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.
This is a big weekend for the Cleveland Indians. With a chance to face a team that they have had good luck with over the last couple of years, it may be just what the doctor ordered to cure all that ails the team’s struggles and depressed disposition.
The Indians (26-23), as you likely know by now, have lost eight straight contests during series with the Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, and Chicago Cubs. Losses against a young Royals team was a bad look and the team missed some big opportunities to gain some ground in what once was a tightly contested American League Central during their series with the Twins. The Indians lost both games to the Cubs in walk-off fashion while showing some glimmers of hope that they would emerge from this losing skid before the end of the season. Those losses dropped them six games in back of the first place Chicago White Sox.
The “Bomba Squad” was back at it again at Target Field on Sunday as the Minnesota bats drove three out of the park against starter Triston McKenzie to overcome an early three-run deficit and tacked on a fourth blast for good measure as the Twins swept the Cleveland Indians with a 7-5 final.
The Indians pitching staff has been so good for much of the season, but this weekend served as a sufficient reminder that the team was going to need some offense to make any real noise come playoff time. The bats woke up slowly on Saturday and had ample opportunity on Sunday to try to support the pitching staff, but a home run barrage from the Twins lineup for the third straight day proved to be too much for the Tribe offense to contend with as the team’s tailspin continued with a sixth straight defeat.
After failing to capitalize in their second-to-last homestand of the season, the Cleveland Indians will head back out on the road for the next nine games, looking to continue good results away from Progressive Field, beginning with a three-game weekend set with the second place Minnesota Twins.
The Indians (26-18) missed out on a big opportunity to pick up ground in the American League Central during the week as Kansas City beat them up three times in a four-game series, leaving the club with a disappointing 3-4 homestand against the Milwaukee Brewers and the Royals. The loss on Thursday dropped the Indians to third place in the division, a game and a half behind the first place Chicago White Sox.
The Kansas City Royals scored five times in the final three innings, overcoming an early 5-3 deficit, and held off a late rally attempt by the Indians in an 8-6 victory from Cleveland on Tuesday night.
The long ball was the story of the early scoring on the night for both clubs, but some extra opportunities provided by the Tribe defense and relief corps allowed the Royals to climb back into the game and steal away a victory from the host Clevelanders in ugly fashion in a contest that could have easily had different results for the Indians.
For the second straight week, the Indians and Kansas City Royals will be staring each other down on the diamond, but this time, they will do so in Cleveland at Progressive Field in an important four-game set for the Tribe.
The Indians (25-15) kept pace with the first place Chicago White Sox over the weekend. The Sox hold a half-game lead over the Tribe as they prepare for a series with the Pittsburgh Pirates (13-26), while the Indians will host one of the junior circuit’s worst teams in the Royals. Cleveland took two of three from Milwaukee over the weekend, losing a little ground on Chicago, which has won four in a row.
Tyler Naquin had a game to remember on Wednesday, putting the Indians on the board with a two-run homer in the second before erasing all doubt with a three-run blast in the ninth to back Cleveland to a 5-0 shutout of the Royals from Kansas City.
Not to be lost in the shuffle, but the Indians got a quick and quiet six innings of scoreless baseball from Triston McKenzie, who looked much more like the pitcher from his big league debut against the Detroit Tigers than the one that opened the road trip with four tougher innings of work against the St. Louis Cardinals in his second start. McKenzie allowed just three base runners on a pair of singles and a double and protected the early lead provided to him by Naquin.
It was a busy day for the Cleveland Indians front office ahead of a three-game weekend series with the Kansas City Royals from the western edge of Missouri.
The Indians (21-13) showed some really good things and some really discouraging things all in one trip to Busch Stadium over the weekend. After shelling the St. Louis Cardinals 14-2 in the series opener on Friday night, the club eked out a 2-1 win in their longest game of the season, a 12-inning marathon on Saturday. Sunday, they were dealt a 7-2 decision as Adam Wainwright went the distance for St. Louis.
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.
It feels fitting that Major League Baseball honors one of the legends of the game on Friday given the current unrest plaguing the country.
Jackie Robinson Day, typically recognized on April 15 of each season, did not get its due this year as baseball was on the bench due to the coronavirus. Now with play well under way and half of the season already in the books, MLB will take pause to honor the first African American to reach the big league level back in 1947. As is done every year, the number 42 will come out of league-wide retirement as all players will don the digits on Friday.
Triston McKenzie had a historic debut to remember as the 23-year-old right-hander allowed just one run on two hits with ten strikeouts and the Indians offense erupted for six runs over their final three innings at the plate to give Cleveland a 6-1 win on Saturday night from Progressive Field.
It was tough to predict how McKenzie was going to look on the mound for the Indians in the middle game of three against the Tigers. Making his first start in nearly two years after missing the entire 2019 season with a back injury, the young hurler got the call-up for the Indians and lived up to his billing as a top prospect in the Cleveland organization. He limited the Tigers to just two extra bases hits and a walk while striking out ten, putting him in rare company as just the 28th Major League pitcher to reach double digit strikeouts in his first big league appearance.
It is amazing sometimes just what a week can do for a team.
Just keeping their heads above water in a contentious American League Central Division a week ago, the Cleveland Indians sat at 10-9 with a favorable six-game road trip set in Detroit and Pittsburgh. A week later, the Indians are 16-9, winners of six straight with some impressive and needed victories to pull the club back to within a half-game of first place Minnesota.