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Indians 8, Twins 4: Ryan Lewis’ 20 Walk-Off Thoughts on Corey Kluber and Perci Garner

By Ryan Lewis Published: September 1, 2016

Here are 20 Walk-Off Thoughts on the Indians’ 8-4 win against the Minnesota Twins.

1. Corey Kluber has seemingly only gotten better as this season has progressed. He started the season treading water but since the calendar ticked over to June, he’s been in top form and is now putting together one of the best stretches of his career.

2. Kluber’s ERAs in April and May: 4.24 and 4.08. His ERAs in June, July and August entering Wednesday night: 2.19, 2.51, 2.20.

3. He tossed eight innings, allowing three runs and striking out 11 on Wednesday. He held the Twins to just one run until Brian Dozier hit a two-run home run in the eighth the game mostly in hand.

4. He’s now won seven straight decisions, the longest stretch of his career. He’s also won seven straight decisions at home, the longest stretch for an Indians pitcher since Cliff Lee won 10 straight in 2008. And he’s now thrown 10 consecutive quality starts, which is tied with Detroit’s Justin Verlander for the longest such streak in the majors.

5. And similar to when he won the 2014 American League Cy Young, he’s on track to finish the season strong if he continues this trend. Since the All-Star break, Kluber is 6-0 with a 2.04 ERA.

6. As has often been the case, it’s come back to Kluber’s meticulous throwing program between starts. When asked about Kluber’s second-half surge, both he and Indians manager Terry Francona mentioned the work he does on the four days between the times he takes the mound.

7. Said Kluber, “I think it’s just staying consistent between starts. There are going to be days where you don’t feel great, but just having the mindset that I need to go out there and do what I need to do and get my job done …”

8. Said Francona, “I agree. I think that it comes back to his work ethic and his routines and how consistent he is. This is the time of year, I think he's at 183 innings and he looks every bit as fresh as he did on opening day and that's not easy to do.”

9. Roberto Perez is thankful to be catching him, not hitting against him, saying, “I feel like guys got to get him early. If you don't get him early, I think he gets tougher and tougher by the innings. He just pounds the zone, man. He throws a lot of strikes. He makes guys uncomfortable going in and back and forth. It's tough, man. Thank God he's on our team.”

10. Kluber is in the middle of a crowded field for the AL Cy Young, as close to a dozen pitchers have reasonable cases to be named the AL’s top pitcher. He’s certainly keeping his name in the conversation.

11. Said Perez, “Of course. I think every night when he's pitching, when he's on the mound, I think something special is about to happen. That's how confident we are in him. Me, as a catcher back there, I'm really confident about him going seven, eight or nine innings every time he goes out there. It was nice. We got the win, so that was huge for us.”

12. Perci Garner was called up on Wednesday and made his major-league debut in the ninth. It wasn’t as smooth as he or the Indians would have liked, as he gave up two singles and a walk. With two outs, Bryan Shaw was called upon to finish the game.

13. It didn’t matter—the realization of a life-long dream had Garner in the best of spirits. Francona joked before the game that Garner probably already leads the league in smiles. It was evident why he said that Wednesday night.

14. Garner has the ball from his first major-league strikeout and then cracked some jokes about his debut, saying, “Yes, I have that. They actually kept a lot of balls for me. They kept my first walk. No, I'm joking [laughs]. They kept a couple of foul balls. They're going to do some cool things. I don't know what they're going to do, but they're going to decorate them for me. … Usually I give all of my stuff like that to my grandpa, but if he doesn't want it, maybe we'll start a room or something and we'll put all that stuff in there. I got my first Triple-A strikeout. We'll try to keep all of that stuff. Especially my wife, she seems like she likes to do that stuff.”

15. Garner said he had maybe 50-plus people in the stands for his debut game. It included his three-year-old son, Perci IV. Even if his son was more interested in his teammates.

16. Laughing, Garner said, “It's special because he doesn't really understand that I'm a big leaguer and that this has been my lifetime goal. At the same time, his eyes are still lighting up, no matter where I was pitching. He definitely enjoyed this. He's always really excited to see my teammates. That's the first thing he said. 'I want to meet your teammates!' I was like, 'You don't care about me?' He's like, 'Ehh, I don't know.' I try not to ask him whether he likes me or the teammates better. He chose the teammates.”

17. It was clear immediately that Garner will be one those players that fans love. He’s also a terrific story, bouncing back from being released as a minor leaguer by the Philadelphia Phillies and now getting to pitch in the big leagues.

18. When rosters expand in September, it often allows for some of these players with good stories who just want a chance. For one month, teams can carry some extra guys who get to appear in the big show. Garner might be one of the more fun players to follow this spring as the Indians contend for the division.

19. Garner also flashed some velocity, and as a ground ball hitter, the Indians for the most part liked what they saw.

20. Said Francona, “You know what? I know he wanted to finish the game but I thought he showed really good poise and he gave up leadoff hit and like a blooper and a walk, but he was around the plate with some really good stuff. I wish we had a couple more runs so we could have left him in there, but it's nice to get him in a game. I think every time he pitches it will be good for him. Now we have an off day tomorrow and he's not sitting around waiting to pitch, which I think was important for him. But he's got good stuff and he's probably still smiling. He's always smiling.”

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Indians rout Minnesota Twins, complete sweep with 8-4 win

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 31, 2016

Perhaps the Minnesota Twins’ curse on the Indians has finally been reversed.

After a season of success against the rest of the division but several perplexing losses to the last-place Twins, the Indians took care of them on Wednesday night 8-4, completing a three-game sweep at home.

Corey Kluber furthered his bid for his second American League Cy Young Award and the Indians’ offense put together a five-run rally in the fifth to easily dispose of the Twins, who had won eight of the 13 matchups heading into this week.

Kluber (15-8, 3.09 ERA) was strong again, allowing three earned runs on six hits and striking out 11 in eight innings pitched. He held the Twins (49-84) to just one run until the eighth inning, with the game mostly in hand, when Brian Dozier hit a two-run home run. Those eight innings logged carry some extra value after the bullpen was needed fro 7 1/3 innings in Tuesday’s win.

It was Kluber’s seventh consecutive win, the longest such streak of his career without a loss. In those seven starts, he owns a 1.94 ERA. He’s also now thrown 10 consecutive quality starts, which is tied with Detroit's Justin Verlander for the longest streak in the majors.

The Indians (76-56) chipped away against Twins starting pitcher Pat Dean (1-5, 6.75 ERA) and then rallied in the fifth to put the game away.

Already leading 2-0, Roberto Perez drilled a solo home run to center field, giving the Indians some offensive production from the catcher’ spot that they’ve been missing for much of the year.

With one out, a single by Francisco Lindor was sandwiched around walks to Jason Kipnis and Mike Napoli, loading the bases and bringing relief pitcher J.T. Chargois into the game. Carlos Santana ripped an RBI-single to right field and Jose Ramirez followed with a two-run double down the right-field line. Lonnie Chisenhall capped the five-run fifth with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Santana and making it 7-1.

Kipnis added a sacrifice fly in the eighth to score Rajai Davis, who doubled and then stole his AL-leading 34th base of the season.

Prior to the fifth, Abraham Almonte put the Indians on top 1-0 in the second inning with an RBI-double to left field. After the Twins tied it 1-1 with a solo home run by Max Kepler, Santana answered the Twins with a solo shot of his own in the fourth, his 28th of the season, which marks a career-high for a single season.

Perci Garner made his major-league debut in the ninth inning, recording his first career strikeout but also allowing two hits and a walk to load the bases, making it a save situation and warranting Bryan Shaw out of the bullpen to record the final out. Shaw allowed a run on a wild pitch before striking out Dozier to end the game and record his first save of the season.

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Indians to skip Josh Tomlin’s next start; Perci Garner promoted, Shawn Armstrong demoted

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 31, 2016

The Indians haven’t yet ascertained the source of starting pitcher Josh Tomlin’s issues lately, but they will be giving him some time to regain his form.

Per Indians manager Terry Francona, the Indians will be skipping Tomlin’s next start and have him take a couple of lighter days than his normal throwing program to try to help him “reset.” Tomlin had an abysmal month of August, owning an 11.48 ERA.

“We’re going to kind of put our heads together—by that I mean [pitching coach Mickey Callaway] mostly and [bullpen coach Jason Bere]—how we think it’s best to get him back to being Tomlin,” Francona said. “The one thing I would say is it doesn’t look like his tank is on empty.”

Tomlin had been a stabilizing force as the No. 5 pitcher in the starting rotation all season prior to August, giving the Indians a lift while Trevor Bauer worked his way back, Cody Anderson struggled to regain his 2015 form and Carlos Carrasco landed on the disabled list. But in his last six starts, he’s struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark or get through a lineup more than once.

