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Danny Salazar, three home runs lead Indians over Tampa Bay 6-2

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 30, 2015

Danny Salazar had a strong outing into the eighth inning and the Indians provided plenty of power in a 6-2 win against Tampa Bay Tuesday night.

Salazar threw 7 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on two hits. He improved to 7-3 this season.

Offensively, Jason Kipnis (6th), Giovanny Urshela (2nd) and David Murphy (5th) all homered for the Indians (35-41). Kipnis’ home run gave the Indians a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Urshela’s home run acted as the major insurance provider, as he hit three-run shot in the seventh inning to put the Indians up 4-0.

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United Church of Christ delivering petitions to Cleveland Indians calling for name, logo change

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 30, 2015

The United Church of Christ is delivering petitions signed by more than 1,000 people to the Cleveland Indians’ offices today calling for a team name change and the disbandment of the Chief Wahoo logo.

The UCC is taking action in partnership with the UCC Council for American Indian Ministries and the Cleveland Committee of 500 years. At the denomination’s biennial General Synod gathering, which has been taking place over the last several days at the Cleveland Convention Center, the group also called for the Washington Redskins to make similar changes.

"For decades, we have spoken out in opposition to the usage of negative stereotypes, and been active in protests against such misuse," said the Rev. Linda Jaramillo, a UCC national officer, in a press release. "We will continue to journey in solidarity with our brothers and sisters until this part of our body of humanity is honored and respected."

The UCC, which has a denomination of nearly one million members and is headquartered in Cleveland, has been a vocal opponent of the name and logo of the Indians and has been among the groups protesting at each year’s home opener.

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Cody Anderson loses perfect game in seventh, Indians top Tampa Bay Rays 7-1

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 29, 2015

Cody Anderson was stellar in his second career start, as he led the Indians over Tampa Bay 7-1 on the road Monday night.

Anderson (1-0) threw eight innings, allowing just one run on two hits. He had a perfect game into the seventh inning until former Indians centerfielder Grady Sizemore hit a solo home run, making it 2-1.

The Indians (34-41) pushed their lead to 3-1 in the eighth with a Yan Gomes home run and tacked on four more runs in the ninth to pull away.

Yan Gomes went 3-for-5 with that home run, a double, an RBI and two runs scored. Jason Kipnis went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored. Michael Brantley finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run.

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Indians swept by Baltimore Orioles, Terry Francona ejected, players show frustration

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 29, 2015

The Indians were swept by the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend, which included two shutout losses on Sunday and warranted some frustration throughout the team.

As stated here near the beginning of the season, we’ll be covering every home game and many of the nearer road games this year. Basically, as much as we possibly can. This recap is coming late (and the blog was quiet this weekend) due to us not traveling to Baltimore and Tampa Bay during this road trip. With that in mind and my being lucky enough to be getting married in a few weeks, I spent the weekend in Pittsburgh with some friends for my bachelor party. Likewise, the schedule worked out so that my wedding (mid August) and honeymoon will come during road trips that unfortunately we wouldn’t be able to go on either way, just like this past weekend. So, this year has been rather unique.

I will be traveling to Pittsburgh to cover the end of this current road trip. We’ll continue to provide coverage even when not traveling and will be everywhere we can. It’s been a blast so far, especially with those interacting in the comments and on Twitter. I’d love to do more of that—send in any questions, comments, remarks, anything to me by email rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com and on Twitter @RyanLewisABJ. The more we get and the more people want to do it, the more we’ll do it. Thanks, as always. It’s a real dream to get to do this.


Now, back to baseball.

On Friday, another quality start by Corey Kluber was wasted by an Indians offense that is sputtering. He threw seven innings, allowed three runs and struck out 10. But in the eighth, the Orioles quickly jumped on reliever Marc Rzepczysnki (1-3) to take the series’ opening game 4-3.

Saturday’s game was rained out and pushed to Sunday to create a double-header, though the Indians scored just as many runs on both days. Trevor Bauer (6-5) allowed four runs in seven innings to take the loss while former Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez was terrific against his former team, throwing eighth shutout innings and striking out seven to win the day game 4-0. In the night cap, the Indians called up Toru Murata (0-1) to make the start, but he lasted only 3 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs. Rzepczynski (1/3 inning, 1 earned run) and Ryan Webb (1 1/3 innings, two earned runs) were also banged up in a six-run fourth inning for the Orioles in an 8-0 loss for the Indians.  

The Indians are now in a 19-inning scoreless slump. They are also now 12 games out of first place in the AL Central, as the Kansas City Royals have continued to be the AL’s hottest team. The Indians, recently only a game behind Detroit, are now 5.5 games behind the Tigers for third in the division.

It led to the venting of some frustrating toward the end of the second game Sunday night and just after it.

Ryan Raburn was struck out looking with one out in the ninth and didn’t like the call by home plate umpire Ron Kulpa. Raburn and Kulpa exchanged some words as he walked away. Francona yelled to “Let it go,” and was waived off in a dismissive way by Kulpa. That didn’t sit well with Francona, as he stormed from the dugout and was immediately ejected.

It was rather easy to read Francona’s lips, and what came out was not safe for work.

Here is what Francona told reporters in Baltimore: “We had one out to go and he was looking back at Ray and I just told him to let it go. Then he waved me off. … If umpires want to be respected, they have to show respect back. I've been doing this too long to be treated like that. It's not the way it's supposed to work.”

Jason Kipnis also sounded off on the recent losing stretch (6-13 in their last 19 games) and the widespread issues offensively.

"We've got some soul searching to do,” Kipnis told reporters. “A pride check if you will. We're not giving up. No one is giving up. No one is going to say we're out of it until we're mathematically out of it.”

Brandon Moss also said that he can’t blame Indians fans for questioning the heart of the team, saying, “If you were on the outside looking in, it would look like we have no heart. I can't blame them.”

The Indians, now at 33-41, are beginning to sink into a deeper hole in the AL. The East now has four teams at or above .500 (Baltimore, Tampa Bay, New York, Toronto) while the Central (Kansas City, Minnesota Detroit) and West (Houston, Los Angeles, Texas) both have three.

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Indians 8, Tigers 2: Wednesday's One Last Thing on Francisco Lindor's power being an added bonus

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 24, 2015

The Indians finally beat the Tigers, 8-2, on Wednesday at Progressive Field.

Jason Kipnis extended his hitting streak to 19 games and Carlos Carrasco threw eight strong innings.

Also in the win, rookie shortstop Francisco Lindor hit the first home run of his career.

Wednesday’s One Last Thing: Lindor’s power is an added bonus

Lindor had an up and down home stand. He committed a couple errors but also made a couple of superb, highlight-reel plays that showed off his terrific range, something that the Indians haven’t had at the shortstop position in a long time. He hit just .200 but had a couple of hard outs and, Wednesday, his first home run and his first walk.

When asked if Lindor thought he got enough of it, he said, “I’m not used to hitting home runs. I knew I got something good, but I saw J.D. [Martinez] turn around. I was just trying to go two, but it went over the fence. I’m happy.”

The fan who caught it was nice enough to give the ball back for a few autographs—no ransom note this time.

More: Terry Francona had 17 popsicles the other night

Lindor is a defensive-first shortstop with the potential to be an above-average hitter at his position. The power aspect, though, is an added bonus. Almost Akin to Willie Mays Hayes, the Indians don’t need Lindor to hit 20 home runs a season. They need his defense and a versatile bat with a solid approach in the No. 2 spot in the lineup.

Now, he’s not doing pushups every time he hits a ball in the air. The Indians just want to remind him that line drives are the goal.

Said Indians manager Terry Francona, “It’s just a good swing. I don’t think he needs to be a power hitter for us. And we’ll probably remind him now that he did do that just to make sure he stays in the middle of the field so he doesn’t get big. I think the way he’s going to hit home runs is just by hitting line drives that get out like that.”

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Indians roll Detroit Tigers 8-2, avoid sweep at home; Francisco Lindor hits first home run

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 24, 2015

The Indians caught a couple breaks but took advantage of them and beat the Detroit Tigers for just the third time this season 8-2 at Progressive Field Wednesday afternoon.

Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander was scratched from his scheduled start late Tuesday night and first baseman Miguel Cabrera was scratched Wednesday morning.

Facing Tigers starter Buck Farmer (0-2), the Indians struck first with three runs in the third. Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor each singled and were followed by another single by Michael Brantley that deflected off of Ian Kinsler’s glove and into right field to put the Indians up 1-0. Lindor, though was caught venturing off second base and was picked off for the second out of the inning.

David Murphy then singled up the middle and Carlos Santana opened up the game with a two-out, two-RBI double to center field, making it 3-0.

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Indians 2B Jason Kipnis is still hitting, proving Terry Francona right

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 24, 2015
KipOs

Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis is still hitting.

After enjoying a historic 51-hit, 30-run May, Kipnis hasn’t slowed down and could win his second straight American League Player of the Month Award in June.

He’s hitting .394 this month with a .476 on-base percentage entering Wednesday’s game and now owns the AL’s highest batting average this season at .354. And with a single in the third inning Wednesday against Detroit, Kipnis extended his current hitting streak to 19 games, the longest such streak of his career, and his home hitting streak to 28 games, the longest in the Progressive Field Era.

