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White Sox 4, Indians 3: Tonight's One Last Thing on Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and wasted efforts

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 20, 2015

The Indians failed to take advantage of another great outing from a starting pitcher and fell to the Chicago White Sox 4-3. Cody Allen blew a three-run lead in the ninth.

Tonight’s One Last Thing: The Indians won’t be able to catch Detroit and Kansas City if they keep wasting strong performances from their starters.

And early on, that’s meant Corey Kluber and now Trevor Bauer.

Kluber has thrown 6 1/3 innings, 7 1/3 innings and 8 innings in his three starts, allowing two runs in all three. Those are all quality starts. In two, he had no-hit bids into at least the fifth inning.

In two of those starts, the Indians scored 2 and 0 runs. In the third, they scored six but the bullpen allowed seven (a 9-6 loss to the Tigers).

Bauer’s run support has been adequate. But like one of Kluber’s starts, the bullpen couldn’t convert tonight. Bauer allowed six base runners in seven innings. Allen allowed seven base runners in a row.

Just between Kluber and Bauer, the Indians have lost four games in the first 12 after strong outings. Considering TJ House has struggled and Zach McAllister seems better suited in the bullpen, the Indians will need to capitalize on the front end of its rotation. Danny Salazar could turn out to be a strong option.

There are plenty of things you can say about a baseball team and go, “Well they need this to happen” or “They can’t continue to do this.” Getting these outings from Kluber and Bauer and not being able to turn them into wins might be at the front of that list right now.

Also, some more on Bauer, courtesy of Fox Sports — Bauer’s 26 strikeouts are the most by an Indians pitcher in his first three starts of the season since Sam McDowell had 31 in 1970. Bauer is also the first Indians pitcher since at least 1914 with 26-plus strikeouts and 8 or fewer hits allowed in his first three starts, and he’s only the seventh pitcher across baseball to do so.

Bauer has been nothing short of terrific in all three of his starts. In two, he’s been almost unhittable. The drawback is that he’s not afraid to go deep into counts with hitters or racking up a high pitch count. But as long as he’s accurate enough to not walk batters, he’s proving to be awfully hard to hit. Assuming Carlos Carrasco is OK, the Indians have quite the 1-2-3 in their rotation.

If they can take advantage of it.

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Cleveland Indians, Cody Allen blow three-run lead in ninth, lose to Chicago White Sox 4-3

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 20, 2015

The Indians again wasted a strong effort from a starting pitcher, as Cody Allen blew a three-run lead in the ninth in a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox Monday night.

After recording the first out of the ninth inning, Allen allowed seven consecutive batters to reach base. The first major blow was Alexei Ramirez's two-RBI double on a ball that looked catchable, but Mike Aviles—filling in for Michael Bourn—couldn't come up with it. The White Sox singled twice to load the bases and Melky Cabrera singled to deep left field to win the game.

Trevor Bauer struck out seven and allowed only four hits over seven scoreless innings. He now has a 0.95 ERA this season.

Offensively, the Indians continued their trend of solo home runs—Ryan Raburn and Brett Hayes each hit one off of White Sox starter John Danks. Michael Brantley also doubled home a run.

The Indians fall to 4-8 this season and are in last place in the American League Central.

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Cleveland Indians fall to Minnesota Twins 7-2, lose series

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 19, 2015

Indians starting pitcher TJ House was hit hard again, this time in a 7-2 loss on the road to the Twins on Sunday.

House allowed five earned runs on seven hits in five and 2/3 innings. He also struck out two batters and walked to. His season ERA is up to 14.14.

Anthony Swarzak came on in relief for House and gave up a three-run home run to Torii Hunter, which extended the Twins’ lead to 7-1 (one of the runners reached base against House).

Michael Brantley drove in the Indians’ first run after Michael Bourn, Jason Kipnis and then he all hit two-out singles in the third inning. In the ninth inning, Carlos Santana hit his second home run of the season to right field.

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Indians 4, Twins 2: Today's One Last Thing on Roberto Perez and his free-of-expectations bat

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 18, 2015

The Indians beat the Twins 4-2 Saturday, largely behind Danny Salazar’s six-inning, 10-strikeout debut.

Today’s One Last Thing: Roberto Perez and his unexpected offense

It was only about three weeks ago that Indians manager Terry Francona was talking to Perez in the clubhouse in Arizona. When the subject of Opening Day came up, Perez got goosebumps. He was going to break camp with the big-league squad for the first time, which Francona called one of those cool moments a manager get to have with new players each spring.

Now he’s acting as one of the hotter Indians hitters.

When Yan Gomes went down with a sprained right knee, defensively, the Indians weren’t going to have a let-down. Gomes is a very good defensive catcher but Roberto Perez might be even better. He’s been ranked by Baseball Prospectus as one of the best pitch framers in the minor leagues the last two seasons. He has an equally strong arm—he gunned down Billy Hamilton trying to steal second base toward the end of spring. Not many guys have done that.

Offense is where Gomes separates himself with Perez.

Plus, Gomes was a talented right-handed hitter in a lefty-heavy lineup. So his absence in the batting order is pretty hard to replace (Dan Szymborski of ESPN and ZiPS had Gomes as the 12th-most indispensable player for a reason).

