Tribe Tripped Up in July Finale in Boston; Red Sox 6, Indians 2


The Indians saw the old version of Doug Fister that they have faced numerous times over the years and not the player who had struggled to find a consistent spot in the Majors as the veteran right-hander returned to the Red Sox rotation and shut down the Cleveland offense over seven and two-thirds innings before a late Tribe homer in a 6-2 win by Boston on Monday night.

Fister was in prime form in the series opener from Fenway Park as the Indians’ struggles in the oldest ball park in the Majors continued. Mike Clevinger had a tough time on the mound for the Indians for a second straight start and did so in his first game against the Red Sox in his career.

Command was an issue in the early going for Clevinger, but he worked around a pair of first inning walks unscathed. His offense would put two on with only one out in the next half inning, but Fister worked out of it in what would be one of just two tough innings for the 33-year-old.

After falling short in the first, the Red Sox tallied three in the second and nearly had more. Rookie Rafael Devers singled before a pair of outs left Mitch Moreland standing at first with the inning hanging by a thread. Christian Vazquez grounded to third, but Jose Ramirez could not field the ball and it rolled to Michael Brantley in left for a generously ruled double for the catcher. With the inning still alive, Mookie Betts delivered on the next pitch, lining a single to center that scored both Moreland and Vazquez to put Boston up, 2-0. After Brock Holt walked and Betts went to third on a throwing error by Yan Gomes, Eduardo Nunez continued the torrid start to his Red Sox career with a double to left. Betts scored with ease, but Holt would be thrown out at the plate on a strike from left by Brantley to keep the score at just 3-0.

Fister - Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Fister – Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Fister had retired six straight before a walk by Ramirez in the fourth, but he would be erased on a double play ball off of the bat of Edwin Encarnacion. The Red Sox then got back to work to expand on their lead after Clevinger walked Moreland on four straight to start the home half of the inning. Vazquez moved him to second on a single and another RBI-base knock from Betts scored Moreland to make it 4-0. Clevinger left and was replaced by Zach McAllister, who retired Holt on a groundout for the first out before Nunez came through again with a single to score Vazquez with the fifth run of the night. A double play ball back to the mound from Hanley Ramirez ended the threat, but Boston had a comfortable 5-0 lead.

The Indians would get singles in the fifth and sixth, but could not produce. After retiring the Indians in order in the seventh, Fister’s offense got back to work to support him again. With Shawn Armstrong on in relief of McAllister, Nunez doubled to lead off the inning. After a fly out by Ramirez, Nunez picked off third uncontested before a strikeout seven pitches later by Jackie Bradley Jr. for the second out. The hot-hitting rookie Devers did not miss out on an opportunity to impress again, supplying an RBI-single to right to make it 6-0. Armstrong would work out of the jam, but only after loading the bases on a single by Xander Bogaerts and a walk to Moreland.

Quickly running out of time, the Indians mounted their biggest threat of the night in the eighth, but would once again come up wanting. Austin Jackson singled to left to start the inning against Fister, but was forced at second on a grounder by Gomes. Erik Gonzalez lined to right for the second out, but Bradley Zimmer homered to make it a 6-2 game. Brandon Workman came on from the bullpen and gave up back-to-back singles to Francisco Lindor and Brantley, but the cleanup hitter Ramirez could not deliver as he flied to left to end the rally.

Workman retired the side in order in the ninth to end the 6-2 contest.

Clevinger - Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Clevinger – Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Indians fell to 57-47 in defeat, but they remain atop the AL Central by a pair of games thanks to a walk-off loss by the Kansas City Royals in Baltimore against the Orioles. Cleveland finished the month of July with a 15-11 record. The win for the Red Sox bumped their record to 58-49, despite a sub-.500 month.

The win for Fister (1-5) was his first in nearly a year, dating back to a victory with the Houston Astros in August of last season. He improved to 6-4 in his career against the Indians in 17 starts.

Clevinger (5-4) took the loss as his offense could not get him off of the hook for the rough outing as it had in his previous start against Toronto. He was charged with five runs on seven hits in three-plus innings, walking four and striking out two. McAllister allowed an inherited run to score, but otherwise through three scoreless innings of two-hit relief.

The Indians were hitless in three at bats with runners in scoring position and stranded five. Zimmer led the offense with a pair of hits and two RBI on the night, both coming on his eighth homer of the season. Devers pushed his batting average to .417 through his first six games with a four-hit game on Monday for Boston. Nunez had three hits, including a pair of doubles and two RBI, while Betts drove in three runs from the leadoff spot.

The pitching matchup of the series is set to take place at 7:10 PM ET on Tuesday night as Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco (10-4, 3.58 ERA) will duel with the AL’s top Cy Young candidate in Chris Sale (13-4, 2.37) in the middle game of the three-game set. Carrasco has been the Indians’ road warrior, posting a 7-2 record away from home in eleven starts. The left-hander Sale is tops in baseball in strikeouts and enters with an active 22 1/3 scoreless inning streak.

Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images



Joe Smith Returns to Cleveland as Indians Acquire Reliever from Blue Jays


Joe Smith’s Major League career blossomed while a member of the Cleveland Indians during a five-year stint from 2009 to 2013. He will get a chance to return to his former Progressive Field home, once again as a member of the Tribe, as the side-arming right-handed reliever was re-acquired by Cleveland in advance of Monday’s trade deadline in a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

To obtain Smith, the Indians dealt Double-A left-handed starting pitcher Thomas Pannone and short-season second baseman Samad Taylor. Right-handed reliever Perci Garner, who had spent the season between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Smith.

Smith was in the midst of a good season with the Blue Jays and was expendable from the last place club, who also dealt starting pitcher Francisco Liriano earlier in the day to the Houston Astros. Smith had posted a 3-0 record for the Jays with a 3.28 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. The numbers are near his career averages, but he has also had a solid spike in his strikeout numbers this season, recording 51 in 35 2/3 innings (a career-high 12.9 strikeout/nine rate). He has walked only ten of the 144 batters that he has faced, a rate of 2.5 per nine innings, which would be the second-best mark of his career if the season ended today.

Smith w/CLE in 2012 - Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Smith in 2012 – Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

He has proven to be an effective matchup against right-handers this season, holding those hitters to a .211 batting average while striking out 31 of the 81 that he has faced (38.3%) and walking just two (2.5%). Left-handed hitters have hit .255 against him with 20 strikeouts in 63 plate appearances (31.7%), but have drawn eight walks (12.7%).

Smith has not performed nearly as well at home as on the road, posting a 4.74 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 19 innings with 28 strikeouts and seven walks at Rogers Centre, compared to a 1.62 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP in 16 2/3 innings with 23 strikeouts and three walks while on the road.

He had worked primarily in the eighth inning for Toronto, making 24 appearances. He had also worked six times in the seventh and six times in the ninth, with two games pitched in the sixth inning. He missed a month of games from June 19 to July 22 while on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and was activated by Toronto during their recent trip to Cleveland.

He gives Indians manager Terry Francona another reliable back-of-the-bullpen option to pair with Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, and Bryan Shaw. He originally joined the Indians in December of 2008 in a three-team trade with the New York Mets and Seattle Mariners. The Indians acquired him from the Mets and Luis Valbuena from the Mariners and sent Franklin Gutierrez to Seattle. He signed a three-year, $15.75 million deal following the 2013 season with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and pitched with the Chicago Cubs late last season.

Pannone was having a breakout season in the Tribe’s farm system after debuting strong at High-A with the Lynchburg Hillcats.

In his fifth season in the Indians organization, the 23-year-old southpaw returned to Lynchburg after appearing in eight games with the Hillcats last season. He posted a 2-0 record in five starts (0.00 ERA, 0.61 WHIP), allowing one unearned run over 27 2/3 innings while being named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Month for April. He was promoted to Akron in the first week of May and had gone 6-1 with a 2.62 ERA in 14 starts, striking out 81 batters in 82 1/3 innings. He was named an All-Star for the second straight season, representing the RubberDucks in the Eastern League’s All-Star Game.

His combined work on the farm this season had amounted to an 8-1 record with a 1.96 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. He was a ninth round pick by the Indians in the 2013 draft out of the College of Southern Nevada.

Taylor joined the Indians organization last June as a tenth round selection out of Corona High School in Corona, California. The 5’10” second baseman appeared in 32 games with the rookie league Indians club in Arizona last season, hitting .293 with five doubles, two triples, a homer, and 14 RBI.

He made his short-season debut with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers when the New York-Penn League season began a month ago. Through 28 games, the 19-year-old was hitting an even .300 with six doubles, a triple, four homers, and 19 RBI.

Smith is expected to join the Indians in Boston for their series with the Red Sox.

Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images



Cleveland Indians acquire Joe Smith from the Toronto Blue Jays


The Cleveland Indians made their move right before Monday’s trade deadline, acquiring Joe Smith from the Toronto Blue Jays. The Cleveland Indians have seen a recent resurgence all throughout the roster, but there was still room for help in the bullpen. The Indians decided to help that need by reportedly trading for Joe Smith, who […]

Cleveland Indians acquire Joe Smith from the Toronto Blue JaysBelieveland BallBelieveland Ball – A Cleveland Indians Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Source: Wahoos on First


Cleveland Indians: 3 takeaways from a series win in Chicago


The Cleveland Indians ended the series against the Chicago White Sox with a loss, but still won the series. Here is what stood out. Today is a wild day around the league as plenty of players are expected to be traded, but there are still games to be played. The Cleveland Indians head to Boston […]

Cleveland Indians: 3 takeaways from a series win in ChicagoBelieveland BallBelieveland Ball – A Cleveland Indians Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Source: Wahoos on First


Indians Change Their Sox for a Big Battle in Boston


While both the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox could have been big buyers at Monday afternoon’s trade deadline, each club made just minor tweaks to its roster as the league prepares for the final two months of the regular season schedule. Both very much in contention, the two teams will play each other this week for the first time since the Indians swept the Red Sox in the American League Division Series last October.