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Indians manager Terry Francona and Outshine Fruit Grape Bars: A true love story

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 24, 2015

Indians manager Terry Francona revealed Wednesday that he has quite the affinity for the low-calorie fruit Popsicles available around the team clubhouse and on the plane when traveling.

It might be a borderline addiction. As it turns out, the Popsicles in question are Outshine Fruit Bars, in grape, made by Nestle.

Francona was asked how many he had the other night. Here’s his full answer, and the full tale of their love story.

“I had 17 the other night. No, that’s not a lie. They’re healthy, so if one’s good, 17’s gotta be real good. I woke up in the middle of the night and I was like borderline, like it was coming up. But I was so tired that I just laid there for about an hour and I was like, ‘Don’t throw up, don’t throw up, don’t throw up.’ I I should have got up and threw up. And then I woke up in the morning and I was like, ‘****’. So I started counting the sticks. They’re so good. Obviously I don’t get tired of them. They’re so ******** good.”

“Because Brandon took over nine boxes and there’s six in each box. There’s one box left. So I don’t know what I’m going to do tonight. They’re good, man. And they have them on the plane, too. When the lady comes by with a basket I just grab the basket like, ‘I’ll handle this.’

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Tigers 7, Indians 3: Tuesday’s One Last Thing on the Tigers holding down the Indians

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 24, 2015
Tigers

The Indians finally—finally—got Miguel Cabrera to hit a ball weakly instead of over the fence in a key situation. With the game tied 1-1 and the bases loaded in the fifth, Cabrera tapped a ball back to Danny Salazar instead of hitting a grand slam. It should have been an easy inning-ending double play.

Except, the ball slipped out of Salazar’s hand, and everyone was safe. Three batters and three hits later, a tied game was turned into a 7-1 Tigers lead. The Tigers cruised to a 7-3 win.

And so the story goes for the Indians.

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Indians let opportunity slip away, lose to Detroit Tigers 7-3

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 23, 2015

The Indians finally had Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers right where they needed them. In a key situation, they finally got Cabrera to hit the ball softly and right where they wanted, instead of hard and over the fence.

And they let it slip right through their hands, eventually losing 7-3 Tuesday night.

Cabrera came up to bat in a tied game with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning. All season, that situation—or really any involving him and an Indians pitcher—would have spelled certain doom. This time, though, Danny Salazar induced a weak tapper back to the mound, which with Cabrera running, looked like a certain 1-2-3 double play to get out of the inning with the game still tied 1-1.  

Except as Salazar went to throw it to catcher Roberto Perez at home, the ball slipped out of his hand, sailing backward, allowing everyone to be safe and the go-ahead run to score.

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Indians recall RP Austin Adams, DFA RP Scott Atchison

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 23, 2015

The Indians on Tuesday recalled relief pitcher Austin Adams and designated for assignment Scott Atchison.

Adams this season has a 2.38 ERA in seven appearances across a couple of stints in Cleveland. He and lefty Kyle Crockett have made several trips up and down I-71 between Triple-A Columbus and Cleveland.

Atchison, meanwhile, hasn’t been the same pitcher he was last year. He owns a 6.86 ERA in 19 2/3 innings thrown this season after posting a 6-0 record and 2.75 ERA in 2014.

Atchison was a veteran presence in the clubhouse, though. Indians manager Terry Francona said it was a tough conversation to have.

“We've kind of always said we're always going to do what we think is in the best interest of our ballclub,” Francona said. “That doesn't mean those don't hurt, because that's a tough one. … He means so much to everybody. And I probably go back farther with him than anybody, but everybody in our organization respects and cares about Atch. So, that's a hard one.”

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Tigers 8, Indians 5: Monday’s One Last Thing on the Detroit Tigers’ hitters (allegedly) being human

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 23, 2015

The Tigers, again, jumped out to a lead and held it to beat the Indians 8-5 Monday night at Progressive Field. A run in each of the first three innings and four runs in the fourth forced Trevor Bauer to hit the showers early.

The Indians fell to 2-8 this season against Detroit and 14-34 since 2013.

Monday’s One Last Thing: The Detroit Tigers (allegedly) are just hitters.

Against the rest of the league, the Tigers are a borderline .500 team. Against the Indians this year, they’re the 1927 Yankees.

Miguel Cabrera this year against the rest of the league is hitting .297. Against the Indians? He’s at .649, which would be the greatest season of any one hitter against any one team in history with at least 30 at-bats.

Bauer was roughed up to the tune of seven runs in three-plus innings Monday night. He says they’re just hitters. They make outs. They’re not perfect.

Even if so far, they’ve been close to perfect against the Indians.

“Obviously he [Cabrera] is a good hitter but he’s a hitter and I think against the rest of the league he hits .290 so it’s not like he hits .750,” Bauer said, before correcting himself, “I mean he does against us, but you can clearly get him out because the rest of the league does it. So to me, it’s him or Victor or Iglesias or Gose or whoever, they’re all just hitters. They all get out more often than they get hits. You just go at them, you attack them. As the game wore along and the innings got long, all those hits fell in and I wasn’t able to attack them as efficiently as I would like to. They’re just hitters. Good ones, but they’re just hitters.”

More: Indians looking for ways to handle Tigers' lineup; Yan Gomes sits again

Francona simply said that the Tigers aren’t where they want to be in the standings, but the Indians seem to bring out the best in them.

No kidding.

The Royals have established themselves as, currently, the best team in the division. But the Indians are still looking up at the big, bad Tigers. It’s a tough hill to climb.

There isn’t much the Indians can do beyond run head first into the buzzsaw that is the middle of the Tigers’ lineup.

The bad news? David Price is on the mound tomorrow. And a steep climb keeps getting steeper.

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Trevor Bauer hit hard in Indians’ 8-5 loss to Detroit Tigers; Indians fall to 2-8 against Detroit

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 22, 2015

Indians fans had to endure another drilling by Detroit’s powerful offense, as the Tigers thrashed Trevor Bauer in a 8-5 win Monday night at Progressive Field.

The Tigers pecked at Bauer in the first three innings, scoring a run in each, before landing the knockout blow in the fourth.

The Indians haven’t been able to handle the middle of the Tigers’ order well this season, particularly in the first few innings, and that trend continued Monday.

With two on, the Tigers’ Yoenis Cespedes struck first, driving in a run with an RBI double that hit the chalk along the right-field line. It could have been worse, as Miguel Cabrera originally scored from first on the play. The Indians challenged, and replays revealed that the ball hit the railing of the stands, resulting in a ground-rule double and only a 1-0 lead.

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Indians 1, Rays 0: Sunday’s One Last Thing on the emotions of a major-league debut

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 21, 2015

The Indians won in walk-off fashion against Tampa Bay 1-0 on Sunday.

David Murphy hit a sacrifice fly just deep enough to score Roberto Perez from third to win the game. Prior to the ninth inning, the Indians had just one hit.

Sunday’s One Last Thing: Cody Anderson went through quite the range of emotions in his major-league debut.

Anderson threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings, allowed six hits and struck out four. He became just the fourth Indians pitcher since 1914 to throw at least 7 2/3 scoreless innings in his debut, joining Scott Lewis (2008), Luis Tiant (1964) and Ray Benge (1925).

Not a bad way to start your career (or spend Father’s Day). He also dealt with adrenaline, leg cramps and basically, some general numbness.

MORE: Change is a must in All-Star Game voting

To start the game, Anderson was obviously amped up, throwing 95 mph regularly and hitting 97. After the first inning, he sat in the lower 90, as usual.

“I couldn't really feel my body. I couldn't feel the ball,” Anderson said. “I just knew I had to throw strikes and that's what I was mainly focused on, was pounding the strike zone. Eventually, I was able to settle down and start working the bottom of the zone.”

In his final 2-3 innings, he began to experience leg cramps. Except he didn’t tell the trainers. He just kept pitching. Indians manager Terry Francona said he likes the toughness. But he’s allowed to get some treatment, too. It is the big leagues, after all.

“Mickey [Callaway] asked him, 'Well, did you tell the trainers?' He goes, ‘No,’” Francona said. “I guess part of that I like, but I wanted him to make sure he knows that he can get help. We have fruit drinks and stuff, or whatever we give them.”

Anderson started the game throwing almost all fastballs to establish his command from there, used it to get ahead of hitters. That was perhaps the best from a day full of positive signs.

“There wasn't anything to not be encouraged about,” Francona said. “We're always looking for a reason to be encouraged, but that was pretty impressive on a lot of levels. Again, you see the stuff. That's there, but his poise and things like that. And, all the things we talked about probably either this morning or yesterday, about how he had worked to get himself to this point. He looks like a different person. I think he was here for the winter development [program] two winters ago and he was a big, burly [guy]. He kind of looked like that lumberjack. Now, he looks very athletic, and it's because he worked his ass off.”

Francona said that there’s no real initiative to settle the fifth spot in the rotation, though Anderson obviously made a strong case today.

Especially since now he knows he can get a juice box when needed.

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Indians walk off against Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 on David Murphy sacrifice fly in ninth

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 21, 2015

The Indians didn’t get a lot of offense Sunday but did enough in the ninth to secure a 1-0 walk-off win against Tampa Bay at Progressive Field.