Tomlin has long been called by Francona one of the best teammates he’s ever been around.

“I mean if you’re looking to criticize him, you’re going the wrong direction,” Francona said. “This kid gives you everything he has, he’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever seen, and none of that changes because he’s gotten hit around a little bit the last three, four times. This is just part of baseball. He’ll handle it.”

Tomlin held himself accountable after Tuesday’s start, saying if the Indians made a move with the rotation, he’s understand.

"I don't know how I could be disappointed about that, I don’t,” Tomlin said. “Whatever move he makes I understand. It's not like I'm going out there and throwing eight shutout every time now. I'm struggling. I know I’m struggling. I take full ownership in that. It's my fault. I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm anxious to back here tomorrow and try to figure it out.”

Tomlin added that he hasn’t yet been able to identity a trend in his poor starts. But something has clearly been off.

The Indians don’t have a clear plan, yet, of how to handle Tomlin’s skipped start. The off-day on Thursday affords them some options, or they could call up a pitcher from Triple-A with rosters expanding on Thursday.

New guy

The Indians on Wednesday promoted pitcher Perci Garner from Triple-A Columbus and demoted Shawn Armstrong to Class-A Lake County.

Garner gives the Indians some protection in the bullpen after Armstrong threw in Tuesday’s game. Armstrong will be eligible to return to the Indians when Lake County’s season ends on Sept. 5.

The Indians had to purchase Garner’s contract, as he wasn’t on the 40-man roster. To make room, Yan Gomes was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. Per the club, Gomes could go on a rehab assignment within the next week or so and is eligible to come off the DL on Sept. 16.

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Indians complete trade with Oakland A’s to acquire OF Coco Crisp

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 31, 2016
Crisp



A fan favorite from more than a decade ago is returning for the postseason push, as the Indians on Wednesday completed a deal with the Oakland A’s to acquire outfielder Coco Crisp and cash in exchange for left-handed pitcher Colt Hynes.

Crisp, 36, this season is hitting .234 with a .299 on-base percentage to go with 11 home runs, 24 doubles and 47 RBI. He also has led the majors to this point with a .424 average with runners in scoring position.

Crisp fills a potential void in the Indians’ postseason outfield, as Abraham Almonte is ineligible to play past the regular season after failing a drug test that revealed performance-enhancing drugs. Because of it, the Indians were in need of eventually making a trade or promoting someone from Triple-A to fill that void.

“Over the course of the past few weeks, we looked at alternatives to try to continue to add to our team and improve our position for the balance of September and, if we're fortunate enough to get into the postseason, in October,” said Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti. “We feel Coco help us with that. … We'll add him to the mix of guys and [manager Terry Francona] can use him based upon the way he sees the best matchups.

Crisp is officially a member of the Indians as of Wednesday, meaning he’s on their playoff roster. He’ll report on Thursday’s off day when rosters expand and be available for Friday’s game.

As a player with 10 years in the major leagues and five years with his current team, Crisp had 10-and-5 rights, which act as a no-trade clause. Crisp waived that clause to come to Cleveland after clearing waivers.

Per a report by the Associated Press, the A’s are including roughly $1.6 million to help offset what Crisp is owed for the rest of this season. Crisp also has a $13 million option for 2017 that vests should he reach 550 plate appearances or 130 games. The Indians, though, were candid with Crisp that due to the current situation in the outfield, he likely wouldn’t reach those plateaus and will become a free agent after this season.

Crisp will now jump from the rebuilding A’s to the first-place Indians in a hunt for the postseason.

“In talking to Coco, he was pretty excited,” Antonetti said. “Coco chose to come here. Tito and I had a chance to talk with him before we completed the trade, and he seemed really excited about coming over here and looked forward to getting here.”

Crisp spent four seasons in Cleveland before being traded after the 2005 season to the Boston Red Sox along with David Riske and Josh Bard for a package that included Andy Marte, Kelly Shoppach and Guillermo Mota. He owns a career .266 average with more than 300 doubles and 300 stolen bases. His 306 steals currently rank him 10th among active players.

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Indians 5, Twins 4: Ryan Lewis’ 21 Walk-Off Thoughts on Josh Tomlin and 7 1/3 IP from the bullpen

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 31, 2016

Here are 21 Walk-Off Thoughts after the Indians’ 5-4 win against the Minnesota Twins Tuesday night.

1. The night started with Josh Tomlin, and it started poorly. Tomlin’s nightmarish August continued with him allowing four earned runs in 1 1/2 innings pitched. He didn’t escape the second inning, which marked the shortest start of his career. The first pitch of the night was taken out of the ballpark by Brian Dozier. It was followed by a couple of hits and then four singles in the second inning.

2. Tomlin entered the night with a 10.80 ERA in August and wasn’t able to improve upon that. Essentially, the wheels have just fallen off for him after a terrific start to the year—at one point it was looking like he’d contend for an All-Star spot.

3. Tomlin’s ERAs by month before August: 3.18, 4.06, 2.60, 3.73. Then, all of a sudden, he began to struggle to get through a lineup twice. What was a major stabilizing force in the rotation while Trevor Bauer tried to find himself and Cody Anderson struggled to find the same success he had in 2015 has now become a liability as the Indians continue to lead the division heading into September.

More: Indians, A's working on trade to bring Coco Crisp back to Cleveland

4. Tomlin has looked at his previous starts but can’t seem to find anything specific that can be attributed to his poor month.

5. Said Tomlin, “Very confusing for me. I've went back and looked at a lot of stuff and I don't see a trend anywhere. I don't see the stuff is not ticking down at all, I actually feel like it's a little bit better than what it was earlier in the year so my cutter is harder. I went back to see if it was flatter or finding barrels a little bit, but  it's not really doing that so ... after the All-Star break and early on it was about executing pitches out of the stretch, I wasn't  executing pitches and now I am and they are just putting good at-bats on it, they're putting the barrel on it and finding holes and it's definitely a tough stretch and it's frustrating but I can't hang my head down and I have to come back tomorrow and get to work and try to figure this thing out and et better because we have a lot of baseball games to play and we're trying to win every game we can right now. I've got to get better."

6. The Indians are nearing the point of either needing Tomlin to figure something out, or the rotation having to be shaken up. The Indians will only need four starters in the postseason, and if healthy those four will be Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer. But Tomlin is needed now, and there’s clearly something that’s been a bit off.

7. Indians manager Terry Francona often talks about how much he loves having Tomlin in the clubhouse, that he’s one of the best guys he’s ever been around and is an easy player to root for because of it. On Tuesday night, Tomlin took full accountability for his recent play, saying he’d understand if Francona made a move. It’s about as accountable as a pitcher can be.

8. Said Tomlin, "I don't know how I could be disappointed about that, I don't. Whatever move he makes I understand. It's not like I'm going out there and throwing eight shutout every time now. I'm struggling. I know I;m struggling. I take full ownership in that. It's my fault. I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm anxious to back here tomorrow and try to figure it out. all I can do is not dwell on it, by no means, but come back tomorrow and figure some stuff out. Talk to Mickey, talk to Tito and guys in the rotation and figure out what I'm doing. If I'm getting in a pattern, if I'm not pitching in enough. If I'm throwing too many of this or that. I need to figure it out and figure it out quick. but I understand, whatever he has to do I get it.”

More: Michael Brantley doesn't think he, the club mishandled his rehab 'at all'

9. Francona didn’t think making that determination five minutes after the game was a great idea. He said prior to the game that the club wasn’t planning on lengthening out Mike Clevinger, instead being content with how much he’d helped the bullpen. But, in one way or another, Francona’s hand could be forced to either call up a starter once rosters expand on Thursday or look to Clevinger in the rotation. Otherwise, Tomlin and the Indians will have to find something to key in on.

10. Said Francona, “I know he is [beating himself up] too and you know what, we got an off day Thursday. We have the ability to maybe juggle our rotation a little bit. I don’t think five, ten minutes after the game is probably the time to do it, but we’ll sit down and go through it a little bit and see if bumping him back a couple days or whatever… We’ll get it figured out.”

11. But, on Tuesday night, the Indians made the poor start moot. It was in part thanks to a solo home run by Jason Kipnis, a three-run home run by Rajai Davis and an RBI-double by Francisco Lindor.

12. It was also in part thanks to 7 1/3 scoreless innings by the Indians’ bullpen, another stellar night for a group that’s found the next level since Andrew Miller was added into the fold.