Perez is a rookie, back-up, defensive-minded catcher. So he’s in the position that any offense he provides is a nice boost. He has almost no expectations offensively. And it’s only been seven games, but he’s done well so far.

He’s hitting .316 this season (batting average is way too fickle a number to look at this early, but it at least shows he’s hitting well), he went 3-for-4 Saturday and has now hit two home runs in only seven games played. He hit his first home run in Houston filling in for a day and today added a second-deck solo shot to left-center field. Both pitches were jumped on and both were no-doubters.

For two months as Gomes rehabs, Perez will hold his own defensively. Pitchers have talked before about how much they love working with him. Francona said Perez was “made to catch.”

If he can do the same offensively, especially while the top of the lineup struggles to get going, Perez is suddenly one of the more valuable players on the roster, all things considered.

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Cleveland Indians beat Minnesota Twins 4-2 in Danny Salazar's 2015 debut

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 18, 2015

The Indians topped the Twins 4-2 on the road on Saturday behind a solid debut outing from Danny Salazar, who was called up from Triple-A Saturday morning.

Salazar struck out 10 batters over six innings and allowed two earned runs. Left-handed reliever Nick Hagadone pitched two scoreless innings and Cody Allen earned his third save of the season.

Offensively, Roberto Perez hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot in the third inning. Lonnie Chisenhall later scored Brandon Moss, who had doubled, on a sacrifice fly to left field. Jason Kipnis added an RBI single in the top of the seventh inning and the Indians' fourth run scored on a wild pitch.

The Indians improved to 4-6 this season with the win. Austin Adams was optioned back to Triple-A to make room for Salazar. TJ House will take the mound on Sunday to finish off the three-game set with the Twins.

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Twins beat Indians 3-2 in 11th inning on walk-off home run

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 17, 2015

The Indians lost to the Minnesota Twins 3-2 Friday night on Trevor Plouffe's walk-off home run in the 11th inning.

The home run came off of Bryan Shaw, who entered the game in the 10th inning. Shaw struck out Kennys Vargas with the bases loaded to end the 10th to extend the game.

It was another solid effort by Corey Kluber wasted by a lack of offense and some poor defense. Kluber threw eight innings, allowed two earned runs on three hits and struck out eight.

The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning. Roberto Perez singled and then went first-to-third on a nicely executed hit-and-run with Jose Ramirez. Perez then scored on a wild pitch by Twins starter Mike Pelfrey.

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Cleveland Indians to promote SP Danny Salazar for Saturday start against Minnesota Twins

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 16, 2015

The Cleveland Indians will be recalling right-handed pitcher Danny Salazar to make a spot start against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.

Salazar, who was optioned to Triple-A Columbus this spring after he struggled with consistency, will travel with the team to Minnesota and be activated prior to Saturday’s game. His promotion will allow Carlos Carrasco to receive some extra rest after being hit in the face by a line drive Tuesday night. Carrasco is slated to start Monday in Chicago.

Salazar, 25, made one start in Triple-A, pitching six scoreless innings (seven strikeouts, no walks, four hits allowed). This spring, he went 1-2 with an 8.18 ERA as his velocity was up, which was a good sign, but he struggled with his control.

It’s unclear how long he will remain with the big-league club after Saturday. Salazar has a career 8-11 record and 3.89 ERA with 185 strikeouts in 162 innings pitched at the Major League level.

Corey Kluber will start on Friday against the Twins’ Mike Pelfrey. Salazar will face Phil Hughes. TJ House will start opposite Trevor May on Sunday.

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Indians 4, White Sox 2: Marla Ridenour's one last thing on Jackie Robinson Day

By Marla Ridenour Published: April 15, 2015

Wednesday was Jackie Robinson Day in the major leagues, with every player wearing his retired number 42 on the 68th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.

Indians manager Terry Francona chose his words carefully, but said he gets "mixed emotions" about the commemoration that first started in 2004.

"I think it's awesome that we do celebrate his accomplishments and his strength of character," Francona said. "I just want to make sure we don't get caught up in patting ourselves on the back for letting him in the game. That seems a little backwards."

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Indians avoid going 0-for-homestand, beat White Sox 4-2

By Marla Ridenour Published: April 15, 2015

Shaking off the mastery of opposing left-handers this season, the Indians claimed a 4-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox Wednesday afternoon at Progressive Field.

The Indians snapped a four-game losing streak and avoided going 0 for the five-game homestand. Cody Allen struck out White Sox slugger Jose Abreu to end the game and earn his second save.

Of their previous five losses, four of the decisions had gone to left-handers. Saturday's setback, with Detroit Tigers reliever Ian Krol picking up the victory, was started by lefty David Price.

"It's early for a lot of things, but I think we knew coming in we were going to have to prove because we're pretty left-handed," Indians manager Terry Francona said before the game of his offensive attack. "To this point we haven't done a very good job of it. We're pretty early on, but I certainly hope it's a trend that gets better or you're going to start seeing every lefty that every team has, which we don't need to do. We need to do better in a lot of areas and I know we will. That's one of them."

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