The Indians loaded the bases with one out for David Murphy against Rays reliever Kevin Jepsen. Murphy, on a 3-1 count, drove Jepsen’s offering to center field, deep enough to score Roberto Perez from third on a close play at the plate. Rays catcher Curt Casali couldn’t handle Kevin Kiermaier’s throw as Perez slid into home.

Rookie starting pitcher Cody Anderson was terrific in his major-league debut, throwing 7 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball while allowing six hits and striking out four.

The Indians were held without a hit by Rays starter Alex Colome until the sixth inning, when Michael Bourn singled on a sharp ground ball to the right side that Rays first baseman Jake Elmore couldn’t handle.

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Rays 4, Indians 1: Saturday’s One Last Thing from Michael Beaven

By Michael Beaven Published: June 20, 2015

CLEVELAND: Yes, the Indians lost to the Tampa Bays 4-1 for the second consecutive night at Progressive Field.

And yes, Indians hitters continue to struggle against anyone who steps onto the mound for the opposition.

Saturday night’s game started in frustrating fashion for Indians ace Corey Kluber who gave up a three-run home run to Evan Longoria.

“Obviously lead off walk [to Kevin Kiermaier] is no good,” Kluber said. “After that, I mean, I guess you get a well executed hit-and-run – [Joey Butler] hits a dribbler where the guy was covering – and then I just didn’t really execute the pitch to Longoria. We were trying to go fastball in and it kind of stayed over the middle.”

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Cody Anderson happy to be in Cleveland with the Indians

By Michael Beaven Published: June 20, 2015

CLEVELAND: Right-handed pitcher Cody Anderson was in the Indians locker room Saturday and said he is “excited” to start Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field.

Anderson opened the season in Class-AA Akron and then pitched briefly in Class-AAA Columbus.

“It was all kind of quick, all in the last month,” Anderson said. “It has been kind of crazy. I moved up twice on the road. I am just happy to be here.”

Anderson said “throwing strikes more consistently” has helped him get promoted. He said his mother and father plan to attend Sunday’s game.

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Catcher Yan Gomes returns to Indians lineup Saturday

By Michael Beaven Published: June 20, 2015

CLEVELAND: Catcher Yan Gomes is scheduled to start and bat sixth Saturday night when the Indians host the Tampa Bay Rays at 7:10 p.m. at Progressive Field.

Gomes played Thursday in the Indians 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs, but was lifted from the game after experiencing a stiff neck. He missed Friday’s game with the Rays.

Indians manager Terry Francona and his staff watched Gomes go through batting practice and other pre-game drills Saturday, and felt comfortable to start him.

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Rays 4, Indians 1: Friday's One Last Thing on the Indians struggling with RISP

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 20, 2015

The Indians fell to the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1 Friday night at Progressive Field.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit one of three solo home runs for the Rays, and the Indians’ offense struggled on a night in which the team welcomed back members of the 1995 Indians, owners of one of the best offenses in baseball history.

Friday’s One Last Thing: The Indians aren’t hitting with runners in scoring position.

It’s been written about plenty of times this season, but it popped up again Friday night. The Indians went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base. Only a week ago, they went through a stretch of 3-of-4 games with 10 men left on base (5-for-40 with RISP in those games).

MORE: Indians sign first-round pick Brady Aiken, name Cody Anderson starter for Sunday

Indians manager Terry Francona has said, each time, that he’ll at least take those opportunities, as it’s better than not having them at all. But, eventually, the Indians need to start “cashing in,” as Francona said recently.

“They seem to always trend one way or the other. When it starts to trend the other way, we'll all be a little happier,” he said Friday night. “It seems like we had a lot of innings with first and second and nobody out and then you look up and that's the way the inning ended. I'd rather have the opportunities, but we don't seem to do much with them lately.”

Here are some numbers, courtesy of Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. The Indians entered tonight ranked No. 1 in baseball with a .751 OPS with the bases empty. But with runners in scoring position, they plummet to 28th in the league with men on (.686) and 26th in the league with runners in scoring position (.675). And since June 1, the Indians are hitting .194 with RISP and .275 in all other situations.

That’s good news for creating opportunities, bad news for winning ballgames.

When asked about the frustration about it, outfielder Brandon Moss said, “Well, yeah it is. But you can't control when you hit the ball and when you don't. I think every one of us goes up there and gives our best at bat we can every time. Obviously, it hasn't worked out well lately as far as runners in scoring position, but I mean, once you hit the ball, you can't control where it goes.”

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As 1995 team welcomed back, Indians' offense falters in 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay Rays

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 19, 2015

On the night in which the organization welcomed back the 1995 Cleveland Indians, one of the greatest offensive teams in history, the 2015 edition did little to honor their legacy in a 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays Friday night at Progressive Field.

The Rays (39-30) took a lead two batters into the game off of Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (8-6), as rookie Joey Butler hit a solo home run to right-center.

The Indians tied the game in the bottom half of the inning facing Rays starting pitcher Nate Karns (4-3). Jason Kipnis doubled to start the first and advanced to third on a bunt single by Francisco Lindor. Kipnis then scored on a wild pitch that got past catcher Rene Rivera to tie it 1-1.

In the second, a former Indians shortstop did some damage in his reunion. With two outs, Asdrubal Cabrera turned on a Carrasco pitch and sent it over the wall in right field for the Rays’ second solo home run in as many innings and a 2-1 lead.

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Indians sign first-round pick Brady Aiken

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 19, 2015
Aiken

The Indians announced Friday that they have reached a contract agreement with first-round pick and left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken.

Details of the deal have not be released.

"I'm just excited. I'm excited to get going here,” Aiken said. “I want to say thank you to the Cleveland Indians organization. They put faith in me to get through this and really couldn't have done it without them.”

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Indians 4, Cubs 3: Thursday’s One Last Thing on Cody Allen getting the crucial out, not the last

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 19, 2015

The Indians topped the Chicago Cubs 4-3 Thursday night in a rain-delayed game.

Giovanny Urshela had the go-ahead hit in the seventh, an RBI single to score Yan Gomes. Danny Salazar left the game in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and two outs, as heavy rains caused a one-hour, 16-minute delay.

Thursday’s One Last Thing: Indians manager Terry Francona and closer Cody Allen cared about getting the most important out, not simply the last one.

There’s been much more talk over the last few years about the balance between wanting your best relief pitcher to get the outs with the most leverage and the final outs in the ninth inning.

The argument is that there are often situations in which in the seventh or eighth inning, perhaps, a pitcher is needed with two runners on and the opposing team’s best hitter coming up in a close game. Should the closer be used to get that crucial out, or should he be saved for the ninth, when he could potentially face the 6-7-8 hitters with nobody on base? If that situation earlier in the game plays a bigger role in deciding it, shouldn't your best reliever be called upon?

It's a valid debate, though there’s still a lot of value in having your closer, well, close out the game. And while guys have been helped by having general roles and a similar mindset entering each game, it doesn’t mean they should be locked into that role, either.

MORE: Indians call up relief pitchers Kyle Crockett, Jeff Manship, demote Zach Walters, DFA Shaun Marcum; Michael Bourn suspended

Francona this spring often talked about how he didn’t want to formally name a closer. And Allen talked about his willingness to come in whenever he was needed, not just the ninth.

On Thursday, for the first time in such a situation, we saw those two paths cross. Francona didn’t want to call on another pitcher only to have the Cubs score a few runs and the Indians never get to use Allen. So he went to his closer, and it worked. Allen got Miguel Montero to fly out to left to end the inning and then struck out the side—all looking—in the sixth. Bryan Shaw then closed out the game.

Here’s Allen on being asked to come in early and the crucial point of a game not always being in the ninth:



Part of the reason Francona did it this time was due to the rain throwing everything off. But Allen was ready to go, and that out was the game’s biggest.

“If there's a walk or a hit, then all of the sudden you get the line moving,” Francona said. “And [I] kinda was just like, 'Cody would be a really good fit here.' But I didn't want to do it if [he wasn't OK with it], so we went and got him, and he was all fired up. That was good enough for me. He did a great job.”

MORE: Indians-Cubs box score

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Indians top Chicago Cubs 4-3 in rain-delayed game

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 18, 2015

The Indians worked around two rain delays and beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 Thursday night.

After losing Wednesday night’s thrashing 17-0, the Indians grabbed an early lead Thursday. Jason Kipnis walked, Francisco Lindor singled and Michael Brantley hit a ground-rule double down the left-field line to score Kipnis. With Lindor on third, a pitch got away from catcher Miguel Montero. Lindor broke for home and beat the toss to the plate, making it 2-0.

In the top of the third, Kyle Schwarber and Dexter Fowler each singled. Schwarber advanced to third and Fowler took a large turn at first. Lindor caught the relay throw and tried to nail Fowler at first, but the throw was behind him and got away. That error allowed Schwarber to score to bring the Cubs (35-29) to within 2-1.  

The Indians extended their lead to 3-1 in the fourth, as David Murphy doubled and later scored on a Yan Gomes sacrifice fly to left field.
Right back came the Cubs. With a runner on, Schwarber his his first career home run to left field off of starter Danny Salazar.