13. The Indians’ bullpen worked four scoreless innings in a 0-0 tie in Monday’s 1-0 win in extras. Combined with the 7 1/3 scoreless on Tuesday, they’ve now worked 21 consecutive shutout innings. They’ve also allowed just five runs in the last 47 innings (0.96 ERA) in the last 13 games.

14. It was led by Dan Otero, who threw a season-high 2 2/3 scoreless innings, and Miller, who earned the five-out save. Otero has been the Indians’ unsung hero ahead of Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen and now Miller. His ERA dipped to 1.25, second in the majors among relievers.

15. Said Otero on the bullpen as a whole, “We take pride in being ready every day to pitch. It’s not just nights like tonight, but it’s every night. I think we’ve kind of shown that the last couple weeks, that we’ve turned a corner I think down there and as a unit, we’ve done a good job. Tonight was one of those nights we were asked to throw quite a few innings and it was our job to keep the game close and everybody did a great job. armstrong came in and got out of the jam in the second, that could have led to a big inning. And then Mac did his thing, playing hacky sack with the ball, catching it. And then obviously Shaw and Miller did their thing, I think the last nine outs between the two of them. So that was awesome.”

16. Otero also recorded what, in retrospect, might have been the biggest out of the game. Otero entered with one out and the bases loaded in the third inning, and with the Indians trying to keep it to a 4-4 tie. Needing a double play, Logan Schafer drilled a ball right near Otero’s head. He caught it and threw to second for an inning-ending double play. An inning later, the Indians took the lead and held on.

17. Francona asked for a double play. It just wasn’t how the Indians drew it up. Said Francona, “That was a big out. That goes as a double play. I told when I brought him in, ‘Go get you a double play,’ but I’m not sure I really saw it like that. That’s happened a couple times because he lands on balance, he is going to catch some of those.”

18. Added Otero, “He needs to be more specific. I was trying to get the ground ball at somebody, but it happened to be a line drive at my face. I got my head out of the way and snagged it. I looked around and didn’t know where it throw it, saw the guy running to third so I was like, ‘All right, I’ll lob it to Lindor and hopefully they can catch it and step on second before he gets there.’”

19. Otero’s might have been the bigger play, but it wasn’t the best. That was reserved for Zach McAllister, who made a kick-save of a catch on another come-backer, this one off the bat of Kurt Suzuki.

 

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Indians’ offense rallies, bullpen stays strong in 5-4 win against Minnesota Twins

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 30, 2016

The Indians overcame a couple of base running mistakes and the shortest outing of Josh Tomlin’s career to beat the Minnesota Twins 5-4 Tuesday night.

Trailing 4-1 early, Rajai Davis ripped a three-run home run in the second inning and Francisco Lindor provided the game-winning hit in the fourth, an RBI-double off the wall in left-center field.

The Indians’ bullpen, which threw four scoreless innings in Monday’s 1-0 win in extras, combined to throw 7 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball to hold the Twins at bay after Tomlin’s exit. It was highlighted by Dan Otero’s season-high 2 2/3 innings and Andrew Miller’s five-out save, capping an improbable win that early on looked to be trending toward a sizable loss.

Tomlin’s terrible August continued to get worse. He entered Tuesday’s start with a 10.80 ERA in the month of August but couldn’t improve on it, allowing four earned runs in only 1 2/3 innings and not being able to escape the second inning. He had previously lost all of his last five starts and put the Indians in a position to make it six in a row.

After struggling with home run issues all month, Tomlin’s first pitch of the night was drilled over the left-field wall by Brian Dozier for a home run. A double by Joe Mauer and a single by Miguel Sano made it 2-0.

The Indians (75-56) got one of them back in the bottom of the first on Jason Kipnis’ 21st home run of the season, a solo shot over the wall in right field off Twins starter Andrew Albers. It extended his career-high mark for home runs in a season.

But Tomlin’s issues were far from done. Four singles by the Twins (49-83) brought home two more runs, pushing their lead to 4-1 and ending Tomlin’s night.

Then, the answer. After Abraham Almonte doubled and Chris Gimenez walked, Davis ripped a three-run home run to the bleacher seats in left field, quickly tying it 4-4 in the second inning.

Lindor’s go-ahead double off the wall came two innings later, setting the stage for the bullpen’s lights-out performance.

The Indians did overcome some poor base running in the process. They were thrown out at third base twice and home once, doing as much to hold the offense back as they did to propel it forward. Davis was caught trying to steal third in the first inning. In the fourth, he singled and Gimenez was thrown out trying to advance to third.

Then, on the same play in which Lindor gave the Indians their first lead of the night, Kipnis, at first on the play and trailing Davis, rounded third but was nailed at the plate by a terrific relay throw from shortstop Eduardo Escobar.

Two Indians pitchers flashed some glove on Tuesday, which included one of the more important outs of the game. Otero entered in the third inning with one out and the bases loaded, with the Indians trying to keep it tied 4-4. Logan Schafer lined a ball right near Otero’s head, but he reflexively caught it and tossed the ball to second for an inning-ending double play.

In the sixth, Kurt Suzuki hit a low line drive back toward Zach McAllister. McAllister kicked his leg out, flipped the ball up with his leg and caught it for an out.

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Indians, A's working on trade to bring Coco Crisp to Cleveland, per report

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 30, 2016

The Indians and Oakland A’s are progressing on a trade that would bring outfielder Coco Crisp back to Cleveland, per a report by Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors. Per the same report, Crisp has waived his 10-and-5 rights to allow a possible trade.

Teams can still execute trades, as the Aug. 1 (normally July 31) non-waiver trade deadline only means players must clear waivers prior to being traded if on the 40-man roster.

Crisp, 36, this season is hitting .234 with a .299 on-base percentage to go with 11 home runs, 24 doubles and 47 RBI. He is owed the remaining $11 million of his 2016 salary and has a $13 million option for next season that vests should he reach 550 plate appearances or 130 games played. He currently has played in 102 games and logged 434 plate appearances, so it’s more than likely the Indians would only pay the $750,000 buyout and make him a free agent this winter.

Crisp would give the Indians a balanced outfielder off the bench who would be eligible for postseason play. Currently, Abraham Almonte is on the active roster but won’t be able to play in the postseason after he failed a drug test that revealed performance-enhancing drugs. Because of that stipulation, the Indians were in need of eventually making a roster move either internally or externally to fill that void in the event they win their division or earn on the two wild card spots.

A switch-hitter who has played left field and center field in his career, Crisp would join Rajai Davis, Tyler Naquin, Lonnie Chisenhall and Brandon Guyer in the outfield.

Crisp spent four seasons in Cleveland before being traded in 2005 to the Boston Red Sox along with David Riske and Josh Bard for a package that included Andy Marte, Kelly Shoppach and Guillermo Mota.

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Michael Brantley, in a sling, doesn’t think he, Indians mishandled rehab ‘at all’

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 30, 2016

The visual representation of Michael Brantley’s lost season has now taken the form of a black sling, the one holding up his right arm, the one that he’ll wear for six weeks before getting ready for next season.

His attempt to return to the Indians’ lineup this season was ended on Aug. 15, when he underwent surgery in Dallas to address bicep tendinitis. It ended a long, frustrating season of recovery from offseason shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.

Brantley has been back in the clubhouse this week sporting the black sling he expects to wear for six weeks. He was given a timeline of four months to recover from the surgery completely.

“It was tough, but at the same time, I knew I did everything in my power to get back this year,” Brantley said. “I tried multiple times, as we all know. It just didn't work out for me. So, I kind of had to accept the hand that I was dealt and go from there.”

Brantley’s original timetable from his November surgery put his return around early May. Instead, he’ll end 2016 with just 11 games played. Despite the setbacks, an outpatient procedure and eventually the second surgery, Brantley doesn’t think his rehab was mishandled.

“Not at all. I feel like I did everything in my power and so did the Cleveland organization,” he said. “I felt great at times, and then at times I didn't feel so well. It's something that just happened. I'm not happy that it happened. I wanted to be out there and playing with my team, of course. At the same time, this is the cards that I was dealt. I understand that. But, I did everything within this organization that they asked me to do, and I know I gave it my all, myself. So, I don't think it was mishandled at all.”

Brantley’s goal is to be completely ready to go when spring camp opens in Goodyear, Ariz. in February. It’s one of the reason he and the Indians didn’t wait to get the surgery once it was determined it was needed.

“You just have extra time now. I know it's a four-month rehab, but at the same time, I have a little bit of extra just in case,” he said. “I don't have to rush it or anything to get back. My main goal is, when I come into spring training day one, I don't have any limited abilities. I want to be able to play from the time they say, 'Play ball.' The first day I get there, I don't want [any] restrictions at all, and just have a normal, easy camp going into it, so I can get built up like I normally do. I think it's going to be very important to do it that way.”