The Indians (57-46) have turned around what looked like a frightening start to the second half of their season after opening 1-5 against two of the worst teams in baseball in the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants on a west coast road trip. Since then, they rattled off nine straight wins, including sweeping a perfect seven-game homestand, before they were finally slowed down by the Chicago White Sox, 3-1, on a walk-off homer on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Sox (57-49) lost the bookends of their series over the weekend with the Kansas City Royals. They have struggled of late, losing their hold on the top spot in the American League East to the New York Yankees, who have a half-game lead over their rivals in the division. They are just 12-14 in the month of July (despite outscoring their opposition, 116-99) and are 7-10 since the All-Star break. The Indians are the only AL Central team that the Red Sox had not faced this season – they are 12-11 against the rest of the division.

Clevinger - Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Clevinger – Matthew Stockman/Getty Images


Monday, 7/31, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Mike Clevinger (5-3, 3.20 ERA) vs. RHP Doug Fister (0-5, 7.46)

Clevinger is coming off of his shortest start in five weeks and his worst of the season. He allowed six runs (five earned) on nine hits with two homers and two walks allowed in four and one-third innings against the team that drafted him, the Los Angeles Angels, in a game that the Indians would hit two grand slams and claim a walk-off win. Clevinger had thrown four straight quality starts prior to that outing this season and, despite the rough outing, still has a 2.42 ERA and .205 batting average against in the month of July. It will be his first career start against Boston.

Fister was a late arrival to the Red Sox roster this season after a brief stint in the minors for the Los Angeles Angels. He has worked three times in relief and four times in a starting role for the Red Sox since signing as a free agent following his release by the Angels, but has struggled to put up the kind of numbers that he had earlier in his career. He has a 5-4 career record against Cleveland with a 3.13 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP, with much of those results coming from earlier in his career during his time with the Detroit Tigers.

Tuesday, 8/1, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Carlos Carrasco (10-4, 3.58) vs. LHP Chris Sale (13-4, 2.37)

It will be a pitching matchup to watch on Tuesday as Carrasco and Sale face off in a familiar AL Central style rematch. In his last start, Carrasco gave the Indians another good effort on the mound but took a no-decision against the Angels in a game the team would go on to win, 10-4. He worked into the seventh inning, logging six and one-third innings of work while allowing two runs on six hits with five strikeouts. Four of his five starts in July were quality efforts. He is 1-1 in his career against the Red Sox in five games (three starts) with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP.

Sale is the early favorite in the Cy Young voting for the year behind an incredible start in his first season with the Red Sox. Since giving up a two-run homer to Wilson Ramos in the sixth inning of a game in Tampa on July 6, Sale has worked 22 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. He has struck out no fewer than six batters in any one start and in two-thirds of his outings, he has struck out at least ten batters (14 times in total). He was 3-1 in July with a 1.04 ERA and a .167 batting average against, striking out 56 batters in 34 2/3 innings (a rate of 14.54 per nine innings). He is 5-7 in 27 career appearances against the Indians with a 4.07 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. He was 1-1 against them last season with a 7.84 ERA.

Wednesday, 8/2, 7:10 PM ET – RHP Trevor Bauer (9-8, 5.25) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (4-14, 4.55)

Bauer was fantastic his last time out in arguably his best outing of the season. He gave the Indians eight innings on the mound and allowed just one run on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts in a 2-1 win over the Angels. The pressure is on the Indians rotation as the six-man staff will likely be pared down in the near future, but Bauer stood up to the pressure to maintain his spot for the time being. He has had little luck with the Red Sox in his career, posting an 0-2 record with a 12.91 ERA and a 2.61 WHIP in three career appearances (two starts).

The 28-year-old Porcello, the American League’s reigning Cy Young winner, has had an abysmal season for the Sox. He has lost five consecutive decisions and, since May 28 (a span of a dozen starts), he has gone 1-9 with a 4.71 ERA while allowing opposing batters to hit .287 against him. While he has lost four straight starts, he had a pair of tough luck complete game losses in that stretch, giving up just a run in defeat to Tampa on July 8 and three runs in eight innings in a loss in Los Angeles to the Angels on July 23. His last time out, he allowed four runs on six hits over seven innings, but fell to the Kansas City Royals.


TV – Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio (all); ESPN (7/31); MLB Network (8/1 – out of market); NESN (all)
Radio (all) – Cleveland Indians Radio Network; WEEI 93.7, WCEC 1490 AM/ 103.7FM (Boston)


Cody Anderson (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/2) – right elbow surgery
Lonnie Chisenhall (RF) – 10-day disabled list (7/9) – right calf strain
Perci Garner (RP) – designated for assignment (7/31)
Jason Kipnis (2B) – 10-day disabled list (7/9) – right hamstring strain
Boone Logan (RP) – 60-day disabled list (7/20) – left lat muscle
Tyler Olson (RP) – recalled from Triple-A Columbus (7/31)
Thomas Pannone (MiLB SP) – traded to Toronto (7/31)
Joe Smith (RP) – acquired in trade from Toronto (7/31)
Samad Taylor (MiLB 2B) – traded to Toronto (7/31)
Josh Tomlin (SP) – 10-day disabled list (7/31) – right hamstring