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Indians OF Michael Bourn suspended, fined for making contact with umpire; Bourn is appealing

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 18, 2015
BournOut

Indians outfielder Michael Bourn was suspended one game and fined for making contact with umpire Phil Cuzzi during an altercation in Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Cubs, Major League Baseball announced.

Bourn is appealing the suspension and will play Thursday night.

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Indians call up RPs Kyle Crockett, Jeff Manship, demote Zach Walters, DFA Shaun Marcum

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 18, 2015
Crockett

The Indians made a couple of moves Thursday to bolster a bullpen in need of extra arms following the 17-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

Jeff Manship, 30, and Kyle Crockett, 23, have each been called up from Triple-A Columbus.

Manship is 0-2 with two saves and a 1.99 ERA in 23 appearances in Triple-A this season. Right-handed hitters are batting just .197 against him. Crockett struggled when he was first sent down to Triple-A on April 11 but has been excellent recently, posting a 1.04 ERA and nine strikeouts in his last 8 2/3 innings pitched.

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Cubs 17, Indians 0: Wednesday's One Last Thing on having some fun in the middle of a train wreck

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 18, 2015
Murphypitch

The Indians were dismantled by the Chicago Cubs 17-0 Wednesday night.

The Cubs scored 10 runs in the first three innings and then, with the bullpen depleted, added seven more in the ninth.

Wednesday’s One Last Thing: It’s never wanted, but David Murphy got to have a little fun amidst a train wreck.

Murphy never wants a game to reach this situation, of course. But when it’s already 10-0 in the ninth and your platoon partner has thrown 20-plus pitches, why not have a little fun?

Ryan Raburn started the ninth, got two outs and then Murphy was called in to pitch, little league style, from left field by Indians manager Terry Francona. The team had already used starter Shaun Marcum, six relief pitchers and Zach McAllister threw Tuesday night, so they were trying to save the bullpen at least a bit.

As Raburn’s pitch count grew, Murphy began to peek into the dugout. Murphy hadn’t pitched since June of 2013, and he wanted to give it a whirl. Sure enough, Francona pointed to him, and Murphy ran to the mound, already chuckling a bit.

“I was going to point to myself like, ‘Hey, I want to go in,’” Murphy said. “I was kind of pumped when I got the call. I thought I was gonna be out of there in one pitch but they knew I wanted to be in there a little bit longer so they dropped the ball for me. So I was able to enjoy myself a little bit longer and give up a few missiles.”

MORE: Francisco Lindor a "pretty special 21-year-old"

Things didn’t go well, of course. It should have been a one-pitch outing, but Francisco Lindor misplayed a pop-up and committed the first error of his career.

A few batters later with the score at 13-0, Cubs slugger Kris Bryant came up with the bases loaded. As expected, he destroyed a “fastball” from Murphy 450 feet to center field for a grand slam (Murphy doesn’t have a fantasy team but was going to joke that he had Bryant on it). Still, Murphy had a good time, getting to do something fairly rare.

MORE: Indians-Cubs box score

“You make the most of it,” Murphy said. “You never want to be in a position where a position player has to come in the game. If it does happen, you try to enjoy it and make the most of it. You play this game long enough, things like this will happen. You get a smile about something like that.”

Murphy even broke out his knuckleball for a pitch, but he had no control over it and it bounced in the dirt. And as they have done all season back and forth, Murphy gave Raburn a hard time for not finishing the inning.

“It was very fitting [to relieve Raburn]. He couldn’t get the job done so I had to come in there and clean up his mess,” Murphy joked.”

Because why not? Baseball is a fun, corky sport.

To illustrate:  Two position players hadn’t pitched for the same team in the same 9-inning game since the Montreal Expos did it on July 20, 1990. That was until Tampa Bay did it Tuesday night. And then, 24 hours after a 24-year streak was snapped, the Indians did it again.

And Murphy got to play Little League for one more night.

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Indians pitching dismantled by Chicago Cubs in 17-0 loss; Ryan Raburn, David Murphy pitch the ninth

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 17, 2015

Indians pitchers appeared to have no chance at the Chicago Cubs in a 17-0 thrashing Wednesday night at Progressive Field.

It was shortstop Francisco Lindor’s debut in front of the home fans, but those positive, hopeful feelings were quickly erased, as the Cubs’ bats sapped any joy out of the stadium, apart from the Cubs’ contingency of fans. And, when two outfielders are needed to pitch the ninth inning, that’s a good sign that things didn’t go well on the mound.

And it didn’t take long. Facing Indians starter Shaun Marcum (3-2), Chris Coghlan opened the second inning with a single. He then scored on a triple by Kyle Schwarber, though the play should have been made by Carlos Santana at first base. The ball skipped under his glove, and since he didn’t touch the ball, it wasn’t an error. Chris Denorfia made it more costly a few pitches later with an RBI single to left field to make it 2-0.

Two batters later, Addison Russell homered to left field, pushing the Cubs’ lead to 4-0. Dexter Fowler followed that with a single, and Anthony Rizzo hit a home run to right field, capping a 6-run inning for the Cubs.

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Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera putting up Babe Ruth-like numbers against the Indians

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 15, 2015
Miggy

Normally when a person is comparing any player today with Babe Ruth, somebody is stretching the truth, at least a little bit. But when it comes to clobbering the Indians, Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera is legitimately giving The Babe a run for his money.

Cabrera has bulldozed through Indians pitching since joining the Tigers in 2008. In his career against Cleveland, he has a .364 batting average, .435 on-base percentage, 40 home runs and 127 RBI in 139 games. Those numbers for a single season would almost assuredly win the Most Valuable Player Award.

Ruth hit .354 with an on-base percentage of .507 with 92 home runs and 278 RBI in 361 games. He of course has higher totals because he played more games against the Indians. It’s easy to forget that Cabrera is only 32 years old.

But the rates at which Cabrera and Ruth torched the Indians are similar. In fact, Ruth likely loses this battle.

Ruth drew more walks but Cabrera has the slight edge in batting average. Cabrera also has been more productive, as he’s hit a home run against the Indians every 3.47 games—Ruth hit one every 3.92 games. Cabrera has driven in .91 RBI per game, while Ruth is at .77 RBI per game. (It should be noted, though, that RBI statistics before 1920 are disputed.)

Still, Cabrera has done damage to the Indians, in many ways, at greater rates than Ruth. Many times, there’s no easy way to deal with Cabrera, especially with hitters like Ian Kinsler hitting before him and Victor Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes waiting behind him.

“You try to use common sense,” Francona said. “A lot of pitchers get in that attack mode in trying to balance that and using common sense. That's hard for some guys, because they don't really have that switch. They're out there competing. That's why we'll send [pitching coach Mickey Callaway] out there from time to time. It's not that we don't think our guys are good, it's that the less swings he can take, the better.”

The scary part for the Indians: Cabrera is only now having his best season against them. In 2015 he is hitting an absurd .647 with five home runs, 15 RBI and seven walks in nine games. Per stats calculated by MLB.com, Cabrera’s .647 batting average is the highest of any player against any one team during a single season with at least 30 at-bats, topping Todd Helton’s .625 mark against Montreal in 2000 and Rod Carew’s .595 average against the New York Yankees in 1975.

This past weekend was no different. Cabrera hit a mammoth home run Friday night off of Danny Salazar that hit half-way up the camera bay, which was beyond the 420-foot center field wall. He followed that with another home run of more than 450-feet on Sunday, this one off of Corey Kluber.

Cabrera has actually hit Kluber the hardest, to the tune of a .571 career average. He’s also hit five home runs the past three seasons off of him. Only Philadelphia's Ryan Howard (Dillon Gee) and Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (Wily Peralta) have hit five home runs off a single pitcher since 2013, per ELIAS.

When asked how a pitcher can get a hitter like Cabrera out, Kluber said, “You’re asking the wrong guy.”

Not a lot of guys have that answer. Not a lot of guys had answers for Ruth, either.

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Indians SP Trevor Bauer, rotation holding Francisco Lindor's first hit ball for ransom

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 15, 2015

Well, there's another ransom situation in the Indians' clubhouse.

Earlier this month, Brandon Moss hit his 100th home run ball into the Indians' bullpen in Kansas City. The members of the bullpen then jokingly held the ball for ransom, demanding Apple products in exchange for the ball's safe return. It went viral and took on a life of its own, and Apple announced it would pay the ransom.

Now it's the starting rotation's turn. Francisco Lindor notched his first career hit Sunday in the Indians' 8-1 loss to Detroit, a single in the ninth (that would have been a double had he not tripped over first base).

Trevor Bauer and the rest of the starting rotation got ahold of the ball. They're now holding it for ransom, this time for Samsung products.

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Indians routed by Tigers 8-1 in Francisco Lindor’s debut

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 14, 2015

Top prospect Francisco Lindor made his major-league debut Sunday, but it was an ugly day for the Indians, as they were beat up by the Tigers 8-1 at Comerica Park Sunday.

Lindor checked into the game in the seventh inning, which followed a one-hour, 51-minute rain delay after the fifth inning. Pinch-hitting for David Murphy, Lindor struck out in his first career at-bat. He then roped a ball to right field in the ninth for his first career hit, but he tripped over first base, which resulted in him only netting a single. It was quite the first career hit.  