He’ll essentially be a spectator as the Indians continue their run to the postseason and, possibly, try to advance deep into October. It’s turned Brantley, as he says, into a “Superfan,” someone who’s there as a cheerleader and a reference when needed. It’s now his role on the 2016 Indians.

“I still feel like I'm almost there in the game sometimes, but I'm rooting from the couch when they're on the road trip and I'm not being able to be there for them,” he said. “I just turn into basically a superfan. But that's all right, because I get the chance to talk with them, text with them, still be in this locker room and be in this atmosphere, and just do anything I can to help a young guy with any questions they have, or anything. I'm here for them.”

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Indians 1, Twins 0: Ryan Lewis’ 18 Walk-Off Thoughts on Jason Kipnis, walk-offs, Andrew Miller

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 30, 2016

Here are 18 Walk-Off Thoughts after the Indians’ 1-0 walk-off win against the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.

1. The attendance at Indians games has been one of the hot-button issues for a long time. The fans who have been at Progressive Field recently have been treated well.

2. On Monday night, the Indians completed their third walk-off win in the last five home games. Four of those five games have included an Indians game-winning hit in the eighth-inning or later.    

3. Jason Kipnis won Monday’s game with a walk-off single to left-center field in the 10th inning to score Chris Gimenez, who earlier singled after not being able to get a bunt down.

4. Kipnis then back-pedaled into center field as Mike Napoli and Tyler Naquin led the group to give the ceremonial pummeling, as is tradition.

More: Indians place Danny Salazar on paternity list

5. Said Kipnis, laughing, “It probably wasn't my best idea to keep screaming 'You guys can't bring me down' to the rest of them.”

6. It was the seventh game out of their last eight in which the Indians scored one or zero runs, including their 2-5 road trip. This time, it didn’t matter.

7. Said Kipnis, “First off, you have to give our pitching staff credit, starting with Trevor and the bullpen took it from there. Any time it takes one run to win a game, that goes straight to the pitching staff, who deserves the credit. We know, as an offense, we have to do better, but when all it takes is one and we were able to come through with a win tonight still, if we have to win 1-0 games, we'll win 1-0 games. We'll take it.”



8. The Indians are still the only team in baseball to not lose four straight games at any point this season. A big reason for that has been the starting rotation. Another reason, though, has been a consistent offense, the likes of which the Indians haven’t enjoyed recently. The last week or so, the Indians’ lineup has gone through its worst slump of the season, with only one 12-run outburst separating eight games of one-run-or-worse baseball.

9. One concern when a lineup begins to struggle is that it’ll also press, with hitters trying to hit three-run home runs every time up to bat. It also might have played a small role in Francisco Lindor trying for third base and making the final out to end the eighth inning, a no-no in baseball.  Kipnis hopes a walk-off win has the opposite effect.

10. Said Kipnis, “Hopefully a lot. At this time, it's nice to get a win in any form. Hopefully the more wins we get, the more relaxed we can be. Not to say guys are pressing, but guys are still trying to find the adjustments that are working. We know there are ups and downs. It wouldn't be a bad idea if we could get on a hot stretch in the last month of the season. That's when you want to be hot, going in there. That's the best time.”

More: Corey Kluber in the middle of a crowded AL Cy Young race

11. Trevor Bauer tossed six scoreless innings, Andrew Miller worked himself out of trouble with a nasty slider that led Brian Dozier to crumbling to the ground as he swung, Bryan Shaw finished the eighth, Cody Allen recorded five outs and Zach McAllister recorded the biggest out of the night with the bases loaded in the 10th inning after Allen lost his command a bit as his pitch-count rose into the high 30s.

12. Bauer has now received one or fewer runs of support in his last three starts and has a 2.45 ERA in his last five starts. He’s joined Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco in leading the Indians’ rotation while Danny Salazar has worked his way back from the disabled list and Josh Tomlin has struggled through August.

13. Miller continued his run of making hitters look silly, which isn’t a word often used to describe professional baseball outcomes. In the seventh, he struck out Brian Dozier with another back-door slider, sending Dozier to the ground and a genuine look of anguish on his face. He did the same thing to Khris Davis to end the game on Aug. 22. He's been as advertised in Cleveland.

14. Said Kipnis, “We've seen it before, with Khris Davis in Oakland, go down the list. He goes in with that slider to righties. The ball comes in to their back legs. It's a wipeout slider, a nasty pitch and I love watching it from second base. It's a much better perspective than at the plate. Usually I watch it as it goes by my bat and then I walk with my head down back to the dugout.”

15. Cody Allen worked into trouble in the ninth. Indians manager Terry Francona said afterward he was worried he left Allen in too long.

16. Said Francona, “That’s a lot to ask of somebody.”

17. Then came McAllister, who fell behind 2-0 to Max Kepler but recorded to induce a fly out. McAllister has had an up-down-season. Getting Allen out of that jam is one of his better outings this season, albeit with only one batter faced.

18. Said McAllister, “It’s great. [Allen has] done that for us numerous times. He’s been put in situation that are challenging to come in and be successful and he’s done it. To do that for him is definitely a good feeling.”

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Jason Kipnis walk-off single lifts Indians to 1-0 win against Minnesota Twins in 10 innings

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 29, 2016

For Indians fans who have been regularly attending home games lately, the thrilling, walk-off win has simply become the norm.

After nine innings of offensive shortcomings, the Indians broke through in the bottom of the 10th to down the Minnesota Twins 1-0 Monday night in extra innings.

Facing Brandon Kintzler, Abraham Almonte opened the inning with a drag bunt single. Chris Gimenez failed to get a sacrifice bunt down but made it up for it by hitting a single into right field, putting the winning run on second. Rajai Davis also failed to get bunt down and then grounded to third, where Miguel Sano tagged Almonte for the first out but couldn’t beat Davis to the bag.

That opened the door for Jason Kipnis, who roped a single into left-center field to win it, sealing the Indians’ eighth walk-off win of the season.

It was the third walk-off win for the Indians in their last five home games and the fourth game out of those five to be won in the eighth inning or later, continuing the recent magic at Progressive Field.

For the Indians, it was the seventh game in their last eight in which they scored one or zero runs, dating back to their 2-5 road trip. Monday night, Trevor Bauer, Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen picked up the slack, combining to throw 10 scoreless innings.

Bauer had a quality outing, throwing six scoreless innings while allowing five hits and striking out four. It was his best outing since Aug. 9, when he held the Washington Nationals scoreless over 6 1/3 innings pitched.

As Danny Salazar has worked his way back from the disabled list and Josh Tomlin struggled through a tough August, Bauer has joined American League Cy Young contender Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco in carrying the Indians’ rotation into the latter stretch of the regular season.

Bauer received some defensive help. With two outs and two strikes on Brian Dozier, Baur thought he had delivered strike three, a fastball at the belt, but didn’t get the call. Dozier on the next pitch ripped a single into right-center field but headed for second, trying to stretch it into a double, and was thrown out by Davis.

In the sixth, Jason Kipnis made one of the best plays of his season, a diving stop to his left to get Joe Mauer at first. Davis later added to the solid night defensively with a diving catch to rob Sano of a single and end the top of the eighth inning.

Miller relieved Bauer to open the seventh and worked into some trouble, as two singles put runners on the corners with two outs. Miller then made Brian Dozier look silly, striking him out with his trademark slider. Dozier not only badly missed it but crumpled to the ground trying to make contact. Miller’s slider also did something similar to Oakland’s Khris Davis to end the Indians’ 1-0 win against the A’s on Aug. 22.

The Indians entered Monday’s game coming off a 2-5 road trip in which they scored one or zero runs in six of the seven games, the poorest offensive stretch of an otherwise productive season.

Francisco Lindor broke one of baseball’s unwritten rules in the eighth. With two outs and Lindor on first, Mike Napoli singled to right field. But Lindor tried to advance to third and was thrown out by Max Kepler to end the inning instead of giving Carlos Santana an at-bat with the go-ahead run in scoring position.

Allen allowed one hit in the ninth and then ran into trouble in the 10th, allowing a single and walking two to load the bases with two outs. Zach McAllister entered the game in what was then the biggest at-bat of the night against Max Kepler. After a foul-ball-laced duel, McAllister eventually induced Kepler to fly out to center field to end the inning.

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Indians place SP Danny Salazar on Paternity List; Indians, RubberDucks extend partnership

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 29, 2016

The Indians on Monday placed starting pitcher Danny Salazar on Major League Baseball’s Paternity List and recalled relief pitcher Shawn Armstrong from Triple-A Columbus.

Salazar is able to remain on that list for three days, meaning he’ll still make his regularly scheduled start against the Miami Marlins during the Indians’ upcoming weekend series.

