In one of the most anticlimactic playoff pursuits in the 120-year history of the Cleveland Indians franchise, Jose Ramirez found a way to make it a little extra special on Tuesday night. Ramirez’s three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the tenth inning capped a four-run frame and sent the Indians home a 5-3 walk-off winner on Tuesday night, reducing the team’s magic number for a postseason berth to zero in memorable fashion.
The Indians fell behind two runs in the top of the tenth inning as the White Sox knocked in a pair against reliever Phil Maton to break a 1-1 tie. Designated runner James McCann opened the inning at second and watched as Maton won an eight-pitch exchange with Luis Robert, punching out the young star for out number one. Adam Engel, better known for his defensive work than his bat, worked the count full before driving the seventh pitch of his at bat to the gap for an RBI-triple, putting the White Sox on top for the first time on the night, 2-1. Nick Madrigal singled through the pulled in infield to score Engel to make it 3-1 before Maton got out of the inning.
Trying to protect a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Indians bullpen was tagged by the Tigers bats for four runs as Cleveland lost a 5-2 game in Detroit on Saturday night.
After coming back from an early one-run deficit, the Indians had held the lead since a two-run third pushed the club in front, 2-1. After three scoreless innings of relief from Cal Quantrill and Nick Wittgren, the Tribe turned to Phil Maton for the eighth, but he immediately ran into trouble. He walked the leadoff man Harold Castro, who was lifted for pinch-runner Derek Hill. Maton struck out Jorge Bonifacio for the first out, but his next pitch to Niko Goodrum was blooped into left for a base hit. Eric Haase, the former Indians catcher, singled to center to push in the tying run, knotting the game at two. Daz Cameron, the struggling rookie, got a hit for the second straight at bat, singling to right to score Goodrum from third to give the Tigers their first lead since the third. Miguel Cabrera pinch-hit for Isaac Paredes and drew a walk to load the bases. Cam Hill took over for Maton and promptly walked Victor Reyes to force in Haase, making it a 4-2 Tigers lead. Willi Castro lofted a fly ball to shallow right field. Tyler Naquin made the catch near the foul line and tried to throw to the plate on the run. Carlos Santana cut the ball on what may have been a close play at the plate, allowing Cameron to score to make it a 5-2 game. Jeimer Candelario flied to center to strand a pair.
Some botched fundamentals kept the Indians off of the scoreboard in the top of the tenth, while everything fell into place for the Cubs in the home half. Ian Happ opened the inning at second as the designated runner and moved to third on a single to left-center by Kris Bryant. Anthony Rizzo was intentionally walked to set up the force at home. Maton struck out Willson Contreras on three straight and got Kyle Schwarber swinging for out number two. Maton got ahead of Baez on two fastballs, but his 0-2 curveball on the outside edge was yanked into shallow left field for the walk-off hit with Happ scoring the winning run.
“Why does everyone talk about the past? All that counts is tomorrow’s game.” – Roberto Clemente
Extra outs given to the Kansas City Royals, defensive miscues for a second straight night by the usually staunch Cleveland defense, and a missing Indians offense added up to a 3-0 Tribe loss on Wednesday night.
On a day that Major League Baseball honored the life and legacy of legendary Pittsburgh Pirate Roberto Clemente, the Indians forgot how to do offense and defense, two particular pieces of the game of baseball that the beloved outfielder is well remembered for. On a day that the Milwaukee Brewers ran up 19 runs on the Detroit Tigers and the Atlanta Braves plated eleven in one inning against the New York Mets, the Indians were blanked on six hits by a pitching staff not exactly well-known for dominance this season.
The Milwaukee Brewers scored six runs off of the Cleveland bullpen in the seventh and eighth innings to rout the Indians by a 7-1 final from Progressive Field on Friday night.
The Indians got another good start from Carlos Carrasco, but were unable to do much of anything against Brewers starter Corbin Burnes and two Milwaukee relievers as the Tribe offense was shut down in a familiar display in the series opener from Cleveland on Friday. The Indians offense mustered just four hits and a pair of walks, while the bullpen was tagged for six runs in relief of a quality start from Carrasco.
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.
Mike Clevinger replicated some of the wrong parts of his debut effort in his second start of the season on Friday night, as he was tagged for four early runs in a 4-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
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 – 88 Days
Reliever Phil Maton added his name to the exclusive club of 88s in Tribe history when he took the mound for Cleveland on August 15 of last season. He joined a short list of previous members of that group, which included utility man Rene Gonzales (1994) and fellow reliever Josh Outman (2014).
Jason Kipnis enjoyed his return to Citi Field, but the rest of the Clevelanders in town could not say the same as the New York Mets spoiled the Indians’ first trip to the ten-year old ball park with a 9-2 win on Tuesday.
A day off did little for the Tribe after splitting a tough four-game series against the crosstown Yankees over the weekend. A 15-minute hop across the city brought the Tribe to Queens as Cleveland knocked off one of two remaining ball parks across the 30-team league that it had yet to play in (Atlanta’s SunTrust Park is the last active stadium remaining that the Indians have yet to play at). Kipnis, who represented the American League there in the 2013 All-Star Game, had two of the Indians’ six hits and scored both runs in his first game there since that Midsummer Classic, but the rest of the offense was held in check despite plenty of opportunities with runners in scoring position against Mets pitching.
The on-going injury concerns for Indians pitcher Danny Salazar continued on Thursday, when he was removed from his first start off of the injured list in his first action since 2017 with a groin strain. After being evaluated by the team training staff on Friday, he was placed on the 10-day injured list.
Also joining Salazar on the injured list was left-handed reliever Tyler Olson with a non-baseball medical issue. Olson is dealing with the shingles.
The Indians added to their relief pitching depth on Friday afternoon with the acquisition of right-hander Phil Maton from the San Diego Padres.
Maton was dealt by the Padres on Friday as the team looked to call up hard-throwing 20-year-old right-hander Andres Munoz from Triple-A El Paso. The Indians shipped international bonus pool money to San Diego for Maton’s services, which freed up the roster space needed for Munoz.
It marked the second time in as many weeks that Cleveland has picked up minor league depth at the top farm level, following the team’s acquisition of utility man Andrew Velazquez from Tampa Bay the week earlier.