The Tigers scored two runs off of Indians starter Corey Kluber and then added on while facing the bullpen. Ian Kinsler drove in a run in the bottom of the first and Miguel Cabrera added a solo home run in the fourth, which was estimated at 450 feet.

Kluber was done following the fifth and the rain delay. Scott Atchison came in and didn’t fare well. He gave up a walk, a single, a hard out and then a three-run home run to J.D. Martinez to make it 5-0.

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Indians, Detroit Tigers in a rain delay; Tigers lead 2-0 after five innings

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 14, 2015

The Indians and Tigers are currently in a rain delay with the Tigers up 2-0 after five innings played.

With Corey Kluber on the mound, the Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the first, as Anthony Gose walked, stole second and scored on a single by Ian Kinsler. That was extended to 2-0 in the fourth when Miguel Cabrera hit a 450-foot home run to center field.

The delay started at 2:37 p.m.

UPDATE: The game has resumed after a 1:51 delay. Blaine Hardy is on to pitch for the Tigers and Scott Atchison is in for the Indians.

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Indians 5, Tigers 4: Saturday's One Last Thing on Cody Allen's finest performance yet

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 13, 2015

The Indians came from behind and then escaped with a 5-4 win against the Detroit Tigers Saturday at Comerica Park.

Cody Allen recorded a four-out save, which included going through the teeth of the Tigers’ offense and getting out a runners-on-the-corners jam with only one out by inducing J.D. Martinez to ground into a 6-3 double play.

Saturday’s One Last Thing: Allen has been the closer the Indians have needed all season, and April feels like it was a long time ago.

Ever since that awful outing in Chicago—which was way back on April 20—Allen has been downright fantastic for the Indians.

His season-long ERA still stinks—it dropped to 4.39 Saturday. But that’s because he allowed four earned runs in his second outing April 11 against the Tigers and then four more runs in that ugly blown save in Chicago, his only blown save of the season.

Since that time, about seven weeks of baseball? He’s allowed only six earned runs and is 11-for-11 in save chances.

There’s a reason people want to do away with ERA for relief pitchers. Two bad outings will stunt his ERA for the rest of the season. Owning an ERA of 4.39 won’t scare anyone. Except it should.

Allen’s ERA in May was 2.35 and in several of his outings in which he allowed a run, the Indians held a multiple-run lead and his focus wasn’t on getting the save, not padding his ERA. In June, he hasn’t allowed a run in three appearances. For the season, he’s also struck out 39 batters in 25 1/3 innings.

Here is Indians OF David Murphy on the challenges of facing Detroit’s lineup and how well Allen has done recently.



The outings against Detroit and in Chicago to start the year were bad. In his other 24 outings, he’s been terrific.

And what he did on Saturday was pretty impressive. He entered the game in the eighth with the tying run already on first. He allowed a single but then struck out Rajai Davis.

In the ninth, he faced one of the toughest sets of hitters you can imagine—Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes, followed by J.D. Martinez. He struck out Kinsler and should have struck out Cabrera, too.

With two strikes, Cabrera checked his swing according to first-place umpire Joe West. Normally, it isn’t exactly etiquette for a reporter to talk about what might have been a missed call. In this case, after seeing the replay, it was very clear—Cabrera didn’t check his swing.

“That was not a check swing. That was a full swing,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “That would’ve hurt. That would’ve been really tough. He’s such a good hitter that when you get him out, you need to take it. Don’t want to give him second chances.”

Nonetheless, Cabrera walked. Then Cespedes reached on a bloop single to put runners on the corners. Those are both, in a way, a measure of bad luck. But, Allen got through it, got the ground ball he needed and Mike Aviles made the play to end the game.

"You don’t feel real good when, not just Miggy, but Cepedes, J.D. Martinez, when they can tie the game with a swing. It makes you nervous” Francona said. "I think we all knew he just had to settle in and he’s so good at what he does. He competes and, again, there’s a reason why you’re patient with guys like that because you know they’re good.”

In a resume of solid outings since Chicago, this was perhaps Allen’s best.

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Cleveland Indians top prospect Francisco Lindor will make MLB debut Sunday

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 13, 2015
Lindor

Cleveland Indians top prospect Francisco Lindor is expected to make his major-league debut Sunday in Detroit, per a report by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.

Lindor has been on a tear recently, hitting .366 in his last 10 games. When Giovanny Urshela and Zach Walters were called up Sunday night, Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti said that Lindor was a "consideration," but he was dealing with some bumps and bruises. 

After Houston called up shortstop Carlos Correa last week and Minnesota called up outfielder Byron Buxton Saturday, Lindor was left as the top prospect in baseball still in the minor leagues, per MLB.com.

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Indians beat Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers 5-4; Cody Allen secures four-out save

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 13, 2015

The Indians fell behind early but battled back against Detroit starter Justin Verlander and the Tigers’ bullpen for a 5-4 win Saturday at Comerica Park.

It took a close call in the ninth and a four-out save by Cody Allen to pull it off. Allen came on with two outs in the eighth and the tying run on the first. He allowed a single to Anthony Gose but struck out Rajai Davis to end the inning.

In the ninth, Allen had to navigate the teeth of the Tigers’ offense. He struck out Ian Kinsler but then walked Miguel Cabrera. Yoenis Cespedes followed with a bloop single to center field, putting runners on the corners with one out in a one-run game. In trouble, Allen got J.D. Martinez to hit a ground ball right to Mike Aviles, who stepped on second and threw to first for a 6-3 double play to end the game.

The Indians, though, had their work cut out for them early in the game.
Cabrera, one day after driving in four runs in a 4-0 Tigers win, continued his onslaught against Indians pitching by singling home a run in the first inning off of starter Carlos Carrasco. That lead was extended in the third, when Martinez doubled home a run to make it 2-0.

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Tigers 4, Indians 0: Friday's One Last Thing on Miggy striking back

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 13, 2015

The Indians fell to the Detroit Tigers 4-0 Friday at Comerica Park.

Most of the damage was done on one swing, as the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning off of Danny Salazar.

Friday’s One Last Thing: That’s why Miguel Cabrera gets paid the big bucks.

There’s a pretty good reason as to why the Tigers gave Cabrera an eight-year, $248-million extension that brought their total investment in him to $292 million. It’s for nights like Friday night, when the starting pitcher they’ve facing—in this case, Salazar—brings his A-Game and the other eight hitters can’t figure him out.

And in his second time up, Salazar beat him, struck him out with a 97-mph fastball at the letters that Cabrera couldn’t catch up to.

MOREIndians notebook: OF Brandon Moss hitting lefties well to provide lineup balance; RP Scott Atchison to be activated Saturday

His next at-bat, the first pitch he saw? A 93-mph fastball (Francona called it a cutter, Salazar explained it as a fastball that can move as a cutter, but it’s really a fastball) middle-in.

Bye. Cabrera didn’t just hit it, he absolutely crushed it. A lot of hitters around baseball make you pay for mistakes and can hit them hard. Cabrera clobbered this ball and drove it over the 420-foot fence, far enough that it hit half-way up the camera bay, which sits about 20 feet above the fence.

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Indians’ Danny Salazar undone by Miguel Cabrera in 4-0 loss to Detroit Tigers

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 12, 2015

Danny Salazar left the Detroit Tigers without much bite for five innings until Miguel Cabrera reminded everyone why he’s one of the best hitters on the planet, as the Indians fell 4-0 at Comerica Park Friday night.

Salazar (6-2) allowed just three hits through five innings, as he kept the Indians in the game while the offense struggled to figure out Tigers ace David Price (6-2). In the sixth, that all changed with one thunderous swing.

Anthony Gose and Rajai Davis singled to open the inning. Salazar struck out Ian Kinsler for the first out of the inning, which created a double-play opportunity but also brought up Cabrera.

Cabrera crushed the first pitch he saw to dead center field. The ball didn’t just clear the 420-foot fence, it hit halfway up the camera bay, which sits 20 feet above the fence.
That put the Tigers (32-29) up 3-0, enough to support Price and the Tigers’ bullpen. Salazar had tamed Cabrera in his previous at-bat, striking him out with a 97-mph fastball at the letters. Few pitchers get the best of Cabrera twice in one night.

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Indians 6, Mariners 0: Thursday's One Last Thing on Giovanny Urshela's great day of firsts

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 11, 2015

The Indians beat the Mariners 6-0 Thursday afternoon. Shaun Marcum threw seven scoreless innings and the Indians snapped a three-game skid.

Thursday's One Last Thing: Giovanny Urshela had the type of day a kid dreams of, even if his family missed it.

It's really one of those great things about sports, a rookie collecting his “first” whatever. In the grand scheme of things, a lot of times maybe we overlook how great it is that somewhere, a kid grew up and got to live out his dream, or a portion of it, even for second.

Just think of Moonlight Graham in Field of Dreams and Kevin Costner saying, “It would kill some men to get so close their dream and not touch it.” Urshela got to live it when he was called up to the bigs Tuesday and made his debut and now he’s added to it.

