All things considered, the opening month of the season could have gone much worse for the Cleveland Indians.
With a lineup a shell of last year’s version and without All-Star Francisco Lindor‘s presence in the lineup for nearly three weeks, the Indians managed to put together a winning month. A 16-12 record is hardly something to brag about, especially for a team expected by most to run away with an American League Central Division constructed primarily with orange barrels and yellow caution tape, but for just the third time in the Terry Francona tenure in Cleveland, the Indians left the first month of the season with more Ws than Ls.
It didn’t come pretty. The +4 run differential was just one such stat to indicate the current state of affairs in Cleveland.
A home run to lead off the bottom of the tenth by pinch-hitter Tony Kemp powered the Houston Astros over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday afternoon by a 4-3 final.
The Indians fought back late to tie the game in the seventh inning, but managed just one hit over the final three innings while stranding Roberto Perez at second base after his leadoff single in the top of the tenth. Adam Cimber came on for Cleveland in the bottom of the tenth, but his outing lasted just four pitches before the opposing dugout celebrated at home plate.
Cleveland will hope for far more productive results this time around as the Indians head to Houston for a 2018 ALDS rematch with the Astros, one swept by the host club a season ago.
The Indians (13-10) scuffled during their recent five-game homestand, dropping two of three against the Atlanta Braves before splitting a two-gamer with the Miami Marlins. The offense got off to a hot start at the beginning of the homestand, but a bullpen implosion late Saturday seemed to leave a lasting bitter taste in the mouths of those on the roster. The Indians come into the series trailing the Minnesota Twins by half a game in the American League Central and will look to improve upon a 6-6 mark on the road this season.
In the event that you thought the 11-5 score from Progressive Field was a close game, that final score was hardly indicative of the results as the Cleveland Indians buried themselves under an eleven-run deficit before finding the scoreboard late in an embarrassing shellacking by the Atlanta Braves on Sunday in the series finale.
In a nationally televised game on ESPN, the game was essentially over after two frames. On the heels of a disastrous ninth inning in the second game of Saturday’s double dip, the Indians allowed nine runs in the first four innings on Sunday before scoring some garbage time runs to make the final a little more palatable.
Even the addition of yearly interleague play has not substantially increased the number of trips taken to Cleveland by the Atlanta Braves, which visit the north coast this weekend for an abbreviated three-day trip.
The Indians (11-7) return home after salvaging a road trip that had taken a rough turn when the team was swept last weekend in Kansas City by the Royals. Instead of crumbling, the team responded by taking all three from the scorching hot Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park during the week. The sweep was the team’s second of the season, following a four-game defeat of the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in the month. The 5-4 mark on the road trip moved the club to even at 6-6 away from home this season. During the Indians’ brief upcoming homestand, they will look to improve upon a 5-1 record at Progressive Field so far in April.
Shane Bieber allowed just one run while pitching into the seventh inning and the Indians offense scored four times with two outs to help defeat the host Seattle Mariners by a 4-2 final.
The Indians fell behind two innings in, as the Mariners got a gift run from Bieber in the second to give veteran right-hander Mike Leake the early lead to work with. After getting former Tribe sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce to fly out to center to set down his first five in a row, Bieber lost Tim Beckham on a four-pitch walk. A wild pitch to Ryon Healy allowed Beckham to motor all the way to third as catcher Kevin Plawecki could not find the ball. Healy drew a six-pitch walk to put runners on the corners and catcher Tom Murphy started his big game at the plate with an RBI-single to left to put Seattle up, 1-0.
The winningest team in Major League Baseball will look to continue its incredible and unexpected start as the Seattle Mariners host the Cleveland Indians for the first and final time in the 2019 season.
The Mariners (13-5) have put on a hitting display far exceeding expectations as the team leads all of baseball in homers (39), runs scored (126), RBI (124), hits (178), and stolen bases (tied with 19). The M’s have been on a homer-hitting frenzy, going deep in each of their first 18 games to start the season, a Major League record to open a year. They are within striking distance of matching their club record for consecutive games with a homer (23 back in 2013) and are two-thirds of the way to equaling the all-time record of 27 set by the 2002 Texas Rangers. Despite the hot start, the Mariners are just a game up on the Houston Astros in the American League West after being swept in three straight at home over the weekend.