Roenis Elias (P) – 60-day disabled list (4/1) – right intercostal, oblique, left lat strains; on rehab assignment
Marco Hernandez (2B) – 60-day disabled list (5/4) – recovery from May 2017 left shoulder surgery
Joe Kelly (RP) – 10-day disabled list (7/12) – right hamstring strain
Austin Maddox (P) – recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket (7/31)
Dustin Pedroia (2B) – day-to-day – left knee soreness; not in lineup 7/31
David Price (SP) – 10-day disabled list (7/25) – left elbow inflammation
Addison Reed (RP) – acquired from New York Mets (7/31)
Robbie Ross (RP) – 60-day disabled list (5/19) – left elbow inflammation
Josh Rutledge (3B) – 60-day disabled list (6/24) – concussion
Robby Scott (P) – optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket (7/31)
Carson Smith (RP) – 60-day disabled list (4/1) – recovery from May 2016 Tommy John surgery
Ben Taylor (P) – 10-day disabled list (7/23) – left intercostal strain
Tyler Thornburg (RP) – 60-day disabled list (4/1) – recovery from June 2017 rib surgery
Steven Wright (SP) – 60-day disabled list (4/30) – recovery from May 2017 left knee surgery
Luis Ysla (P) – traded to Los Angeles Dodgers (7/29)


Team Record Win % GB Streak
 Cleveland  57-46  .553  –  L1
 Kansas City  55-48  .534  2.0  W1
 Minnesota  50-53  .485  7.0  L2
 Detroit  47-56  .456  10.0  W2
 Chicago  40-62  .392  16.5  W1



Prior to the deadline, both the Indians and Red Sox were active in upgrading their bullpens.

The Indians re-acquired right-handed reliever Joe Smith from the Toronto Blue Jays for a pair of minor leaguers, 23-year-old left-handed starting pitcher Thomas Pannone and 19-year-old second baseman Samad Taylor. The Indians designated minor league right-hander Perci Garner for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Smith.

The Red Sox added a face very familiar to the Indians in recent years, picking up right-handed reliever Addison Reed from the New York Mets for three pitching prospects – right-handers Gerson Bautista, Jamie Callahan, and Stephen Nogosek.

Reed, who had been working as the Mets’ closer for much of this season, will work in a setup capacity to All-Star Craig Kimbrel.

Ramirez - Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Ramirez – Stephen Brashear/Getty Images


Pedroia will miss at least the beginning of the series opener between the Indians and the Red Sox with a knee injury. He is hitting .322 since the All-Star break and .307 on the year in 85 games. He is 4-for-9 with a double against Carrasco, but will need to return to the field on Tuesday in order to face him.

Clevinger has faced just two members of the Red Sox – the recently acquired Eduardo Nunez (1-for-3 with a single) and Mitch Moreland (0-for-1 with a strikeout). Nunez has five hits in 12 at bats in three games since joining the Red Sox, including two homers.

Hanley Ramirez has four hits (including two doubles) and has driven in three in seven plate appearances against Bauer. He is hitting .234 in 16 games since the All-Star break, but does have four home runs in that stretch.

Brock Holt has two hits, including a homer and two RBI, in three plate appearances against Carrasco. He is 3-for-5 against Bauer with a triple and an RBI.

Moreland is 4-for-10 with a pair of homers, a double, and six runs batted in against Carrasco. He is 0-for-6 against Bauer with a strikeout.

Jackie Bradley Jr is 0-for-4 against Carrasco with three strikeouts. He has a hit and two walks in five trips against Bauer. He is hitting just .217 since the break and has struck out 22 times in 69 at bats over his last 17 games.

Mookie Betts has struck out in one of his three trips against Carrasco. He has three extra base hits against Bauer in his career, including two doubles and a homer. He is the team leader in doubles (31) and RBI (63) and is tied with Ramirez for the homer lead with 17.


All eight Indians on the roster to have faced Fister before have notched at least one hit off of him.

Michael Brantley has one of the larger bodies of work against Fister and plenty of success to show for it. He has hit .367 (11-for-30) with three doubles, two homers, and five RBI. Francisco Lindor is 2-for-5 and has been hit by a pitch.

Carlos Santana is 5-for-34 (.147) against Fister with a double, a homer, four RBI, and eight strikeouts. Austin Jackson has struggled with Fister as well, going 2-for-17 (.118) with four strikeouts.

Ten of the 12 offensive players on the roster for the Indians have gotten hits against Sale with a wide range of success.

Lindor is 8-for-16 (.500) against him with a double, a homer, and two RBI. Edwin Encarnacion is 5-for-13 (.385) with a homer, three walks, and two RBI. Jose Ramirez is a .357 hitter (5-for-14) with four walks for a .474 on-base percentage off of Sale. Santana is a .300 hitter with a .378 OBP lifetime with a double, a homer, and nine RBI against the southpaw.

Brandon Guyer is just 1-for-7 with three strikeouts against Sale, but has been plunked by two pitches. Jackson has just two hits in 35 plate appearances (.061) against the veteran lefty with 15 strikeouts.