“They’re in town and I think it’s supposed to be [Monday],” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “So, Armstrong is here to help our bullpen. And Danny will just fall right into his next start.”

Salazar recently tossed the first strong outing since returning from the disabled list with elbow inflammation, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out 10 in 5 /3 innings pitched in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Texas Rangers. After two tough starts in which he was hit hard early, Salazar’s start gave the Indians optimism heading into September that he’s bounced back from his short stint on the disabled list.

Four more years

The Indians and the RubberDucks extended their partnership on Monday, agreeing to a four-year player development contract extension that will keep the club’s Double-A affiliate in Akron through the 2020 season.

“[RubberDucks owner and CEO] Ken Babby and his team have gone over the top in making Akron a top-of-the-line facility for our players, our staff and the tremendous fans who come to see them play,” said Indians director of player development Carter Hawkins in a release. “It has truly been a partnership, so extending our relationship with the RubberDucks was an easy decision. We couldn’t be more excited to continue the relationship with the team and the city of Akron, and look forward to many years of championship-caliber baseball at Canal Park.”

The RubberDucks’ franchise has been the Double-A affiliate for the Indians since 1989. They’ve played their home games at Canal Park since 1997, formerly as the Aeros.

“We are thrilled to continue our working partnership with the Cleveland Indians,” said RubberDucks general manager Jim Pfander in a release. “The Indians are a first-class organization with a deep, emotional connection with the people of Northeast Ohio. We can’t wait to watch the next wave of Indians superstars to come through Canal Park during the next four seasons.”

Getting there

Catcher Yan Gomes’ next step in his rehab from a separated shoulder could be to enter a rehab appearance as the designated hitter. But he’s not quite ready to make that step yet.

Gomes has spent time working on his range of motion with his shoulder, which has meant his throwing motion is the last aspect to recover.

“He’s hitting on the field, he’s doing all that stuff and he continues to try to get stronger, especially with his throwing,” Francona said. “Because the hitting has come quicker than the throwing, which I think makes sense. So just let him continue to do what he’s doing and at some point, when he’s ready to maybe go out and DH, that could come first and he could still continue to work on his throwing.”

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Danny Salazar roughed up again in 9-1 loss to Oakland A’s

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 24, 2016

Danny Salazar was again shaky in his second start after returning from the disabled list in a 9-1 loss to the Oakland A’s Tuesday night.

Salazar was tagged for three runs in the first inning, just like in his initial start after being activated, this time via a three-run home run off the bat of Khris Davis. He finished after four innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and three walks.

Salazar has now allowed nine runs in five innings in those two outings, certainly not alleviating any concerns after he was sent to the DL with elbow inflammation. Following his first start, he had to complete his work in the bullpen to get lengthened out.

The Indians, meanwhile, struggled to hit A’s starter Sean Manaea, who gave up one run in seven innings pitched.

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Indians’ Carlos Carrasco, Andrew Miller shut out A’s in 1-0 win

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 23, 2016

Indians pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Andrew Miller were overpowering, and Carlos Santana provided the only offense of the night in a 1-0 win against the Oakland A’s.

Carrasco (9-6, 3.12 ERA) threw eight scoreless innings, allowing only four hits and striking out nine. After Cody Allen needed 30 pitches to get the save in Sunday’s win against the Toronto Blue Jays, Andrew Miller took the mound in the ninth and struck out the side.

Still in a 0-0 deadlock in the eighth, Santana belted a solo home run just inside the right-field foul pole. It was his 27th of the season, which ties his career high (2011, 2014).

The Indians extended their lead in the American League Central to 7.5 games, as the Detroit Tigers were off on Monday.

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Indians 3, Blue Jays 2: Ryan Lewis’ 21 Walk-Off Thoughts on Jose Ramirez, Michael Clevinger

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 21, 2016

Here are 21 Walk-Off Thoughts on the Indians’ 3-2 win against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

1. What an ending to the homestand this was for the Indians and, really, anyone who’s a fan of great baseball?

2. Jose Ramirez, who’s come through so often this season, did it again, hitting a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat the Blue Jays and mark the third game in the last four with late-game heroics.

3. After the walk-off wins on Thursday and Friday—Friday especially—Sunday’s finish was as predictable as it was unbelievable.

4. Said Corey Kluber, who delivered another strong outing on Sunday, “I’m glad that he continually keeps being the guy coming up in those spots. For whatever reason, he’s able to come through in those spots more often than not. Right now, I think there’s nobody else we’d rather have up in that situation.”



5. Ramirez has a .381 average with runners in scoring position this year, the third-highest mark in the majors. And he hit two of the Indians’ biggest home runs of the season in the last three days.  Francisco Lindor, who was on first for Ramirez’s blast, sees a different hitter when a runner is on second or the game is on the line.

6. Said Lindor, “The first day, I wanted Santana to get to on base because I had a feeling Ramirez was going to do something special. When someone’s on second base, Ramirez turns into a whole different hitter. It happened and I’m like, ‘Oh, wow.’ Today he was 0-for-3. I thought he was going to take the first pitch because it’s a lefty he hasn’t hit all day. I saw his swing, as soon as he hit that ball, I’m like, ‘Oh, wow.’ It’s unreal. It’s fun to watch him. It makes me happy, puts a smile on my face every time I know he’s going to be playing.”

7. Ramirez has without question been one of the more valuable members of the roster this entire season. This last homestand, he repeatedly came through when they needed him most. Not bad for a player who, at the beginning of the year, most thought would just end up as a nice utility guy off the bench. He’s been right in the middle of a lot of the Indians’ success in 2016.

8. If not for Michael Clevinger, that home run might not have meant nearly as much. Clevinger entered in a situation that can’t be too far from a worst-case scenario for a rookie pitcher, especially one that’s been converted, for now, to the bullpen. Clevinger relieved Kluber with the bases loaded and two outs gone in the seventh inning and Edwin Encarnacion, an MVP candidate, at the plate, with the Indians trying to keep it a one-run game.

More: Andrew Miller handling flexible role, high-leverage situations

9. And it included some mid-at-bat confusion. As Clevinger became set, Encarnacion raised his hand to ask for time and was granted it. Clevinger then reset and with home plate umpire Ramon De Jesus’ arms still held up, indicating time, Clevinger was called for a balk. Ryan Goins, at third, trotted home and Indians manager Terry Francona came out to ask for an explanation. He didn’t get a good one.

10. Said Francona, “They called a balk, but thank goodness there was a timeout. I just wanted to find out why he called it. It was the fifth pitch. I was getting frustrated because the answers I was getting were wrong. I just wanted to make sure that something didn't happen that shouldn't on the next pitch.”

11. Eventually, Goins was sent back to third base. And on the next pitch, Clevinger struck out Encarnacion with a fastball low and away, inciting a fist-pump from Roberto Perez.

12. Said Clevinger, “It definitely brought intensity to a new level plus it has been like a playoff atmosphere for this whole series. Then with the runners on base, I just tried to stay as locked in as a could.”

13. Ramirez’s home run was the biggest moment of the game. But without Clevinger’s, it might not have mattered.

14. Said Francona, “He kept his composure. There was a lot going on, with the balk call, the timeout, the discussions about it. He kept his composure. That probably wouldn't be the first situation I'd pick for him coming in in relief. I just thought Kluber had gone far enough. He had two quick outs and then he couldn't get that last out. I didn't feel good about him facing another hitter. But sometimes when you do that, now Clevinger feels good. I think he already did, but he feels better. Every experience he gets is going to help him.”

More: Indians' inner fight on display with stretch of comebacks, walk-off wins

15. The Indians trailed until Ramirez’s home run in the eighth. On Friday, they trailed until the moment Naquin slide across home.

16. Joked Francona, “We won two out of three and I think we had the lead for, like, 10 minutes.”

17. This series between the Indians and Blue Jays was wild. It was also a lot of fun in the stands. There were tons of Blue Jays fans at each game, chanting back and forth with the Indians’ fans. It created somewhat of a playoff atmosphere for two teams that could meet in October.

18. Said Francona, “I think it gives everybody [an idea of what a playoff atmosphere is like], myself included. There's no feeling that I can think of like that. Your heart is in your throat, but you like it. It's agony, but it's also awesome. That's why we do this. Our young guys have never flinched, so I think that they look like they’re having the time of their life. They should.”

19. Lindor wants more, saying, “I’ve never played in the playoffs up here. But if this is what the playoffs feels like, I ask the Lord to give me an opportunity to play in it every single year. Because it was pretty fun.”

20. The Indians went 8-3 this homestand, which included six come-from-behind wins and the franchise’s first inside-the-park walk-off home run in roughly a century. And they lead their division by seven games.