More: Indians looking to "cash in" more often; Jason Kipnis gets a day off

Urshela collected his first major-league hit in the third inning of Thursday’s win, an RBI single to left field that made it 3-0. Two innings later, he added his first major-league home run, a solo shot to left field that cleared the wall even with winds blowing in.

“We’re all happy for him. You can see just how happy he was, just genuine, pure—you don’t get to see that all the time,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime when you get your first major-league hit, first major-league home run. That was fun to watch.”

Of course, the Indians mobbed Urshela when he got back to the dugout and Carlos Santana made sure to retrieve the ball, although unlike Brandon Moss’ 100th home run ball, there won’t be a ransom note.

“Very exciting—both hits. I was just trying to get one in one day and I got two,” Urshela said. “I was just so happy to round the bases.”

The only problem? Urshela is from Columbia, and his family had to leave in the second inning, about 20 minutes before his first hit an inning later.

But they got to see his MLB debut Tuesday night. And Urshela got to have his Moonlight Graham moment.

So what will he do with the ball?

“Just keep it forever.”

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Giovanny Urshela collects first hit, HR; Shaun Marcum terrific in 6-0 Indians win over Mariners

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 11, 2015

Rookie third baseman Giovanny Urshela had himself quite a day and Shaun Marcum delivered his best outing of the season in a 6-0 win for the Indians over the Mariners Thursday at Progressive Field.

Urshela, called up this week, collected the first hit of his career in the third inning, an RBI single to left field. Two innings later, he added his first home run, a solo shot in the fifth.

Marcum threw seven scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and striking out five.

Zach Walters and Brandon Moss added RBI singles and Roberto Perez had a two-RBI single for the Indians, who improved to 28-31 this season. The Mariners fell to 27-33.

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Indians promote RP C.C. Lee from Triple-A, send down RP Austin Adams

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 11, 2015

The Indians Thursday morning promoted relief pitcher C.C. Lee from Triple-A Columbus and sent down relief pitcher Austin Adams.

Though, it likely won't last long. The Indians needed an extra arm for the next few days and Adams wouldn't have been available after he threw two innings of work Wednesday night.

Indians manager Terry Francona added that relief pitcher Scott Atchison, who struck out all three batters he faced in a rehab appearance for Akron, will likely be activated Friday or Saturday.

Lee has a 1-1 record and 2.35 ERA in 19 appearances this season. He owns a 0.75 ERA in his last nine outings, including 17 strikeouts over 12 innings.

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Mariners 9, Indians 3: Wednesday's One Last Thing on not cashing in

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 10, 2015
Bauer

The Indians were routed by the Seattle Mariners 9-3 Wednesday night.

Trevor Bauer walked the bases loaded in the third inning and Kyle Seager hit a grand slam. It only got worse from there.

Wednesday's One Last Thing: The Indians aren't "cashing in" as much as they need to be.

The Indians haven’t been very good with runners in scoring position this season, but over the last few games, it’s been their biggest downfall. Entering Wednesday night, the Indians ranked 24th in baseball with a .230 batting average with RISP. Their slugging percentage of .360 with RISP ranked 21st.

It’s been much worse recently. The Indians in three of the last four games have left 10 men on base (in the fourth, it was eight). In those three games, they are a combined 5-40 with RISP. That’s an average of .125.

Now, Wednesday night, it probably wouldn’t have mattered. The Mariners teed off all game. But it definitely matter Tuesday in a 3-2 loss to Seattle and it might’ve changed the game in a 7-3 Sunday loss to Baltimore as well.

As Indians manager Terry Francona has said this season, while it’s obviously frustrating, it’s at least a positive that runners are getting on base. But if the Indians are going to challenge Kansas City, Minnesota and Detroit, they will have to start turning those chances into runs.

“I always want us to get a bunch of hits,” Francona said. “The more opportunities you have, the better chance you have to score. If you have an opportunity a night and you don’t cash in … I like the idea that we’re giving ourselves chances, we just need to cash in.”

More: Catcher Yan Gomes finding his power stroke; Walters could see more playing time with improved offense

The Indians haven’t been great this season in key hitting situations, but they’re not far from league average, either. Francona doesn’t expect this recent dry spell to continue.

“I think those things tend to even out,” Francona said. “But there’s nights where you certainly need them.”

Bauer walking the bases loaded and giving up a grand slam doesn’t help. But the pitching has mostly been solid lately. The offense has been good about getting runners on base.

They just have to cash in.

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Indians routed by Seattle Mariners 9-3 after Kyle Seager grand slam

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 10, 2015

Sometimes, one great swing can completely change a ballgame. In the case of Trevor Bauer and the Indians, one swing of the bat from Kyle Seager at just the right time was enough to spell defeat in a 9-3 loss at Progressive Field Wednesday night.

An ugly third inning set up the rest of the game, as Bauer worked himself into trouble with command issues. He walked catcher Mike Zunino to open the inning and then recorded two outs. Back-to-back walks to outfielder Austin Jackson and second baseman Robinson Cano loaded the bases. Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager made the two-out walks as costly as possible by driving a ball over the wall in right-center field for a grand slam.

That turned what was a tied game into a Mariners’ 4-0 lead. Seattle would add on and turn a sizable lead into a rout.

In the top of the fourth, left fielder Dustin Ackley singled and shortstop Brad Miller walked with one out. First baseman Logan Morrison followed with a double to left field, extending the Mariners’ lead to 6-0. After outfielder Austin Jackson struck out, Trevor Bauer was relieved by Nick Hagadone.

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Indians struggle to support Corey Kluber outside of Yan Gomes' two HRs, fall to Seattle Mariners 3-2

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 9, 2015

The Indians, as they have all season, gave starting pitcher Corey Kluber little run support in a 3-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Progressive Field Tuesday night.

With the sounds and excitement of Quicken Loans Arena and the Cavaliers reverberating in the background from the plaza, the Mariners took an early lead that the Indians’ bats could never overcome.

And the Mariners’ production came early. First baseman Logan Morrison led off the game with a single. Outfielder Austin Jackson then reached base on a ground ball hit to Mike Aviles at shortstop. Aviles, now the primary shortstop since Jose Ramirez was optioned to Triple-A Columbus, bobbled it and could only get the force out at second. That quickly came back to hurt the Indians, as second baseman Robinson Cano followed with an RBI double to left field.

The Mariners extended their lead to 2-0 in the second inning. Shortstop Brad Miller singled and came around to score on a double down the left-field line off the bat of Morrison.

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See what Brad Grant said about Indians' top three picks Brady Aiken, Triston McKenzie, Juan Hillman

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 9, 2015

Indians Director of Amateur Scouting Brad Grant spoke with reporters following the first night of the MLB Draft Monday.

The Indians had three selections and came away with three high school pitchers, including a former No. 1 overall pick. That was Brady Aiken (17th overall), who was joined by Triston McKenzie (42nd) and Juan Hillman (59th).

Here are highlights of what Grand had to say:

On Aiken:

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Indians draft third high school pitcher of the night, take Juan Hillman with 59th pick in MLB Draft

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 8, 2015
Hillman

The Indians selected high school left-handed pitcher Juan Hillman with the 59th pick (second round) of the MLB Draft.

Hillman, out of Olympia High School in Florida, is the third high school pitcher the Indians have drafted tonight. He went 10-0 with a 1.44 ERA as a senior. He has been mentored by his godfather, former Major League pitcher Tom “Flash" Gordon.

Hillman was the No. 52-ranked prospect per MLB.com.

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Indians select high school RHP Triston McKenzie with 42nd pick in MLB Draft

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 8, 2015
McKenzie

The Indians selected high school right-handed pitcher Triston McKenzie with the 42nd pick of the first round in the MLB Draft, the final pick of the Competitive Balance Round A. 

McKenzie, 17, of Royal Palm Beach High School in Florida, went 9-5 with a 0.79 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 91 innings during his senior season.

McKenzie still has a lot of room to grow, as he stands 6-5 but only 160 pounds. He had committed to Vanderbilt prior to the draft.

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Apple announces it will pay bullpen’s ransom for Brandon Moss’ 100th HR ball

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 9, 2015

The Indians bullpen has made its demands known, and Apple is swooping in to pay up.

Brandon Moss hit his 100th home run in Kansas City, and he hit it into the bullpen. The Indians’ relief pitchers decided to put the ball up for ransom, demanding various Apple products for the ball’s safe return.

At Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the opening of his keynote speech, with the ball in hand, that the company would be paying the ransom on Moss’ behalf.

 

Anyone watching #WWDC15? Yep, Brandon Moss and the 'pen have gone global -- and Apple is going to pay the ransom. pic.twitter.com/dS8dgxwVfn

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Indians select former No. 1 overall pick LHP Brady Aiken with 17th selection in 2015 draft

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 8, 2015
Aiken

The Indians selected left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken, the top overall pick only a year ago, with the 17th pick in the 2015 MLB draft Monday night.

Aiken was drafted by the Houston Astros with the No. 1 overall selection last year but never reached a contract agreement with the team, as the Astros had concerns with his elbow. He lated enrolled at IMG Academy in Florida as a postgraduate high school student but after one appearance had to undergo Tommy John surgery earlier this year.

