Twins reliever Sergio Romo had an animated back-and-forth with the Indians dugout in Cleveland’s loss to Minnesota on Monday. Those same players made sure to have the last laugh on Wednesday before Romo left town as Cleveland broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the eighth with three big runs off of him and the Twins bullpen to secure a series win in a 6-3 final.
Games across the nation in multiple sports came to a pause on Wednesday as players, teams, and entire leagues took pause to use their respective platforms to stand up and voice their united displeasure with the ongoing racial divides, discrimination, hate-filled brutalities, and inequalities present in the United States, most recently and notably in Kenosha, Wisconsin, this week.
The game went on for some. The Indians and Twins played their series finale from downtown Cleveland, while games in Milwaukee (against Cincinnati), San Diego (versus Seattle), and San Francisco (hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers) were postponed on the heels of the cancellations of the day’s NBA first round playoff series and WNBA action.
The Cleveland Indians put up three runs on the Minnesota bullpen in the bottom of the sixth to back another quality showing from Shane Bieber and defeat the Twins by a 4-2 count on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
Bieber was not quite as crisp as he had been through his first six starts of the season, needing a few innings to settle in and look more like his usual self. But being the pitcher that he has been throughout his brief big league career, Bieber minimized early damage and kept the game close long enough for the Indians bats to finally break through with a big inning in the sixth to provide the decisive runs of the contest.
The Cleveland Indians have been the epitome of inconsistency this season. This weekend was a prime example of that as the Tribe dropped two of three to the Detroit Tigers in matchups that were on paper favorable for the second seeded club in the American League Central.
The Tigers, who were 9-14 entering the series, came into Cleveland in bad shape and left with a confidence boost after putting up 23 runs against the Indians’ vaunted pitching staff to bring an end to a 20-game losing streak against the Tribe coming into the weekend. Now, the Indians will have to contend with the first place Minnesota Twins over the next three days.
Cleveland’s 20-game winning streak over Detroit and six-game winning streak in general both came to a sudden halt on Friday night as the Tigers pummeled Adam Plutko for seven runs in a disastrous fourth inning as the Indians blew a five-run lead on the way to a 10-5 loss.
In a sudden and dramatic blink of an eye, the Indians’ substantial five-run lead evaporated on Friday as the Tigers erupted in a cathartic seven-run fourth inning to end their woes against Cleveland and turn the scales in their favor, capped by the first Major League home run, a grand slam, by rookie Isaac Paredes.
It was great to see baseball back on TV, even if the whole experiment winds up being short-lived due to the nonstop life complications presented by the coronavirus.
Major League Baseball returned to the diamond on Thursday and carried on into the weekend as the 30 teams opened up their 2020 shortened schedules. Results were mixed – some teams saw poor pitching but great offensive work, while others struggled with the bat but pitched well. Errors and bad base running made their guest appearances, too. All were to be expected as teams kicked off four months of rust that was impossible to get rid of over a couple of weeks of Summer Camp.
With three games in the books, here’s a look back at some of the talking points of the first series of the season.
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 – 30 days
With a pile of outfielders in spring camp for the Indians, one of the players who could have the most significant effect on the jobs up for grabs is Tyler Naquin.
The tables turn quickly at times in baseball. One day after blanking the Detroit Tigers by a 2-0 final, the Indians had the favor returned by the Tampa Bay Rays, who used a four-run seventh to complete a 4-0 shutout of Cleveland in Friday’s series opener from Tropicana Field.
In a matchup of two teams fighting for American League Wild Card playoff spots, the Rays captured a big win over the Indians in a well pitched game between both clubs for the first six innings. The Rays ran up the score in the seventh, scratching across a run off of starter Shane Bieber before Adam Cimber allowed the back-breaking blow on a three-run blast by former Indians first baseman Jesus Aguilar.
A tired Indians club spotted right-hander Zach Plesac with four runs in the second to pace Cleveland to a needed 4-1 win over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.
Looking to bounce back from a tough road trip through New York that led to three straight losses in a sweep by the Mets, the new look Indians (75-54), dressed in all black for the Players’ Weekend event, erupted for four runs in the second inning against the Royals’ Jakob Junis and limited the KC offense to just one run to capture a big win while cutting a game off of its deficit in the American League Central. The Minnesota Twins lost at home to the Detroit Tigers by a 9-6 final to move their lead in the AL Central down to two and a half games.
The woes continued for Indians closer Brad Hand on Wednesday night as the New York Mets scored twice in the bottom of the tenth inning to stun the Cleveland Indians, 4-3.
For the third time in his last four appearances, Hand suffered a blown save. This one was a bit different than the others, however, as the Indians had just silenced the hometown crowd in the top half of the inning on a solo homer by Carlos Santana off of reliever Luis Avilan to take a 3-2 lead. The box score will show a Mets victory, but it was one key play and several questionable mental errors around the infield that led to a walk-off celebration for the home team.
Tribe closer Brad Hand gave up a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth to allow the Twins to tie the game at three, but Carlos Santana sent the Indians to a victory as he hit a grand slam in the top of the tenth to give Cleveland a 7-3 win over Minnesota on Sunday.
In the biggest series of the year for the Indians to date, the club showed up big in the Twin Cities and stole three wins in a four-game series to tie the Twins for the top spot in the American League Central for the second time in the last three days. They needed some late inning heroics, capped by a dynamite defensive play to avoid a dramatic loss in the bottom of the ninth before Santana crushed the backbreaker in the next half inning to send Cleveland home with an impressive series win from Minnesota.
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.
Four Indians pitchers combined to limit the Tigers to one hit over nine scoreless innings and the bats piled up seven runs over the first three innings on the way to an 8-0 victory over Detroit from downtown Cleveland on Tuesday.
Rains spoiled a good start from rookie right-hander Zach Plesac, who was unable to factor in the decision despite facing the minimum over the first three innings. As has been the case for him during many of his nine starts this season, dark clouds have followed him and rain knocked him out after just nine outs, but the bullpen handled the rest, allowing just one base runner over the final six innings.