Brantley & Santana - Jon Durr/Getty Images

Brantley & Santana – Jon Durr/Getty Images

Santana and Encarnacion have each taken Porcello deep three times in their careers. Encarnacion has hit .325 with five doubles and ten RBI in the process. Santana has two doubles and four RBI against him. Yan Gomes has hit .385 against him (5-for-13) with a pair of doubles.

Encarnacion is hitting just .212 since the break, but has has drawn four more walks (15) than he has hits (11) to give him a far more respectable .388 on-base percentage.

Jackson has ten hits in 20 at bats since returning from the disabled list and has added in four walks (.500 average, .583 on-base percentage).

Lindor is hitting .369 with a .431 on-base percentage since the All-Star break. He has a team-high 24 hits in that span, including four doubles and two home runs.

Santana is the club’s second half leader in homers with four. Brantley and Encarnacion are right on his tail with three each. The latter is the team’s leader for the season with 21, followed by Ramirez with 18 and Lindor with 16.

Brantley and Encarnacion both have driven in 12 runs since the break. Encarnacion is the team leader with 60, followed by Ramirez and Santana, who are tied with 55.


After wrapping up the series finale from Beantown on Wednesday night, the Indians will stay within the American League East, but will return home for a four-game series with the New York Yankees over the weekend beginning Thursday night. The Red Sox will stay at home at Fenway Park to host the Chicago White Sox for four games, also beginning Thursday evening.

Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images



Tribe’s Streak Snapped as Davidson Hits Walk-off Off Shaw; White Sox 3, Indians 1


A two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth by Chicago rookie Matt Davidson off of Cleveland’s Bryan Shaw ended the Indians’ nine-game winning streak as the American League Central leaders fell to the White Sox, 3-1, on Sunday.

It was once again a tale of missed opportunities for the Indians, who saw their long stretch of victories come to a close at Guaranteed Rate Field in the finale of the three-game series with the Pale Hose. A well-pitched game on both sides came down to the final frame, when Cleveland’s persona non grata not named Kyrie Irving served up back-to-back hits in the ninth, with the latter giving the White Sox a much needed win during a tumultuous time of upheaval in the club’s clubhouse.

Just prior to the game, the White Sox completed yet another trade in their current fire sale, dealing a seventh player this month, veteran outfielder Melky Cabrera, to the Kansas City Royals, not long after he commented publicly about his desire to close out his career in Chicago.

Davidson - David Banks/Getty Images

Davidson – David Banks/Getty Images

The Indians missed on a big chance in the top of the ninth against reliever Tyler Clippard, who was one of the players acquired in recent trades by the White Sox. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Roberto Perez hit a ground rule double into the left field corner. He was lifted for pinch-runner Erik Gonzalez, but it would prove fruitless as Bradley Zimmer was cut down swinging.

Shaw had worked a quiet eighth, retiring the side in order. He returned for the ninth, with the Indians bullpen heavily used in the ball game as starter Josh Tomlin exited during warmup pitches prior to the bottom of the fifth. After getting Yolmer Sanchez to ground out for the first out, Shaw hung a breaking ball to Jose Abreu that was yanked into left field for a one-out double. With the winning run in scoring position in pinch-runner Alen Hanson, Shaw’s 1-1 pitch to Davidson was driven deep to center, getting a cursory effort from Zimmer before he accepted the fact that the ball was well out of his reach, giving the White Sox a 3-1 walk-off victory.

The Indians dropped to 57-46 with the loss and saw their lead in the AL Central shrink back to two games with a Kansas City Royals win in Boston. The wheeling-and-dealing White Sox improved to 40-62 on the season.

Cleveland had held an early lead against Chicago starter Carlos Rodon, who looked shaky early but settled in for a solid start for the Sox. After stranding a pair in the first and a runner in scoring position in the second, he allowed a solo homer to Francisco Lindor to lead off the third. The next batter, Austin Jackson, reached on a single but would be erased later in the inning on a double play.

Tomlin was firing on all cylinders for the Indians. He struck out the side in the first and added a fourth straight strikeout to start the second. A throwing error by Lindor in the bottom of the third allowed the first base runner, but Tim Anderson was eliminated two pitches later on a double play grounder by Willy Garcia. A second batter reached in the fourth when Abreu was plunked with two outs, but Tomlin struck out his fifth batter of the game in retiring Davidson.

Tomlin came out for warmup pitches in the middle of the fifth, but after a couple of throws, the training staff came out to the mound after an awkward-looking delivery. He would leave the game with a hamstring tweak that had grabbed on the pitch, despite throwing four innings of no-hit baseball.

“On that ground ball, I don’t know if he hit the rubber but it grabbed him a little bit,” said manager Terry Francona of a play the previous inning that seemed to be the culprit for Tomlin’s injury. “When we were watching him warm up, it didn’t look good. … He’ll fight you tooth and nail to stay in a game, part of why we like him so much. But we also can’t let him hurt himself.”

Nick Goody came on and was sharp in the fifth, striking out the side. He struck out each of the first two batters in the sixth before getting into a battle with Leury Garcia, back with the White Sox after being activated from the disabled list prior to the game. After fouling off five pitches, Garcia finally put one in play and it quickly exited the yard for a game-tying solo home run to right.

