Where, oh where, have the Cleveland Indians gone?
I’ll tell you where. To the very bottom of the American League playoff bracket. Oh, and by the way, things won’t get any easier for the Tribe this week when they face off with National League Cy Young candidate Yu Darvish on Tuesday and tough left-hander Jon Lester on Wednesday in a pair of games against one of the leading squads in the Senior Circuit in the Chicago Cubs.
It’s been a bad week for the Tribe, without a doubt. Defense faltered early in the week, the offense sputtered (but this isn’t necessarily a new thing this season), and the pitching staff made the weekend set with Minnesota look more like a special Twins edition of Home Run Derby. They did their part to waken the “Bomba Squad”.
The Cleveland Indians jumped out to a six-run lead early and added on eight more runs in the middle innings to blow out the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, 14-2, on Friday night.
Home field was no advantage for the Cardinals in St. Louis as they were shelled for 14 runs on 20 hits, including seven extra base knocks, as the Indians started out their road trip on the right note. Rookie Triston McKenzie was backed with that big run support from the Tribe bats, which pounced on a tough Cardinals pitching staff and sent nine men to the plate in the first inning to stake out an early lead. The offense added two runs in each of the second, fifth, and seventh innings, and used a four-run sixth to erase any doubts of a rally from the host Red Birds.
The Cleveland Indians’ depth behind the plate will be tested this season as starting catcher Roberto Perez was placed on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday with a right shoulder strain.
Perez had experienced discomfort with the shoulder since making an impressive play during the Indians’ season opening game against the Kansas City Royals, when he tracked down a third strike wild pitch, slipped, and completed the throw to first from the seat of his pants. Perez jammed his shoulder on the play and felt some tightness but tried to push through it in the days that followed. It continued to persist, leading the Indians to select the contract of backstop Beau Taylor from the team’s minor league camp in Eastlake on Tuesday, less than a day before placing Perez on the IL.
He will be shut down from throwing for a week before he is re-evaluated, but he will continue to work out with the other players on the 60-man roster at the team’s Alternate Training Site in Eastlake.
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 – 55 days
The pressure was on Roberto Perez for the 2019 season when the team traded mainstay and All-Star backstop Yan Gomes in November of 2018. To the credit of the Cleveland Indians’ front office, Perez lived up to all expectations and showed himself as a worthy full-time catcher at the Major League level.
The Indians got a quality start from Mike Clevinger and plenty of run support from the middle of the Cleveland lineup on Thursday in their sixth shutout of the season over the Detroit Tigers, 7-0.
For the 12th time this season, the Indians plated a half dozen runs or more against the Tigers in an unbelievable stretch of dominance over the cellar dwellers in the American League Central. Cleveland tallied an 18-1 record in their season series with Detroit, including wins in each of the last 17 games between the two clubs. The Indians (90-63) kept pace with the victorious Minnesota Twins to remain four games back in the division with nine to play, but more importantly, they pulled into a tie with the idle Tampa Bay Rays for the second Wild Card spot.
Roberto Perez’s three-run blast in a four-run sixth put the Cleveland Indians up for good as they defeated the Minnesota Twins, 7-5, on Sunday afternoon.
In the biggest series of the season, the Indians salvaged their final regular season game against the Twins to claim the season series against Minnesota, 10-9. Needing a sweep over the weekend, Cleveland was only able to earn a win in the finale, coming back from a 4-2 deficit to hold off the top club in the American League Central.
Facing a slew of arms out of the Minnesota bullpen, Cleveland could do nothing as the Twins used a third inning two-run home run by Jorge Polanco to claim a 2-0 win over the Indians in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader from Progressive Field.
In as must-win of a scenario as the Indians have faced this season, the offense came out flat and could not get anything of substance going against the suspect Twins bullpen as the club had to rely on its relief staff in game one on Saturday after Friday’s series opener between the two teams was washed out by heavy rains. The Twins had a tough time doing much against Mike Clevinger over eight solid innings from the right-hander, but it took just two quick hits to change the outcome of the game, and possibly the season, for the Tribe.
The Cleveland Indians’ offense took advantage of a bullpen day by the New York Yankees, scattering 19 runs on 24 hits (including seven home runs) in a series opening 19-5 rout on Thursday night.
Four of five New York relievers to toe the rubber in the series opener of four from Yankee Stadium were tagged for at least four runs as the Indians put on a hitting display from the moment of first pitch. Cleveland had ten different players who recorded at least one hit, with all nine starters providing two hits or more. The offensive eruption backed a quality start by Adam Plutko, who surrendered two solo homers and three runs in total in six innings of work.
Seven runs scattered over the first three innings powered the Cleveland Indians to a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels in the series opener of their three-game set from Progressive Field.
The Indians’ run through the American League West continued on Friday as the Angels replaced the Astros in town, but they could not replicate Houston’s wins in two of the three games there earlier in the week. The Angels jumped out to an early lead two batters into the game, but the Indians came roaring back with a big offensive outburst to support the starting efforts of Mike Clevinger, who walked four but otherwise shut down his former club.
Verlander was sharp throughout and sat down the Tribe hitter after hitter while racking up 13 strikeouts on the night. The Indians managed to put just ten balls in play (eight for outs) against the 36-year-old right-hander, who improved to 14-4 on the year with a dominating start. He has now won all four of his starts since the All-Star break with four quality efforts.
So long, six-game winning streak. The Cleveland Indians lost a 3-1 lead in a three-run Minnesota rally in the seventh inning and the Twins held on for a 5-3 victory.
Hard-charging into the break winners of six in a row, the Indians bounced back from a first inning deficit to take a 3-1 lead after six innings, but the bullpen could not protect the lead in relief of starter Mike Clevinger. Nick Goody’s throwing error in the seventh helped the Twins put together their game-changing rally to fend off the Tribe.