 hole after three innings, but they simply ran out of time and outs as the Royals held on after scoring their sixth run off of the Indians bullpen in the top of the tenth, moments after the Cleveland matched KC’s run total at eight with a four-run frame.
In a game marred by ejections of three members of the Yankees, New York used four long balls off of Cleveland’s Zach Plesac and the Indians bullpen to claim a 6-5 lead on Saturday afternoon.
In a trend of late, the disgruntled Yankees dugout got chippy once again in the sixth inning when minor league call-up umpire Ben May called outfielder Cameron Maybin out on strikes. Maybin, who played several months with Cleveland’s Triple-A Columbus affiliate this season, spoke briefly with May after a pitch that appeared to be off the plate before walking back to the dugout. Yankees manager Aaron Boone burst from the same place and got into a heated discussion with May, but ultimately returned to the dugout for a moment before coming back out. Crew chief Tom Hallion attempted to intervene, but more Yankees players were barking from the dugout towards first base umpire Phil Cuzzi. Boone was tossed, as was anger monster Brett Gardner, who slammed his bat against the roof of the dugout in yet another childish display from the veteran outfielder. He was eventually held back by several Yankees coaches after climbing over the railing to argue with Cuzzi.
Sunday’s starter CC Sabathia was also ejected before things returned to some sense of normalcy.
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.
Mike Clevinger dominated for six quality innings with a dozen strikeouts in his best start since returning from the injured list and the Cleveland Indians tacked on five runs over their final two trips to the plate to claim a series win over the Detroit Tigers in a 7-2 final on Wednesday night from Progressive Field.
Clevinger opened the season looking like a pitcher possessed, but he has had mixed results since returning from a nearly two and a half month stint on the injured list after injuring a back muscle on April 7 in his second start of the season. A return trip to the IL with an ankle sprain slowed him down further, but on Wednesday he fired his second quality start since that latter time on the shelf and shut down the Detroit offense in his first start against the Tigers this season.
Trevor Bauer looked like the pitcher of old as he whiffed 12 Kansas City batters over six and two-thirds innings to lead the Cleveland Indians to a 5-3 win in the rubber match with the Royals on Wednesday afternoon.
Bauer’s mixed numbers this season looked to be in the rearview Wednesday as the Indians claimed another series win, continuing an impressive month of June. The team moved back to a season-high eight games over the .500 mark at 44-36 with a win in the club’s final home game before the All-Star break and improved to 16-7 in the month with an encouraging +41 run differential (126 runs scored versus 85 runs allowed).
Trevor Bauer survived some early troubles, aided by defensive miscues, and was provided with a key four-run third inning as the Cleveland Indians guaranteed at least a season split with the Miami Marlins with a 7-4 win on Tuesday night.
The Indians closed out the first full month of April by getting back into the win column to end the opening stretch of the season with a 16-12 mark. They needed a big third inning to support their starter, who provided seven innings of work after some early damage by the opposing Marlins (8-21).
A solo homer from Jake Bauers in the fifth inning marked the only time a base runner crossed the plate on Wednesday night as Carlos Carrasco and Nick Wittgren combined on a three-hit shutout to complete the three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners in a 1-0 victory from T-Mobile Park.
With Carrasco’s sloppy start to the season, the dangerous and prolific home run hitting Mariners club seemed to be a bad matchup for the Tribe’s number three starter, but he came out firing heat while shutting down Seattle over seven fantastic innings of three-hit baseball. Bauers provided all of the scoring that he would need, while Wittgren worked two perfect innings of relief with closer Brad Hand unavailable to lock down Cleveland’s eleventh win of the season.
In a corresponding move, the Indians designated pitcher A.J. Cole for assignment to create a space on the 40-man roster.