The Indians would threaten again in the seventh, knocking Rodon out of the game. Giovanny Urshela singled with one out and Zimmer put runners on the corners with his two-out single to center. Rodon was replaced by Jake Petricka and Zimmer would steal second, putting a pair in scoring position, but Lindor could not deliver as he flied to left to end the inning.

Tomlin - David Banks/Getty Images

Tomlin – David Banks/Getty Images

It would be the best of the remaining opportunities for the Tribe, as they got a one-out single from Jose Ramirez off of Petricka in the eighth and the two-out double from Perez in the ninth, but could not produce. The team was 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position on the afternoon and stranded eight men. By comparison, the White Sox were just 1-for-2 and stranded three, but the one hit that they had with runners in scoring position was the deciding blow.

Tomlin struck out five and did not walk a batter in his brief four innings. Rodon allowed just one run on six hits with a pair of walks and nine strikeouts in six and two-thirds innings in a no-decision. Clippard earned his second win of the season, while Shaw took his fifth loss.

The Indians will change their Sox and head east to Boston to take on the Red Sox for three straight this week. Mike Clevinger (5-3, 3.20 ERA) is scheduled to start in the series opener from Fenway on Monday against big right-hander Doug Fister (0-5, 7.46).

Photo: David Banks/Getty Images



Santana on Fire, Lifting Indians at Important Time


Cleveland Indians first baseman/designated hitter Carlos Santana could not have picked a better time for his bat to start heating up. Both from a team standpoint and individual standpoint, Santana’s recent hitting outburst has been much-needed.

The Tribe lost both second baseman Jason Kipnis and right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall to injuries just before the All-Star break. Between those two, that accounts for a good chunk of offense. Around that time, Santana started hitting like it was 2016 all over again. After a cool first half to the season, his bat has really started to heat up of late.

Santana, who has been with the Tribe since 2010, has never been the model of consistency. He’s never strung together consecutive truly powerful seasons. He has topped the 25 home run mark three times, but never in back-to-back seasons. However, a lot was expected of the veteran coming into the 2017 campaign.

Last year, at the age of 30, Santana blasted a career-best 34 home runs. He tied for the team lead with Mike Napoli. He also had a career-high 87 RBI and hit .259, which was his second-best output in a full season of Major League Baseball. Combine his 2016 breakout with the fact that he was coming into a contract year this season and many people thought he would have another big year en route to landing a rich free agent contract this winter.

Perhaps he was pressing early in the season as a free-agent-to-be. Maybe he felt the pressure to be a big-time power source when newcomer Edwin Encarnacion struggled for more than a month to find his power that made him so popular for half a decade in Toronto.

Either way, Santana was in funk for the season’s first three months.

Traditionally a better second-half hitter, this year’s first half just seemed like more of a grind for Santana. As June came to a close, Santana was hitting just .225, well below his modest career average of .247. He’d only hit nine homers. The good news was he was at least driving in runs with 41 RBI. However, even that number was a steady decline from 16 in April, to 14 in May, to 11 in June. He hit just .219 in the third month of the season and was really languishing. He had yet to have any sort of hot streak that he has shown in past years to be capable of.

In other seasons that he struggled, there were always reasons. Early on, it was the brutality of playing behind the plate as the team’s catcher. Then it was trying to learn new positions as he unsuccessfully transferred to third base and then successfully learned how to play first base.

For much of his career, Santana has often been the lone player on the Indians with 25-or-more home run ability. That changed last year with Napoli coming to town and this year with the Napoli upgrade in Encarnacion.

The outburst for Santana in 2016 was credited in part because he had finally found a home in the field playing first base and part-time DH. He was not struggling to learn a position. He did not have to try and be the main source of power any longer for the Tribe and could be more comfortable at the plate. The pieces were all in place for him this year to maintain the success he had a season ago.

Yet despite that, Santana struggled out of the gate and into the halfway point of the campaign. Then July hit. It was almost like a switch was flipped once June ended. In his first five contests of the month, Santana had four games in which he collect two hits. After the July 4 game, he left the team for a few games to go on paternity leave. Who knows how personal life can affect a professional athlete. However, it’s as if his wife giving birth helped ease his mind. He had three of his two-hit games right before his brief hiatus and then returned on July 8 with another two-hit affair.

Santana has continued his hot-hitting ways throughout the month, especially in the last week. Heading into Saturday night’s game, Santana was hitting .333 in July. He had raised his batting average to .246 from the .225 it was at as June was wrapping up. His June swoon has turned into a July blast.

From July 19 through Friday night, a nine-game span, Santana had four two-hit games and a three-hit night. He was 13-of-38 (.342 average) with four home runs and seven RBI. He has raised his totals for the season to 14 bombs and 55 RBI. That hot stretch helped power the Tribe to an eight-game winning streak through Friday night.

With two important pieces to the batting order out in Kipnis and Chisenhall, the Indians have really gotten a boost from Santana. Chisenhall was the team’s RBI leader when he got hurt. Santana has taken up that mantle of timely hitting.