It might be a bad time for the Indians (8-7) to head to T-Mobile Park (formerly Safeco Field). After turning things around during their first homestand when they swept the Toronto Blue Jays and started the road trip with a win in Detroit, Cleveland has now lost three straight after being swept over the weekend by the Kansas City Royals. While the losses have piled up for the Tribe and they will have to win the series to remain above the .500 mark, they are just a game and a half in back of the Minnesota Twins in second place in the AL Central.
Big games from Leonys Martin and Carlos Santana and seven shutout innings of work from Shane Bieber earned the Cleveland Indians a series win in Detroit with a 4-0 victory over the Tigers on Thursday afternoon.
The starting rotation has frequently been mentioned as the number one key to success for the Indians this season after offseason moves damaged the daily lineup taking the field. Bieber, the team’s number five starter, showed that he is far more than just a throwaway piece to the pitching staff, controlling the Tigers with seven dominant innings on the mound in his second start of the year. He was backed by some early run support from the offense, which tallied four single runs in the first, third, fourth, and seventh innings, to give him the edge, and he made it stand up at the end of the day.
Two teams riding modest winning streaks will battle in Motown this week as the Detroit Tigers host the Cleveland Indians in three unusual midweek afternoon start times from Comerica Park.
The Tigers (7-3) have gotten off to a surprisingly strong start, given the season projections. They have won five straight games, sweeping the Kansas City Royals over the weekend and taking the last two games of their three-game series with the New York Yankees early last week. They began the year by splitting a four-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays. While the Tigers have showed up in the win column, their offense has not been showing up much on the field. They rank last in the American League in runs scored (27), homers (3), and batting average (.181) and are in the bottom third of nearly every offensive category. The two things that they have done well at is drawing walks and hitting doubles. The pitching staff has carried the club, posting the second-best ERA (2.30) and WHIP (0.93) and best batting average against (.188) in the AL.
The Indians (6-3) have had a nearly identical experience to the Tigers this season, which is certainly not what most prognosticators would have predicted coming into the year. The Indians offense has improved, but still ranks among the worst in baseball and the AL in most categories. The pitching has been lights out, ranking in the top third in the league behind some dynamite starting pitching efforts from the rotation. The Indians have a team ERA of 2.85 with a 1.06 WHIP and a .195 batting average against with 104 strikeouts in 79 innings over nine games (a league-best 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings).
A little time away can do people some good. That seems to be the trick for Carlos Santana, whose strong start in his return to Cleveland continued on Friday night as he deposited a game-winning solo homer into the bleachers in left field with one out in the bottom of the ninth to give the Indians a 3-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Indians fans were treated to a very familiar sight on Friday as Santana provided the Indians with his fifth career walk-off home run, lifting up another light-hitting performance from the offense. He stepped into the batter’s box for the fourth time on the night with one down in the bottom of the ninth, set to match up with Jays’ reliever Joe Biagini. He found an 1-0 two-seamer to his liking, lofting a high drive the opposite way into the tunnel of the bleachers in left to cap off a comeback for the Tribe and a celebration at home plate.
The schedule makers are at it again with the curious decision to send the Toronto Blue Jays to Cleveland during the first week of April to play their only four road games of the season against the Indians beginning Thursday night from Progressive Field.
The Indians (2-3) and their anemic offense struggled again with their two-game set against the Chicago White Sox. They were gifted several runs by the bad Sox bullpen in the Home Opener on Monday, and mustered two garbage time runs in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 8-3 blowout. Cleveland’s offense has put up MLB worsts across the triple slash board, hitting .160 with a .237 on-base percentage and a .231 slugging mark with just seven total extra base hits on the year.
Cold weather did not slow or stop the Minnesota Twins in game three of the season, as they tallied nine runs off of Cleveland Indians pitching to earn a series victory with a 9-3 win on Sunday.
The rubber match of the season opening series in Target Field did not favor the Indians, as they fell behind early as the Twins tallied a run in the second and two more in the fourth, but it was a disastrous fifth inning that broke the game wide open. Paced to an 8-0 lead at the time, the Twins breezed to an easy win from there, especially facing an anemic Indians offense that racked up 13 strikeouts for the third straight game.