When things are going bad, teams have a tendency of finding new ways to lose. That was exactly the case on Tuesday night in Chicago, where the visiting Clevelanders lost on a bases loaded hit by pitch in the bottom of the ninth to give the Cubs a 6-5 walk-off victory.
Trailing by a 5-3 count in the top of the ninth, the Indians pulled off a rally that felt improbable given the club’s play of late. Facing closer Jeremy Jeffress, Josh Naylor walked on five pitches. Delino DeShields, with three hits to his credit already on the night, grounded slowly to third to move the runner into scoring position. Jeffress fell behind Francisco Lindor 2-0 before the Tribe shortstop caught a sinker thigh-high and out over the plate. He lofted a fly ball the opposite way and just over the left field wall to tie the game at five. Mike Freeman followed with a walk before Jose Ramirez grounded into a double play.
The pressure is on the Cleveland Indians to figure out all that plagues them presently and they will be tasked with doing so against a World Series contender in the Chicago Cubs in a pair of games at Wrigley Field this week.
The Indians (26-21) find themselves in a bad place at the moment. Despite the offense picking up some on Sunday, the team blew a decent early lead to drop a sixth straight ball game when they were swept by the Minnesota Twins. Coupled with a Chicago White Sox win on Monday over those same Twins, the Indians are five games out of first place in the American League Central and three games in back of Minnesota with 13 games to play in the 2020 slate.
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”.
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 Cleveland Indians tagged Kansas City’s Brad Keller for a season-high five runs and held off the struggling Royals in a 5-2 contest on Labor Day to move back into a first place tie with the idle Chicago White Sox.
Following the lead of Zach Plesac in his second start back in the rotation, the Indians scored a couple of runs early, added on in the middle innings, and tacked on some insurance late to knock off Kansas City in game one of four from Progressive Field this week. Plesac went seven innings, giving the Indians a solid quality start for the fifth straight outing to open his 2020 season.
Hard to believe, the Indians are starting their penultimate homestand of the season as Cleveland plays host to the visiting Milwaukee Brewers for the next three days at Progressive Field.
The Indians (23-14) had a productive road trip in Missouri, taking four of six from the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals to stay right in the mix atop the American League Central. Entering play on Friday ahead of the Chicago White Sox by a half game, the Tribe appears to have the playoffs in their sights at the end of the month, but now will look to improve their lot in the postseason brackets in the expanded tournament scheduled for this season due to the global pandemic.
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 Cardinals scored seven unanswered runs to overcome an early two-run deficit and Adam Wainwright celebrated his 39th birthday in style, providing St. Louis a gift of his own with a 7-2 win over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday afternoon.
The soft-tossing curveball expert was just what the Cardinals needed to knock the Indians off balance after Cleveland claimed the first two games of the three-game weekend set. Looking to end a four-game losing skid, the Cardinals veteran right-hander limited the Indians to just two early runs and four hits in total while his St. Louis teammates jumped all over Cleveland starter Aaron Civale in a big second inning.
Both pitchers saw the minimum in the first inning. Wainwright retired the side in order, while Tommy Edman reached on a one-out grounder to first and moved to second on a groundout by Paul Goldschmidt before he was thrown out trying to steal third against Roberto Perez.
Tyler Naquin’s RBI-double in the 12th inning broke a 1-1 tie and Brad Hand benefited from a game-ending base running blunder as the Cleveland Indians won a 2-1 contest against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday afternoon.
The middle game of three from Busch Stadium provided no clinic in baseball fundamentals as neither team was particularly sharp. From start to finish, there were missed opportunities on both sides. There were mistakes on the base paths and behind the plate. At the dish, the two clubs combined to ground into four double plays and left 19 men on base while contributing a 3-for-29 showing with runners in scoring position. Twelve pitchers combined for 23 strikeouts and eleven walks while needing 369 pitches over 12 long innings of work.
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.