It has always been said that when Santana gets into one of his truly hot stretches, he can truly carry a team. In this case, he has not had to carry the team. His hot streak coincides with Francisco Lindor getting hot, Jose Ramirez continuing to put up All-Star numbers, and Encarnacion remaining on a pace to hit more than 30 taters in his first season with the Tribe.

Last year, Santana was one of the centerpieces of an offense that finished second in the American League in runs scored en route to winning a division title and earning a trip to the World Series. The offense had many players who contributed, but Santana stood out with his 34 jacks.

This year, it seems that Santana may not stand out, despite still being surrounded by other good hitters and being in a contract year in which a possible long-term deal could be at stake. The first-baseman/DH has turned the 2017 narrative around as he is getting his numbers closer to those 25-homer, 85-RBI totals that are typical of his best campaigns.

It means Santana may not be cheap this winter. A 31-year-old with 30-home-run potential could command three or four years and a hefty amount of money. It is possible he could be having his hot and cold streaks in another uniform next year after playing his whole MLB career in Cleveland to this point. That, however, is not a worry for now.

For now, the Indians are worried about trying to repeat as division champs and get back to the Fall Classic, with a goal of winning it this time around. It is not going to be easy. The Kansas City Royals entered Saturday on an even hotter streak than the Indians, having won nine games in a row. They are putting pressure on the Tribe for the division crown. Teams like the Astros, Yankees, and Red Sox are real threats to the Indians getting back to the World Series. The Dodgers, Nationals, and resurgent Cubs are looming large and could stand in the way of the Indians winning the Series this October.

Getting Chisenhall and Kipnis back soon will be big keys toward the Indians being able to overcome the obstacles that stand between them and their first World Championship since 1948. A prolonged hot streak at the plate from Santana could be one of the bigger difference makers. It was last year, when that same blueprint of two guys in the lineup rocketing the ball a long way at a steady pace helped to drive the offense. It could help Cleveland go a long way again this year.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images



Guyer Takes One for Team as Hit by Pitch Scores Deciding Run; Indians 5, White Sox 4


A mark of a good team is being able to find new ways to win. The Cleveland Indians did that on Saturday night as, after giving up an early four-run lead, Brandon Guyer was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the ninth to score Carlos Santana with the go-ahead run in a 5-4 Tribe win.

The Indians (57-45) pushed their winning streak to nine straight games with the highly unusual ending to a Corey Kluber start from the southside of Chicago. Coupled with a late loss by Kansas City against the Boston Red Sox, the Indians’ lead over the Royals in the American League Central has grown to three games.

With the score tied at four in the top of the ninth, the Indians were down to their final out of the frame against left-hander Aaron Bummer. Santana kept the inning alive by drawing his fourth walk of the game. Austin Jackson blooped a single into shallow right field to move the go-ahead run into scoring position. Chicago manager Rick Renteria opted to go to his bullpen for Gregory Infante, but his first offering plunked catcher Yan Gomes in the thigh to load the bases. Terry Francona went to his bench, bringing on Guyer to pinch-hit for Erik Gonzalez. The outfielder would deliver in strangely predictable fashion, to a degree, as a 1-2 pitch from Infante caught him in the left arm. The bean ball scored Santana and put the Indians up, 5-4. Bradley Zimmer flied to deep left to end the inning.

Cody Allen had to go through a dangerous part of the White Sox lineup and retired the side in order. Jose Abreu lined to right before Yoan Moncada struck out and Matt Davidson grounded to Francisco Lindor at short with the final out of the night.

Cleveland had led 4-0 in the contest before Chicago was able to even up the score in the middle innings.

In the second against White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez, Santana drew his first walk of the night with one out in the inning. Jackson reached safely on an error by Alen Hanson in left, putting two in scoring position for Gomes. He drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to center to give the Indians an early lead.

The Indians poured it on the next inning and missed out on several extra runs. Zimmer and Lindor each singled to start the inning and both stood in scoring position when Michael Brantley came to the plate. He lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Zimmer to make it 2-0. Edwin Encarnacion followed with a single to center to score Lindor, making it a three-run advantage. After a foul out by Ramirez, Santana singled and Jackson scored Encarnacion on a ground rule double to make it 4-0.

Kluber - AP Photo/Paul Beaty

Kluber – AP Photo/Paul Beaty

Kluber had started the game in his usual dominant fashion. After a leadoff single to start the game by Melky Cabrera, Kluber struck out the next three batters to end the first. He added strikeouts for the first and third outs in the second, but the White Sox would strike through to make it a ball game again in the bottom of the third. With one out, Adam Engel was hit by a pitch. Cabrera reached on an infield single to short before a strikeout of Yolmer Sanchez for the second out. Kluber missed his location to Abreu on his first pitch to the slugger and he made him pay with a three-run shot to left field to cut the score to 4-3.

The Tribe ace struck out two more in the fourth and a pair in the fifth. He added two more to start the home half of the sixth to make it four straight strikeouts for the second time on the night before Hanson doubled to right. Two pitches later, Tim Anderson blooped a double just in front of Jackson near the right field foul line to score the tying run, making it a 4-4 game.