This is a high-risk, high-reward pick. Aiken, 6-3, 210 pounds, by many accounts was clearly the top talent last year and if healthy, would have been the top talent in this year's draft. But selecting a player with already one Tommy John surgery under his belt obviously carries a great deal of risk.

Aiken attended Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, where he went 7-0 with a 1.06 ERA during his senior season. He was a 2014 Perfect Game USA first-team All-American and led Team USA to a gold medal at the 18U World Cup in Taiwan in 2013, which included a seven-inning, 10-strikeout performance in the championship game against Japan.

The Indians took outfielder Bradley Zimmer and left-handed pitcher Justus Sheffield with the No. 31 pick in last year’s draft. Aiken joins Sheffield and CC Sabathia as left-handed high school pitchers drafted by the Indians since 1980.

Indians Director of Amateur Scouting Brad Grant said last Friday that the Indians were going to go with the best player available, regardless of position. That also might have meant regardless of risk. On talent alone, Aiken was without question the best player available at No. 17.

“We’re going to react to what’s there,” Grant said. “We don’t want to lock ourselves into a pitcher or into a hitter. We’re looking for the best player available. … Picking at 17, we’re going to look to take that player that fits best for us and not lock ourselves into anything. We want to be able to react to the draft, so if there’s a player there that we didn't anticipate to be there, we’re ready to be able to take that player.”

Here is video of Aiken, courtesy of MLB.com.

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Indians option SS Jose Ramirez, 3B Lonnie Chisenhall down; 3B Giovanny Urshela, UTIL Zach Walters up

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 8, 2015
Lonnie2

The left side of the Indians' defense is going to look much different starting Tuesday night against Seattle. The Indians on Sunday night optioned both shortstop Jose Ramirez and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall down to Triple-A Columbus.

Taking their places on the roster will be third baseman Giovanny Urshela and utility man Zach Walters.

Ramirez and Chisenhall have each struggled this season, especially defensively. They are first and second on the team in errors with eight and five, respectively. Offensively, they haven’t fared much better. Chisenhall is batting only .209 and Ramirez is at .180. Chisenhall will be out of options if he remains in Triple-A for 20 days.

Urshela will be making his major league debut. For Triple-A Columbus, he hit .275 with three home runs and nine RBI in 21 games. He’s known for his above-average play at defense, something the Indians have missed at the hot corner.

Walters is hitting .259 in Triple-A in 30 games. He’s spent time at left field, third base, first base and shortstop.

Urshela will likely see significant playing time at third base, and Mike Aviles figures to be the primary shortstop until Francisco Lindor is called up. Walters will likely act as the versatile utility man off the bench.

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Orioles 7, Indians 3: Sunday's One Last Thing on Lonnie Chisenhall's 'tough day'

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 8, 2015
Carrasco

Carlos Carrasco was hit hard and the Indians fell to the Baltimore Orioles 7-3 Sunday.

Carrasco allowed five runs over four innings, as the Orioles jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on an Adam Jones home run, tacked on three runs thanks to a two-out rally in the fourth and cruised from there.

Sunday’s One Last Thing: Lonnie Chisenhall has been putting in the work but is still struggling in the field.

Chisenhall had a pretty tough day Sunday. He went 1-for-4 at the plate with two strikeouts. He also committed two errors and couldn’t come up with a third key play. Both of the errors, if fielded correctly, likely would have been inning-ending double plays. The latter error led to the Orioles taking a 6-1 lead.

He now has five errors this season, which is second behind only Jose Ramirez’s eight.

“He had a tough day today,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He actually had been playing third base pretty good. He had a tough day. He wasn’t able to make the barehanded play which was a tough play. And then we got the potential double-play ball which would have been huge and it kind of ate him up. It was a tough day all around.”

More: Indians send down SS Jose Ramirez, per report

It’s been a rough two-plus months, for the most part. To Chisenhall’s credit, he’s often been on the field before games—and before fans can enter the stadium—alone with infield coach Mike Sarbaugh, taking grounder after grounder, just those two and someone at first to take the throw. Hes been working. He keeps notes in his locker to remind him of things he wants to keep in mind defensively. He’s probably wearing Sarbaugh out each day.

That, along with the flashes of brilliance he’s shown both in the field and the plate, is probably a key reason the Indians and Francona are chalking this up to a bad day and giving Chisenhall time to figure things out. You can’t negate poor play just on hard work alone. But perhaps it gives him a longer leash.

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Indians SS Jose Ramirez being sent to Triple-A, per report; Francisco Lindor call-up possible

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 7, 2015
Jose

The Indians are sending shortstop Jose Ramirez to Triple-A Columbus, per a report by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.

Per his Tweet, the corresponding move is still unknown. It's entirely possible that top prospect Francisco Lindor could be on his way to Cleveland, though it could be utility man Zach Walters. The Indians might want to give Ramirez a chance to regroup in Triple-A but might not yet want to call up Lindor. Promoting Walters would allow them to do that, as he could serve in a utility role with Mike Aviles as the everyday shortstop. 

The Indians have not yet confirmed the move.

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Indians fail to get back to even record, lose to Baltimore Orioles 7-3

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 7, 2015

Carlos Carrasco struggled on the mound and the Indians offense scored three or fewer runs for the third straight game in a 7-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles Sunday at Progressive Field.

Carrasco (7-5) lasted only four innings, allowed five earned runs on seven hits and struck out three. The Orioles grabbed a 1-0 lead on Adam Jones' first-inning home run, tacked on three runs in the fourth thanks to four hits and a walk—all with two outs—and cruised from there.

Brandon Moss had an RBI double in the fourth inning, Ryan Raburn drove in a run on a ground ball in the seventh and added an RBI single in the ninth. Aside from that, the Indians’ bats were quieted by Orioles starter Bud Norris (2-4), who entered with a 9.88 ERA this season. The Indians left 10 men on base for the second straight game.

Lonnie Chisenhall had a poor day defensively, committing two errors, which gives him five this season. He was also unable to make a third play on a ground ball single by Manny Machado with the bases loaded in the fourth. He tried to barehand the slow tapper but couldn't maintain his grip on the ball to make the play, which gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead.

The Indians had their second chance to climb back to an even record but dropped to 27-29 this season. They are off Monday. The Orioles improved to 26-30.

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Danny Salazar lifts Indians to 2-1 win over Baltimore Orioles

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 6, 2015

The Indians left plenty of runners stranded but got enough home to support a strong outing from Danny Salazar in a 2-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles Saturday at Progressive Field.

The Indians left 10 men on base in all, as they got to Ubaldo Jimenez but let him off the hook on more than one occasion.

In the third, Nick Swisher came through with a two-out RBI singe up the middle that tied it 1-1. In the sixth, facing Orioles relief pitcher Brad Brach (3-2), Carlos Santana roped a double to right field that scored Jason Kipnis from first and gave the Indians a 2-1 lead.

That was enough for Salazar (6-1), who threw seven-plus innings, allowed one earned run on six hits and struck out 10. The Orioles’ lone run came on a home run by Manny Machado in the top of the third.

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Catcher Yan Gomes slowly starting to make an impact in Indians' lineup; Terry Francona: "He'll hit"

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 6, 2015
Gomes

When catcher Yan Gomes returned to the Indians May 24 against Cincinnati, he wanted to make an immediate impact after six weeks on the disabled list with a sprained knee.

He’s one of the team’s leaders, one of its better hitters and a much-needed right-handed bat to fit into the lineup.

But he didn’t make an immediate impact. His timing wasn’t quite there, as he played every  other day for a week and collected one hit in 18 at-bats. He then played four games in a row, had a day off and played two more in a row leading into Saturday’s game. Being back and now playing on a more regular basis, he’s starting to find his swing again, as he has three hits in the last two games and a couple of scattered hard-hit outs that haven’t been productive, but they’ve been a good sign.

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Orioles 5, Indians 2: Friday’s One Last Thing on a mental mistake and two bad bounces

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 6, 2015
KipOs

The Indians dropped the first game of a three-game set to the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 at Progressive Field Friday night.

Shaun Marcum had another fairly solid outing as the fifth starter, allowing three earned runs and striking out four in 6 1/3 innings pitched.

Offensively, the Indians could only do damage in the fifth, as four singles—the latter two by Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley to score a run each—brought home two runs to tie it 2-2.

Adam Jones absolutely crushed a ball off Marcum two pitches into the sixth, and the Orioles led from there.

Friday’s One Last Thing: One mental mistake and two bad bounces might have cost the Indians this game.

Baseball is a funny game, and it’s something that Indians manager Terry Francona often says, or at least some variation of, “Well, that’s baseball.” When you play 162 of anything every year, weird things will happen.

Aside from the Indians struggling against Chris Tillman, who is not having a good year, and aside from Jones hitting that ball halfway up the bleachers in left, some smaller plays certainly didn’t help the Indians.

The first: In the top of the fourth, the Orioles took a 1-0 lead on Matt Wieters’ double off the wall in left field. The ball hit off the bottom of the wall and got away from David Murphy, which allowed Chris Davis to score. If he fields it cleanly, perhaps Marcum gets out of the inning only allowing one run.

Murphy’s explanation, essentially: He went for the catch but since the padding can bounce balls off of the wall, he got caught too close when it landed.