21. The Indians right now are having a blast, and Cleveland fans certainly had a blast this homestand. Heading into late August and September, the Indians keep coming through when the time is right.

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Jose Ramirez, Indians find late-game magic again, rally to beat Toronto Blue Jays 3-2

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 21, 2016

The Indians have had something magical going on at Progressive Field lately.

Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Jose Ramirez belted a two-run home run to the Home Run Porch in left field, lifting the Indians to a 3-2 win against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon.

It was third game out of the last four with late-game heroics for the Indians. Ramirez also hit a game-tying home run in Friday’s game, which came just before Tyler Naquin’s inside-the-park walk-off home run.

“We won two out of three and I think we had the lead for, like, 10 minutes,” Indians manager Terry Francona joked.

For Ramirez, who’s racked up clutch hits all season, this was one of his biggest after the Indians trailed all day, struggling to handle Marcus Stroman.

The Blue Jays finally relented to Cecil in the eighth. Francisco Lindor reached on a single before Ramirez came away with the decisive blow.

“I thought he was going to take the first pitch because it’s a lefty he hasn’t hit all day,” Lindor said. “I saw his swing, as soon as he hit that ball, I’m like, ‘Oh, wow.’ It’s unreal. It’s fun to watch him. It makes me happy, puts a smile on my face every time I know he’s going to be playing.”

Cody Allen entered in the ninth and, after walking two with two outs, shut the door for his 24th save of the season on his 29th pitch of the inning, improving the Indians to 71-51 overall and 8-3 during their 11-game homestand.

Corey Kluber delivered another strong outing, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings pitched.

He left the game with the Blue Jays up 2-1 and the bases loaded and two out. Michael Clevinger entered into tough situation, facing slugger Edwin Encarnacion and trying to keep it a one-run game.

Mid-way through the at-bat, Clevinger was called for a walk, which would have brought a run home. Indians manager Terry Francona came out to argue, as Encarnacion had raised his hand for and been granted time before the call. Ryan Goins was ordered to go back to third base. On the next pitch, Clevinger struck out Encarnacion looking, inciting a fist pump from catcher Roberto Perez.

Still a one-run game, Clevinger kept the door open for Ramirez’s game-winning home run.

“It was awesome,” Kluber said. “That was a big spot in the game. Obviously he didn’t have anywhere to put ‘em. He executed some awesome pitches right there.”

The Indians and Blue Jays finished a three-game series that included a lively crowd, mixed with fans from both teams. It could also be a potential playoff matchup, creating an electric atmosphere.

“I think it gives everybody [an idea of what a playoff atmosphere is like], myself included,” Francona said. “There's no feeling that I can think of like that. Your heart is in your throat, but you like it. It's agony, but it's also awesome. That's why we do this. Our young guys have never flinched, so I think that they look like they’re having the time of their life. They should.”

Lindor is ready for more.

“I’ve never played in the playoffs up here,” he said. “But if this is what the playoffs feels like, I ask the Lord to give me an opportunity to play in it every single year. Because it was pretty fun.”

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Blue Jays 6, Indians 5: Ryan Lewis’ 14 Walk-Off Thoughts on Josh Tomlin, Lonnie Chisenhall

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 20, 2016

Here are 14 Walk-Off Thoughts after the Indians’ 6-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays Saturday night.

1. On Opening Day, not many would have thought you could say that the Indians need the Josh Tomlin of the first half to re-emerge, but they’re in that position now.

2. For a stretch, Tomlin looked to be putting together an All-Star-caliber resume. But over his last four starts, he’s struggled, owning a 10.02 ERA in that stretch. On Saturday, he gave up six home runs, which included three home runs.

3. Said Indians manager Terry Francona, “First two runs were on the swinging bunt. Then they got a couple balls up and hit them good to right-center. Both went out. He had a clean fourth, we fought back and then he gave up the solo. That one hurt. Even though we had a lot of game left because both bullpens did a good job. It was a tough night for him to pitch because he’s a fly-ball pitcher. They’re a very good hitting team and he probably didn’t get the ball in as much as he would’ve liked.”

4. After the Indians tied it, Tomlin immediately give up a solo home run to Edwin Encarnacion, giving the Blue Jays a 6-5 advantage. As he often has, Tomlin took credit for the loss.

5. Said Tomlin, “It’s very disappointing. Because the offense puts up a fight, they tie the game back up and make it a game. For me to go out there after that big inning and give up a home run to the first batter that inning. It erased that five-run inning which stinks. But I have got to do a better job of limiting the damage the previous innings. … They fought back and made it a game. For them to get that much adrenaline, to get the momentum in your dugout and then the first guy you faced you give up a home run. It knocks everyone down a little bit and I understand that. Obviously, wasn’t trying to do that but I have to execute a pitch there and get the lead guy out. I just didn’t do it and it ended up costing us a game.”



6. Since returning from the disabled list in the second half of the 2015 season, Tomlin has been one of the more consistent and productive players on the club, bringing a level of reliability rare for the No. 5 spot a team’s starting rotation. Lately, he’s been a bit shaky.

7. After the Indians’ Walk-Off wins on Thursday and Friday, it really felt like it wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of who would be the one to hit the game-tying and then game-winning home runs in the bottom of the ninth.

8. Tyler Naquin won Thursday’s game with a walk-off sacrifice fly. Then he won Friday’s game with a walk-off inside-the-park-home run, which followed Jose Ramirez’s game-tying home run.

More: A look at Tyler Naquin's inside-the-park walk-off home run and an improbable ninth inning

9. On Saturday, the Indians’ magic came in the fourth inning. Trailing 5-0, they put together a five-run fourth against Aaron Sanchez, capped by Lonnie Chisenhall’s three-run home run to tie it.

10. Chisenhall’s home run came on a 10-pitch the included him recovering after chasing a curveball. It ended with his eighth home run of the season.

11. Said Chisenhall, “After chasing early, it was nice to kind of settle down there. I don’t know how many pitches I saw. Being able to see that many pitches in a row, I was able to calm down. It was a good swing. It was nice to come back right there and answer back after they put up a few runs and put us in a good spot.”

More: Andrew Miller handling flexible role, high-leverage situations

12. To Chisenhall, that fight in the team has always been there, saying, “Since I’ve been here, we’ve had it. Even two years ago, three years ago when we weren’t even it it, we were still coming back in games and not giving up. That’s something to have. You don’t want to roll over, especially when you’re trying to pick up games or extend a lead or just make your organization proud. You go out there and you fight until the ninth and then come back and get them tomorrow.”

13. Chisenhall probably hasn’t gotten enough credit for the season he’s having, hitting .298 with eight home runs and 48 RBI. He also now has seven games with at least three RBI, the most on the team. He says it’s his mindset, and him doing a better job of transitioning from game to game.

14. Said Chisenhall, “Even-keel. Not putting too much thought into a good day or a bad day. So 0-for-4 with four K’s, you understand what happened and try to be positive and move on to the next day and not let bad things carry over and let the good things get in the way.”http://www.ohio.com/blogs/cleveland-indians/cleveland-indians-1.282227/indians-rally-for-five-run-fourth-inning-but-fall-short-6-5-to-toronto-blue-jays-1.706151

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Indians rally for five-run fourth inning but fall short 6-5 to Toronto Blue Jays

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 20, 2016

The Indians found some come-from-behind magic with a five-run inning but didn’t have enough it Saturday night, falling to the Toronto Blue Jays 6-5 on the heels of back-to-back walk-off wins.

Josh Tomlin’s poor stretch continued Saturday night, putting the Indians in an early 5-0 hole and eventually giving up the decisive home run.

After allowing seven earned runs in two of his three previous starts, Tomlin (11-7, 4.39 ERA) was hit for six earned runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. He also struck out five. In his last four starts combined, Tomlin has carried a 10.02 ERA.

The Blue Jays (70-53) took a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Darwin Barney singled and Ryan Goins doubled, putting two runners in scoring position. Devon Travis hit a soft grounder to third base. Trying to make a play, Jose Ramirez attempted a bare-handed play but missed. Barney easily scored, and with the ball trickling away behind Ramirez, Goins turned for home and scored as well.

Tomlin, always a pitcher susceptible to home runs, gave up two in the third inning. First, Russell Martin hit his second home run of the series, a solo shot. Melvin Upton later clubbed a two-run home run to center field, making it 5-0.

After consecutive nights of wild comebacks and walk-off victories, the Indians (70-51) found some magic in the fourth, still trailing by five against starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez. A walk, an error on Travis and a single by Francisco Lindor loaded the bases with nobody out. Mike Napoli swung for the seats but had to settle for a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Carlos Santana.

