The Cleveland Indians appear to be in postseason form, which does not bode well for the last place Chicago White Sox as the Tribe visits Guaranteed Rate Field for four games this week.
The Indians (80-56) have won a season-high eleven straight games and have started their eleven-game road trip with a 7-0 start. A three-game sweep of the New York Yankees in the Bronx was followed by the Indians’ first ever four-game sweep of the Tigers in Detroit. The hot stretch has helped Cleveland open up a nine-game lead in the American League Central over the Minnesota Twins. The Tribe’s magic number has been reduced to 18 in the process. In addition to their eleven-game winning streak, the Indians have won 16 of their last 20 and 22 of their last 30.
Two first inning runs would be all the support he would get, but Trevor Bauer and the Cleveland bullpen would make the runs stand up as the Indians defeated the New York Yankees, 2-1, in game one of Wednesday’s doubleheader from Yankee Stadium.
Bauer and left-hander Jaime Garcia faced off against one another in the day’s first game and the Indians gave Bauer a pair of runs of support before he even took the mound. Francisco Lindor started the game with a single to right. He stole second after a fly out by Brandon Guyer and moved to third on a single to left by Jose Ramirez. A passed ball by Gary Sanchez allowed Lindor to score and Ramirez to move into scoring position and Yandy Diaz delivered the second run of the frame with a single to center.
If Corey Kluber wins the American League Cy Young award this season for a second time in his career, he may have his teammates to thank. For the second time this month, the Indians pounded Boston southpaw and assumed leader in the race for the top pitching award, Chris Sale, for seven runs and dealt him the shortest start of his career on Thursday night as Cleveland routed the Boston Red Sox, 13-6.
When Cleveland visited Boston earlier in the month, Sale was hit hard early for seven runs on eight hits by the Indians in a start that lasted just five innings. Sale, with a 5-7 career record in 28 appearances against the Indians, had a chance to get even, but the Tribe brought the bats in the regular season finale between the two clubs, making up some for mustering just four hits over the previous two games in a pair of defeats.
A quality start by left-hander Shawn Morimando sent the Columbus Clippers to an 8-1 victory over rival Indianapolis on Friday night.
With less than a month to go until the All-Star break, the Clippers have climbed back within two games of the .500 mark at 29-31 on the season. Their surge towards a winning record has been made possible by a 6-2 record in June. The bats in general have come to life for the Clippers over the course of the last three weeks, as since the final week of May, they have put up six runs or more in eight of the 15 games played.
A busy week of roster transactions continued on Tuesday as the Cleveland Indians made five roster moves prior to their game with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The biggest of the moves is the promotion of top prospect Bradley Zimmer to the big league club. The addition of the fourth-year pro, who can play both center and right field, became a necessity when Abraham Almonte was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday with a right biceps strain.
Yandy Diaz got the phone call from the Cleveland Indians a little earlier than some might have expected when he was recalled earlier in the week to help the team replace Michael Brantley in the lineup for at least a few days on the turf in Toronto while he recouped from a sprained right ankle. An impressive hitting display by Diaz after his demotion to Triple-A Columbus on April 21 certainly merited that quick second look at the hot-hitting utility man by the Tribe.
The bat has normally not been the problem for Diaz during his professional career, but an inconsistent start with the stick and lingering questions about his ability to play an adequate defense at the Major League level left him in need of regular playing time somewhere, and such an opportunity did not exist with the Indians a few weeks into the regular season schedule.
Carlos Carrasco gave the Indians seven scoreless innings and his offense awoke from its road trip slumber with six big runs as Cleveland defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-0, in a four-hit shutout on Tuesday night.
The Indians improved to 18-14 with the win. They have a Major League best record of 16-3 when scoring three runs or more and topped the threshold for the first time in the month of May. The last time the offense exceeded three runs was on April 30 against Seattle, the final game of their last homestand before hitting the road for a three-city, ten-game trip.
The Columbus Clippers have now lost five straight series, dating back to their three-game sweep of Indianapolis from April 10-12, and have fallen to 9-14 on the 2017 season.
Despite the rough opening month of the season, the Clippers are just three and a half games behind the Toledo Mud Hens in the International League West Division. The division has struggled as a whole, as only the Mud Hens are above the .500 mark to start the season. The Clippers are tied with the Louisville Bats and are a game and a half in front of the last place Indians, who are 7-15 to start the season.
It will be a homecoming for Jason Kipnis this weekend as the Chicago area native was activated by the Indians from the 10-day disabled list prior to the start of their three-game series against the White Sox.
To make room on the 25-man roster, third baseman Yandy Diaz was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
The Cleveland offense could not figure out Tigers starter Daniel Norris on Friday night and a late rally off of the Detroit bullpen fell one run short as the Indians dropped a 7-6 decision in game one of a three-game weekend set.
Cleveland could not solve the left-handed Norris on the mound for six scoreless innings of work as each of the first eight men to the plate would be retired by the southpaw. Meanwhile, the Tigers were able to get an early run of support for him in the second inning off of Indians starter Trevor Bauer and would pile on in the middle innings.
Arizona’s rookie manager Torey Lovullo could not have scripted a better beginning to his managerial career as his Diamondback improved to 6-1 to start the season with a 3-2 win on Sunday to complete the sweep over the reigning American League champion Cleveland Indians.
The former Indians player and minor league manager has his team rolling. His offense, while extremely slow to start, makes up for it plenty in the middle and late innings. The D’Backs outscored the Indians 21-7 in the three-game series and are the most productive offense in the game with 48 runs scored on the young season. Their pitching has gotten the job done as well, as combined with the run production, the Diamondbacks have the top run differential in baseball.
Arizona left-hander Patrick Corbin stepped up big for the Diamondbacks, who were going up against last year’s third place finisher in the AL Cy Young voting in Corey Kluber. The Indians got a quality start from their right-hander, but the D’Backs got six scoreless from their former All-Star starter.