“He took a nice easy swing,” Murphy said. “The ball kind of took off and the wind was kind of knocking the ball down, so I froze for a second and then took off as hard as I could. These walls are kind of bouncy, so if you’re close enough to the wall, you try to knock it down if you can, but I was unable to do that. I went after that ball with everything I had, just didn’t work out in our favor there.”

MORE: Mike Aviles getting more time at shortstop; All-Star voting update

The second: After the Orioles took that 3-2 lead on Jones’ home run, it looked like the Indians were going to answer again. Murphy doubled down the right-field line to open the inning. Lonnie Chisenhall then hit a ball to Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy’s right, and Murphy took off. It was an easy play for Hardy and it killed the scoring threat.

Murphy had it in his mind that the Orioles were in a shift and that any ball hit that far to his right would get through, and he wanted a good jump to beat the throw from left field.

Here’s his full answer:


The third: In the eighth, the Orioles extended their lead to 4-2 on a hard-hit ball by Jones with Travis Snider on first. Brandon Moss, in right field, went to his right to field it but it took a sharp hop to the left. The ball got by Moss, which put Jones on third and brought Snider home. Jones then scored on a sacrifice fly. Again, perhaps if Moss is able to field that ball, the score remains 3-2 and the Indians need one swing to tie the game.

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Indians fall to Baltimore Orioles 5-2

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 5, 2015

After taking two of three games against Kansas City, the Indians returned home and dropped the first game of a three-game set to the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 at Progressive Field Friday night.

The Indians battled back from one deficit but couldn’t do it twice, as the offense could put together only one quality inning.

The Orioles (25-29) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth off of Indians starter Shaun Marcum (2-1). With a runner on first, Matt Wieters, who made his 2015 season debut after having Tommy John surgery last year, doubled off the left-field wall. Indians left fielder David Murphy had a tough time fielding the bounce, which allowed Chris Davis to score from first. Two batters later, Ryan Flaherty singled to center field to score Wieters.

The Indians (26-28) responded in the bottom of the fifth off of Orioles starter Chris Tillman (3-7). Yan Gomes opened the inning with a single and was later followed by Mike Aviles, who singled as well to put runners on the corners. Jason Kipnis added an RBI single up the middle and with two outs, Michael Brantley tied the game 2-2 with another single, the Indians’ fourth in the inning, to right field.

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All-Star Game voting update; Jason Kipnis 4th, Michael Brantley 7th

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 5, 2015

The Indians have a good chance of sending two players to July’s All-Star game in Cincinnati, that being second baseman Jason Kipnis and outfielder Michael Brantley.

At Friday night’s game, the Indians had painted “Vote Brantley” and “Vote Kipnis” along the third and first base lines, respectively.

Kipnis has started to make up ground at his position. As of June 2, he was fourth among AL second baseman with 504,909 votes. Houston’s Jose Altuve (2 million) and Kansas City’s Omar Infante (1.4 million) still hold sizable leads.

Brantley has moved up to seventh among outfielders and has 906,788 votes. Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain (2.5 million), Los Angeles’ Mike Trout (2.3) and Kansas City’s Alex Gordon (1.9) make up the top three.

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Series preview for three-game set between Indians and Baltimore Orioles

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 5, 2015

The Indians are back home for a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles this weekend.

Here is a short preview for the series.

The Orioles have been in somewhat of a holding pattern, sitting at 24-29 this season and will enter this series 4-6 in their last 10 games. They’re in fourth in the American League East and 4.5 games out of first.

The Indians, also in fourth in their division, are trending upward. They enter only one game below .500 after a disastrous April and are six games out of first and only a game behind the Detroit Tigers.

The Indians will throw Shaun Marcum, Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco Friday-Saturday-Sunday. The Orioles are slated to counter with Chris Tillman Friday night and old friend Ubaldo Jimenez Saturday. Sunday’s starter is still to be announced.

Tillman has struggled this season, as he owns a 5.94 ERA and 2-7 record. Jimenez, though, has performed somewhat like his former self and is 3-3 with a 3.12 ERA. Jimenez had a couple of ugly starts in spring training but seems to have righted the ship somewhat.

Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is making his 2015 season debut Friday night after recovering from Tommy John surgery. So far, it’s been the usual offensive suspects for the Orioles and one surprise.

Centerfielder Adam Jones is hitting .307 with seven home runs and has been one of the better all-around players in the game. Third baseman Manny Machado, often hitting leadoff, has a .264 batting average and eight home runs. Chris Davis is hitting just .219 but he has clubbed 12 home runs.

The surprise: Jimmy Paredes, who has somewhat come out of nowhere to hit .305 with six home runs and 25 RBI, often out of the DH spot.

Former Green High David Lough, as well, will get some playing time this weekend. He’s starting and in left field Friday night.

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Indians beat Kansas City Royals 6-2; Game called in eighth inning

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 5, 2015

The Indians topped the Kansas City Royals 6-2 in a game that was shortened due to rain.

After a 44-minute delay, the game was called final with one out in the bottom of the eighth.

Brandon Moss hit his 10th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the 5th inning that made it 6-2. David Murphy went 1-for 4 with two RBI.

Trevor Bauer improved to 5-2 this season, throwing 6 2/3 innings and allowing two runs while striking out five. Royals starter Chris Young allowed six runs in five innings and dropped to 2-4.

The Indians take two of three games in Kansas City and improve to 26-27. The Royals drop to 30-21 this season.

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Indians can’t support Corey Kluber in 4-2 loss to Kansas City Royals

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 3, 2015

The Indians reverted back to their trend of two runs of support for Corey Kluber and fell to the Kansas City Royals 4-2 Wednesday night.

Kluber (3-6) threw eight innings but allowed four earned runs on eight hits. The Indians had several opportunities but often couldn’t take advantage. Perhaps the best example came in the fifth, when the Indians had runners on the corners and no outs against Royals starter Jason Vargas (4-2). Mike Aviles, though grounded into a double-play and Carlos Santana flew out to end the inning.

Royals closer Greg Holland came on in the ninth to record his eighth save of the season.

The Indians fell to 25-27 and the Royals improved to 30-20.

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Indians 2B Jason Kipnis named American League Player of the Month in May

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 3, 2015

Indians second baseman’s historic May earned him American League Player of the Month on Wednesday.

Kipnis had 51 hits, 22 extra-base hits, 30 runs scored and 17 RBI in 29 games. He batted .429 with a .511 on-base percentage. Kipnis led all of baseball with a Wins Above Replacement of 3.1.

It’s Kipnis’ second Player of the Month, the first coming in June of 2013. Washington’s Bryce Harper was named National League Player of the Month. Harper had a WAR of 2.6. Only Kipnis and Harper had a WAR above 2.0 in May.

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Indians bullpen has a little fun after Brandon Moss hits 100th home run

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 3, 2015
Mossy

Brandon Moss hit his 100th home run (and ninth of this season) Tuesday night in the Indians’ 2-1 win over the Kansas City Royals.

His mistake, though, was hitting it into the Indians’ bullpen. The Indians relievers—jokingly—are now holding the ball ransom.

The Indians’ Twitter account posted a picture of the ransom note and the items—all Apple products—that are being requested before Moss will get his souvenir.

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Michael Brantley, Carlos Carrasco lift Indians to 2-1 win over Kansas City Royals

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 2, 2015

Michael Brantley did something not often accomplished against the Kansas City Royals bullpen and the Indians went on to win 2-1 on the road Tuesday night.

The Indians (25-26) and Royals (29-20) entered the eighth tied 1-1, normally a good position for the Royals, who own baseball’s best bullpen. They called on Wade Davis (1-2), who hadn’t allowed a single run all season.

Michael Bourn walked to open the inning but was out on a Jose Ramirez ground ball to second. Ramirez was called safe at first on a bang-bang play. The Royals challenged and appeared to have a decent claim, but the ruling was upheld.

Jason Kipnis followed with another ball that could have been a double play, but second baseman Omar Infante bobbled it and could only get the out at second. With two outs and a second chance at the inning, Carlos Santana followed with a walk and Brantley gave the Indians a 2-1 lead with a single up the middle.

Earlier, Brandon Moss hit his ninth home run of the season in the fourth inning off of Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie to tie the game 1-1.

Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (7-4) threw seven innings, allowed just one earned run and struck out eight.

Cody Allen came on in the ninth and recorded a 1-2-3 inning for his 12th save of the season.

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A look at Indians 2B Jason Kipnis' historic May; Series preview vs. Kansas City Royals

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 2, 2015
Kip

In June of 2013, Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis had a terrific month, playing well enough to force his way onto the American League All-Star game. His May of 2015, though, was downright historic.

Kipnis ends May with a .429 batting average, an on-base percentage of .511, 51 hits, 22 extra-base hits, 30 runs scored and an OPS of 1.217. He was the most valuable player in all of baseball, as he led the league with a Wins Above Replacement of 3.1. Only Washington's Bryce Harper was close to that mark, with a 2.6.

"He had an unbelievable month," Indians manager Terry Francona told reporters in Seattle. "Now, I don't care about the month. I think he’s an unbelievable player. He does so man things to help us win. It’s been like that for a while now and he's been a force.”

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