Jose Ramirez, still proving to be among the best hitters with runners in scoring position in baseball, singled up the middle to cut the Blue Jays’ lead to 5-2. Then, the big one: Lonnie Chisenhall turned on a Sanchez fastball, sending it to several rows deep in right field for a game-tying three-run home run, capping a five-run fourth inning.

But, it was short lived. To open the fifth inning, Edwin Encarnacion crushed a Tomlin offering three-fourths of the way up the bleachers in left field, making it 6-5.

This time, the Indians didn’t have an answer. A 1-2-3 seventh inning was followed with an eighth inning that ended on a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Mike Napoil.

In the ninth, facing Roberto Osuna for the second straight night, the Indians this time couldn’t come up with the big hit. Ramirez flew out, Chisenhall struck out and Tyler Naquin, the hero from the previous two games, grounded out to end it.

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Indians 3, Blue Jays 2: Ryan Lewis’ 18 Walk-Off Thoughts on Tyler Naquin and an improbable ending

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 20, 2016

Here are 18 Walk-Off Thoughts on the Indians’ 3-2 win against the Toronto Blue Jays Friday night.

1. There’s a good chance you’ll never this again—and of course, LeBron was there.

2. Down 2-1 with one out in the bottom of the ninth against the very good closer (Roberto Osuna) of a first-place team, the it looked like the Indians would go quietly into the night. Two swings later, it was bedlam.

3. First, Jose Ramirez drilled a solo home run to right field to tie it 2-2. Ramirez has been one of the best clutch hitters in baseball this season, bar none. Yes, it’s not a sustainable stat, and maybe scoff at RISP numbers. But so far this year, he’s been among the best, and that home run was clutch enough, to at least send it into extra innings.

4. Then, one of the craziest endings you’ll ever see to a baseball game. Tyler Naquin hit a high shot to deep right field that hit off the wall. It got away from right fielder Michael Saunders, trickling away. Center fielder Melvin Upton fielded it as Naquin neared third but fell down. Naquin turned to home and slid head-first ahead of the throw for a walk-off inside-the-park home run.

5. Naquin immediately sprung up and threw up a traditional Metal, “Rock-on” symbol with his hand, index and pinkie fingers extended. You know the one. It’ll be plastered around the clubhouse and park for a long time, and the Indians’ Twitter account (which does a fantastic job with everything, by the way) will surely use it.  

6. Said Naquin, “Always. Just rockin' out. That was a pretty cool moment, so I'm gonna get into it.”

7. What was he thinking when he got the sign to turn for home? “Keep running. Don't fall. I almost fell down there for a second. Just keep on running. Just keep on running. A hard slide. Beat the ball.”



8. Many Indians players and coaches thought it was gone off the bat, and had already stepped onto the warning track in front of the dugout. They had to retreat back, and then when Naquin turned for home, many of them sprinted to the plate with him.

9. Naquin at least had the idea of turning for home in his head, even as he rounded first, saying, “I was just thinking after I hit it, I took a couple steps out of the box and just pictured it kicking off the wall. I said, 'I have a chance to score if it kicks far enough.' And sure enough, it did.”

10. Not including a World Series winner or anything of that nature, it’s a pretty wild time to be a third base coach. Once Upton fell, Mike Sarbaugh could wave him home.

11. Said Sarbaugh, “Initially, I thought it was out. And then when it hit the wall, I saw that Upton was pretty far away from it backing up. And when he got to it, I thought we would have to stop him. But as soon as he fell, I thought we had a good chance of scoring. Just good job on Tyler’s part just making sure he kept running. That was a great way to win the game, that’s for sure. … When he’s coming around third, he’s looking at me. He did slow down a little bit, so to get him back going, he did a great job of keeping it. That was a lot of fun. Especially to end up on the good side.”

More: Indians, Paul Dolan add John Sherman as vice chairman, minority investor

12. Naquin also won Thursday night’s game with a walk-off sacrifice fly. Both games began with the Indians’ offense sputtering and them being down at least two runs for most of the night. Both ended with comebacks. It’s a testament to the resiliency of this team.

13. Indians manager Terry Francona didn’t need these games to know that, though. Said Francona, “I think I already know. Just because some nights when you don’t win, it doesn’t mean—I think the guys play until it’s time to go home. We’ve done that all year. It’s one of our qualities that I admire about our guys. I say it a lot of times when we come in here after a tough loss, we can win some of those games. Tonight, we did. They’re hard games to win, but every once in a while, you might win one of those.”

14. It also means Naquin has received two nights’ worth of the pummeling that follows a game-winning hit. Said Naquin, “No, man. I love 'em. Keep those coming. I'd actually like to win by five or 10 so we don't have to do that.”

15. The Indians have shown a rare confidence and ability to never be out of a game. It’s something that can’t be quantified or valued, but it’s been evident for most of the season and especially so lately.

16. The Indians never think they’re out of it. Said Trevor Bauer, “Mostly it’s just a confidence thing, though. Everybody believes we’re going to win. There wasn’t a second in that game where I’d feel like anybody thought we were going to lose, even though we were down the whole game. Confidence is a big thing. … There was never a second that I thought we were going to lose the game. That was a playoff atmosphere against a playoff-caliber team. That’s fun. Those games are fun. That’s what you play baseball for, games like that.”

17. The last walk-off inside-the-park home run in baseball was on May 25, 2013, when the San Francisco Giants’ Angel Pagan did it to beat the Colorado Rockies. The last time an Indians player did it was Braggo Roth on Aug. 13, 1916, to beat the St. Louis Browns, nearly 100 years to the day. And the Indians’ on Friday night included a game-tying home run just seconds before.

18. Don’t ever say baseball is boring. That was wild.

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Tyler Naquin inside-the-park home run, back-to-back home runs lift Indians to 3-2 win against TOR

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 19, 2016

With LeBron James in the house, anything is possible. And Friday night, he and the 30,000-plus Indians fans in attendance saw something they’ll likely never see again.

The Indians, trailing 2-1 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, hit back-to-back home runs to beat the first-place Toronto Blue Jays 3-2, and it included one of the wildest endings possible to any baseball game.

With one out and Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna (2-2, 2.17 ERA) on the mound, Jose Ramirez slammed a solo home run to right field to tie it 2-2.

Tyler Naquin, who won Thursday’s game with a walk-off sacrifice fly, drove a ball off the right-field wall that got away from the Blue Jays’ outfielders. Center fielder Melvin Upton eventually fielded it but slipped before throwing it into the infield. Naquin made the turn at third and came home, sliding head-first for a walk-off inside-the-park home run. Many of the Indians’ players in the dugout ran with him and met Naquin at the plate in a crazed mob.

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Indians, Paul Dolan add John Sherman as minority investor, partner

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 19, 2016

The Indians on Friday announced that John Sherman, a Missouri-based entrepreneur, has been added as a minority investor and vice chairman.

Indians CEO and owner Paul Dolan has been seeking a minority partner for roughly the last year in part to help with the financial burden of owning the team and potentially increase salaries. Per a report from last year, Dolan was shopping roughly 30 percent of the team.

It’s still unclear what Sherman paid for his stake or what his ownership percentage will be. It’s also unclear exactly what effect Sherman will have on future payrolls.

“I am pleased to conclude the process and am thrilled to be partnering with John Sherman,” Dolan said via a release. “John has an impressive business track record and shares the community oriented values that we believe in. I am eager to have John join our ownership group.”

Sherman, based in Kansas City, is credited with developing two successful businesses, LPG Services Group and Inergy L.P.

“It’s an exciting time to be joining the Indians organization and ownership group,” Sherman said via a release. “It’s a strong, storied franchise with a great deal of promise this year and beyond. I look forward to working closely with Paul and helping him further the organization and team in any way that I can.”

Hindsight

As Danny Salazar rehabbed from elbow inflammation, the Indians elected to have him throw a couple of bullpen sessions but decided he didn’t need a rehab appearance in the minors. Rather, he started Thursday’s game against the Chicago White Sox and lasted only one inning, walking three and allowing three innings.

When asked if it was fair to say Salazar did need a rehab outing after all, Francona said it was a fair question to ask.

“And maybe we should have,” Francona said. “I don’t think Danny wanted to and that didn’t sway it, but I think we thought with the two weeks down and his bullpen was really good, but it’s a fair point.”

Salazar then threw a couple of simulated innings in the bullpen. The Indians need Salazar to be lengthened out for his next start.

“Having a [34]-pitch inning and then coming back to start five days later, I don’t know if we were going to be in much better shape than we were yesterday,” Francona said. “So at least he has a certain number of pitches under his belt. I know the last 30 weren’t under game [conditions], or the last 40, but it was still up and down and he got to have some repetition.”