The Indians would load the bases in the seventh, but would not score. Tyler Clippard came on in relief of Gonzalez and his own error allowed Lindor to reach safely to start the inning. Lindor stole second as Brantley struck out. Encarnacion worked a walk before Jose Ramirez popped to short for the second out. Santana walked to load the bases, but the former Sox outfielder Jackson flied to left to end the threat.

Chicago would threaten to break the tie in its half of the seventh, but it was denied by the Cleveland pitching staff. Cabrera doubled to right-center for his fourth hit of the night off of Kluber. A good sacrifice from Sanchez moved him to third. Abreu was intentionally walked and Francona replaced one All-Star with another, calling upon Andrew Miller. He hit Moncada to load the bases and then hit Davidson with a pitch, but after a delay on the field, it was ruled that he swung at the pitch. He would go on to strike out for the fourth time in the ball game and another strikeout of Kevan Smith ended the inning with the score still tied at four.

The Indians had another chance in the eighth, but could not score against Jake Petricka. With two down, Zimmer walked and Lindor slapped a single that dropped just in front of a diving Cabrera. Zimmer advanced to third on the missed catch and Bummer came on in relief, retiring Brantley with a fly to left.

Miller had his own issues again in the eighth but was able to tight rope out of trouble. Hanson singled to start the inning and was sacrificed to second. Engel walked and would go to third as Cabrera grounded into a force at third. The return throw to first by Ramirez to complete the double play was in the dirt, keeping the inning alive. Miller came back and struck out Sanchez to leave the go-ahead run at third.

Kluber worked six and a third in his no-decision. He allowed four runs on nine hits with a walk and 12 strikeouts. It was just the second time since returning from the disabled list that he has not given the Indians a quality start. Gonzalez’s outing was a quality one for the White Sox, despite leaving in line for the loss. He worked six innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts before getting off of the hook for the L with the sixth inning tally by his teammates.

Miller earned his fourth win of the season with his inning and two-thirds of scoreless relief. He walked one and allowed one hit while striking out three. Allen’s perfect ninth netted him his 19th save in 20 chances.

Left-hander Carlos Rodon (1-4, 6.29 ERA) will make his first start of the season against the Indians in the series finale on Sunday. It will be his sixth start of the season as he looks to end a losing streak of three straight and four of his first five. Josh Tomlin (7-9, 5.59) will take the mound for the Tribe. He made his third straight quality start his last time out, but he has been hit particularly hard by the White Sox this season, giving up eleven runs on 17 hits in just four and one-third innings.

Game time from Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago is scheduled for 2:10 PM ET on Sunday.

Photo: AP Photo/Paul Beaty



Indians Claim Reliever Moreno from Rays, Move Logan to 60-Day DL


The Cleveland Indians added an insurance policy to their relief staff on Saturday, claiming right-handed reliever Diego Moreno off of waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays. He was immediately optioned to Triple-A Columbus.

In a corresponding roster move to make room for Moreno on the 40-man roster, the Indians have transferred left-handed reliever Boone Logan to the 60-day disabled list, confirming fears about the extent of his strained lat muscle.

Moreno, a 30-year-old out of Venezuela, was designated for assignment by Tampa Bay on July 27 after the Rays acquired veteran left-hander Dan Jennings from the Chicago White Sox. He had appeared in just five games this season for the Rays, earning a loss while posting a 4.76 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP in five and two-thirds innings. He allowed six hits, walked a pair, and struck out six in his limited work. In eleven games of action at Triple-A Durham, he had earned a 1.10 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP.

He also missed a chunk of time in May and June while dealing with a right shoulder injury. He works primarily with a fastball-changeup combo, but will also throw the slider. He has worked almost exclusively as a reliever in his career.

Moreno made his big league debut in 2015 in his only other season at the MLB level, appearing in four games for the New York Yankees. He was signed in 2006 and developed previously by the Pittsburgh Pirates, who sent him to New York as part of the A.J. Burnett trade in 2012.

“We’re starting to get a little thinner on Major League guys,” said Indians manager Terry Francona prior to Saturday’s game in Chicago with the White Sox. “So it makes sense to add inventory, or however you want to say it.”

Logan’s move to the 60-day disabled list now guarantees his absence from the Tribe roster until at least the third week of September. He had a second opinion on his injury and now has to determine his next course of action, one of which may be to surgically repairing the tear.

In his first season with the Indians, Logan had appeared in 38 games in relief (21 innings) while compiling a 1-0 record, a 4.71 ERA, and a 1.38 WHIP.

Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images



Cleveland Indians: Danny Salazar states a strong claim to retain his old job


The Cleveland Indians picked up an eighth straight win Friday night, while Danny Salazar had his second straight dominant start since returning from injury. Just over one week ago, optimistic Cleveland Indians fans were beginning to feel the emotional toll of constantly telling others the team would turn things around. What a difference eight games […]

Cleveland Indians: Danny Salazar states a strong claim to retain his old jobBelieveland BallBelieveland Ball – A Cleveland Indians Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

Source: Wahoos on First