After a long winter of cost-cutting and public relations nightmares in Cleveland, there is finally some baseball to talk about as the Indians meet up with their chief division rivals, the Minnesota Twins, in their first official games without their Chief Wahoo on their caps and sleeves.
The latter would not be such an issue if Tribe players took the Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn approach to pitching, but players still wear caps and sleeves at this level, son.
The Cleveland Indians ended speculation on Saturday when they announced that Corey Kluber will be the Opening Day starter of the 2019 season next Thursday in Minneapolis.
This will mark Kluber’s fifth straight Opening Day start, barring no surprises by the time the Indians do battle with the Twins.
Countdown to Opening Day – 47 days
With 47 days until Opening Day, the Tribe’s number 47 was once again in the news as Trevor Bauer participated in an arbitration hearing with the Cleveland Indians for a second straight year on Friday. The results of the case are not expected until sometime next week, as the two sides were $2 million apart in their offers (Bauer asked for $13 million, while the Indians offered $11 million).
Regardless of the final figures, Bauer is due to receive a big raise from the $6.525 million that he received through arbitration a year ago. His new windfall of cash is, however, well deserved.
The Cleveland Indians returned to routine offseason work following the announcement of the Yan Gomes trade with Washington on Friday, avoiding arbitration with four members of its 40-man roster while tendering contract offers to All-Stars Trevor Bauer and Francisco Lindor, as well as rehabbing pitcher Cody Anderson.
The Indians came to terms on Major League contracts for the 2019 season with relievers Nick Goody and Neil Ramirez, pitcher Danny Salazar, and infielder Eric Stamets. Reliever James Hoyt, who was acquired from the Houston Astros during the first week of July, was the only player eligible who was non-tendered, making him a free agent.
A three-run seventh gave the Houston Astros their first lead of the day and a six-run eighth buried Chief Wahoo as the Cleveland Indians were swept out of the American League Division Series in an embarrassing 11-3 shellacking on Monday afternoon from Progressive Field.
A packed house in downtown Cleveland was the site of one of the more disappointing losses in the playoff history of the Indians, who put up a pitiful last stand at their remodeled gem at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. A 2-1 lead afforded to starter Mike Clevinger was lost in the seventh as several throwing errors and the lethal bat of Indian killer Marwin Gonzalez put the Astros on top for good. The next two innings just threw more dirt on the grave of the 2018 season.
On Friday, the story was the Astros hitting more homers alone than the Indians had total hits. That lack of offense again reared its head for the Tribe as Cleveland was held to just three hits and lost a one-run lead in the sixth inning as Houston took a commanding 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series with a 3-1 win on Saturday.
The flat showing from an Indians roster relatively untested all season long proved discouraging again as the only runner to reach second base for Cleveland was Francisco Lindor during his third inning trot around the bases for the team’s only run of the day. The remaining four players to reach advanced no further than first base. Carlos Carrasco pitched well in his second career playoff game, but the bullpen behind him was unable to get out of a jam and a bad defensive play in right field led to a game-changing inning for the Astros in the bottom of the sixth.
It is rarely a good sign when the opposing team has more homers than you have total hits, and that was the case for the Indians on Friday afternoon as the Houston Astros hit four long balls on the way to a 7-2 victory over Cleveland in Game 1 of the American League Division Series from Minute Maid Park.
The Indians offense just could not get going in a tough matchup with a familiar foe, Justin Verlander, who looked to help lead the Astros back to the World Series for the second straight season. He got the club off to a good start by starting the game with five no-hit innings and the Tribe mustered just three base hits throughout the day against Verlander and three pitchers out of the Houston ‘pen to fall behind a game in the best-of-5 series.
The biggest news to come out of game 162 was that there were no further injuries to the Tribe’s roster, which may have been the most important thing circled on the day’s agenda for manager Terry Francona. He got in a balanced game from dual starters Carrasco and Bauer, who each gave solid and encouraging efforts in their final action of the regular season. Carrasco earned his 17th win of the season, one short of his career high established a season ago, and Bauer’s four innings of work gave him the first save of his professional career. Regulars in the lineup got a handful of at bats, with only left-handed hitting Yonder Alonso out of the starting lineup against lanky lefty Eric Skoglund.
The Chicago White Sox used three runs in the ninth inning off of Carlos Carrasco to earn a 5-4 walk-off win over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night from Guaranteed Rate Field.
The White Sox saved all of their scoring for the first and the final innings of the night, using the two scoring punches to win their 62nd game of the season (against 95 losses). The comeback spoiled encouraging performances from Trevor Bauer and Carrasco, with the pair serving as the only Indians pitchers of record on the night as both worked towards establishing their roles for the playoffs.
The Cleveland Indians head back to the Windy City for the fourth time this season as they conclude their third road set in Chicago against the fourth place White Sox.
The Indians (87-68) have had a tough time in September, but they stepped up big against the Boston Red Sox over the weekend in a potential preview of the ALCS. The Indians needed extra inning heroics to win two out of three in the series, using eleventh inning hits by Michael Brantley and Greg Allen to claim victories. Cleveland has played well, as expected, against Chicago this season, taking 12 of the first 16 matchups while doubling up the Sox in the runs department, 86-43. The last time the clubs met a week ago, the Indians pulled out two more wins in the three games.
Rookie starter Shane Bieber was unable to protect a 4-1 lead, allowing six runs on eight hits in relief, as the Cleveland Indians fell to the Boston Red Sox by a 7-5 final on Friday night from Progressive Field.
The Red Sox (105-49) matched a franchise-best mark with their 105th win of the season while winning their third in a row over the Indians, a possible playoff matchup for them on their quest for a World Series. In the three previous years that the Red Sox earned more than 100 wins, the team has reached the championship series, winning twice and losing once.
Baseball will get a playoff preview of sort over the weekend as the Cleveland Indians host the Boston Red Sox in three straight games from Progressive Field. The series may lack the usual buildup, however, as both teams have clinched and will likely be looking to rest up players in anticipation for the postseason grind.
The Indians (85-67) claimed a pair of wins in three tries against the Chicago White Sox in their second-to-last series against their young fourth place rival on the year. The team needed a walk-off grand slam in the second game of the series to claim a series win as they lost in extra innings on Thursday night. The Indians and Red Sox last met in the third week of August and each team won a pair of games, with Cleveland claiming the first two close contests before Boston earned 10-4 and 7-0 victories in the final games.