Revolving door

The Indians on Friday called up relief pitcher Shawn Armstrong and demoted Kyle Crockett to Triple-A Columbus.

Though, it’s not a demotion for Crockett based on his performance. The Indians were going to need to make a roster move on Saturday when Josh Tomlin returns from the family medical emergency list, and Crockett would have been unavailable to throw Friday night.

It’s possible that Armstrong will only be up for one day as bullpen protection and then be sent back down. Though one or both relievers would be recalled when rosters expand on Sept. 1.

“We’ve kind of talked to that group of Crockett and [Austin] Adams and those guys and tried to explain it as much as we can that, when you have a team that’s trying to win, there’s a segment of guys that have options that it can be revolving,” Francona said. “And they’ve handled it really well.”

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Indians 5, White Sox 4: Ryan Lewis’ 14 Walk-Off Thoughts on Tyler Naquin, Danny Salazar, more

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 19, 2016

Here are 14 Walk-Off Thoughts on the Indians’ 5-4 walk-off win against the Chicago White Sox Thursday night.

1. This was one of the Indians’ more improbable wins of the season. It began with Danny Salazar, back from the disabled list, only lasting one inning and allowing three runs, putting both the offense and bullpen in a bind. And it ended with Tyler Naquin’s walk-off sacrifice fly, even though he didn’t start the at-bat.

2. Tied 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth, Abraham Almonte doubled to open the inning. Roberto Perez then tried to bunt, but Jacob Turner’s first pitch hit off catcher Omar Narvaez’s glove and trickled away, allowing Almonte to advance to third. That meant Perez was no longer needed to bunt, so Indians manager Terry Francona called on Tyler Naquin to pinch-hit.

3. Naquin said he’s never been a part of a situation like that but responded, ripping a ball into center field easily deep enough to score Almonte and win the game. It was Naquin’s first walk-off plate appearance.

4. “Just always staying ready. Bottom line, being ready when your name is called,” Naquin said. “I want anybody to walk it off, but I was lucky enough to be able to do it myself. It's all about the opportunity to see the ball up and put a good swing on it.”

5. It was also Naquin’s first time receiving the minor beatdown that follows winning a game like that.

6. “It’s awesome. It's great,” Naquin said of the crowd charging at him. “But I know Nap's heading it, so it's a little scary.”

7. Said Francona, “That’s a heck of a way to start off the ninth inning [by Almonte]. It kind of changes things. Roberto’s going to bunt and then they throw the wild pitch and Tyler Naquin’s been sitting over there by the batting rack for a couple of days ready to hit. And that’s not the easiest thing to do, but we didn’t have to go find him. He was ready, and it showed.”

More: Josh Tomlin expected to return Saturday after tending to family matter

8. It was the Indians’ sixth walk-off win this season. And another good part of it was that Fox Sport’s Andre Knott received the Gatorade shower while interviewing Naquin after the game. Perhaps it was payback after he took out Mustard with a shovel during Wednesday’s race.

9. For Salazar, it was a clear command issue Thursday night. He walked three of the first four batters he faced and then allowed a bases-clearing double off the wall to Justin Morneau. After 34 pitches, Francona had seen enough.

10. After Salazar left the game, he went to the bullpen and threw for several innings. The Indians needed him lengthened out. It certainly means his next start will be more of a question mark. Said Salazar, "I was wild. That’s it. I was feeling great, just couldn’t find my pitch map."



11. Said Francona, “I don’t think it was mechanical. I just think he was rusty. You could tell that right from the very beginning, he couldn’t really find the plate. That was probably almost our worst-case scenario, is throwing that many pitches in the first inning. I was really getting concerned because of things we talked about before the game. So what we did was we sent him out to the bullpen, almost looked like a spring training game, which is not really our goal. But we had to find a way to get him lengthened out. So he went out and threw three more up and downs. Just because we didn’t want the start to go to waste, but we’re trying to win the game, we’re trying to protect him. Fortunately for him it worked out.”

12. It meant the bullpen needed to piece together eight innings of relief. Mike Clevinger led the way, tossing four innings and giving up a run. He also stabilized the middle innings for the Indians and bridged the gap to Dan Otero and then Andrew Miller in the ninth.

13.Said Francona, “First of all, I thought Clev was outstanding. He gave up a couple hits and one was at the end there. He was really good. So that was good. Even when the night starts off bad, you kind of have something to hang you hat on because he really did a good job. And then OT comes in, brought him in because we knew they were going to bunt and can get ground balls, and he did, but one snuck through. But then we kind of kept fighting back.”

14. Clevinger has started to show some positive signs after a couple rough starts earlier in the year. He also will continue to be in a bullpen role, provided Josh Tomlin is able to return by Saturday. Said Clevinger, “It’s getting more comfortable any time I get out there, any time I get a chance to get out there. Just getting in sync with what my plan of attack is, staying within myself, it’s all kind of coming together.”

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Indians win in walk-off fashion despite one inning start from Danny Salazar, beat White Sox 5-4

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 18, 2016

The Indians received only one inning from Danny Salazar but came back to win in walk-off fashion in the ninth, beating the Chicago White Sox 5-4 Thursday night.

Abraham Almonte led off the ninth with a double against White Sox reliever Jacob Turner and advanced to third on a passed ball. Tyler Naquin, who entered the game to pinch hit with a 1-0 count after Roberto Perez no longer needed to bunt, then completed a grinder of a comeback with a sacrifice fly to center field to win it. It’s the Indians’ sixth walk-off win of the season.

It was also one of the Indians’ more unlikely wins this season. Indians starting pitcher Danny Salazar returned from the disabled list on Thursday, but his first outing back didn’t go as planned. Mainly, it didn’t last nearly as long as the Indians had hoped.

Salazar, who was on the DL with elbow inflammation, walked three of the first four batters he faced to load the bases with only one out. He found the strike zone against Justin Morneau, but he drilled a bases-clearing double off the wall in left field to put the White Sox up 3-0 early. Salazar retired the next two batters to end the inning, but already at 34 pitches, Indians manager Terry Francona had seen enough and pulled him from the game.

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White Sox 10, Indians 7: Ryan Lewis’ 17 Walk-Off Thoughts on Cody Allen and one bad ninth inning

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 18, 2016

Here are 17 Walk-Off Thoughts after the Indians’ 10-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.

1. The Indians’ bullpen lately has been among baseball’s best. Wednesday night, though, was a rough one for closer Cody Allen.

2. The Indians entered the ninth leading 7-5. Two singles (including an error on Francisco Lindor) and a walk loaded the bases. Dioner Navarro then blooped a ball into left field that Jose Ramirez got his glove on but couldn’t catch, making it 7-6. Then, the final haymaker: Adam Eaton took a curve ball and crushed it for a grand slam.

3. That’s about as tough of a night as you can have as a closer. The Indians’ Twitter account was probably swarmed with venting fans calling Allen the worst closer in the league. And it was a bad night, one that cost the Indians a win that would have pushed their lead in the AL Central even further.

4. Said Indians manager Terry Francona, “Yeah, we got two infield singles, a walk that you could see the umpire flinch like he almost called it, and then a flair right over third. And he’s not in a good situation. He’s facing a guy that hasn’t put the ball in play yet, gets ahead 0-2 and hung a breaking ball. That was pretty much the ballgame.”

5. To Allen’s credit, he was sitting at his locker waiting for reporters when the clubhouse was opened. “That’s baseball,” he said. “You’ve got to make pitches when you have to. Had a nice opportunity right there to kind of limit what was going on. Didn’t actually think that was a bad pitch to Eaton, he just put a good swing on it. That guy’s a good player. That’s kind of how the inning went.”



6. One of the side effects of having Andrew Miller is that every time Allen or Bryan Shaw make a mistake, “Why wasn’t Miller in the game?” will be the question asked by fans.

7. Francona addressed this in a way recently, saying that he won’t be able to get Miller warmed up every time another pitcher might fall into trouble. You’d “kill” the bullpen over time. Warming up Miller just in case the White Sox get to Eaton in the lineup, and so that he can face one hitter after he’s thrown three times in the last four days, isn’t going to work in the long-term.

8. Francona also said afterward that Miller, who threw two innings Tuesday, wasn’t available anyway.

More: Jason Kipnis putting together consistently productive season

9. To take it a step further, Allen had a 1.19 ERA and 12.19 K/9 in his last 30 games (hat-tip to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com for that one). He had allowed one earned run since the beginning of July. And Shaw has now had 25 scoreless appearances in his last 26. Those two, along with Miller, together have formed a three-headed monster lately. But, they won’t be perfect.

10. Said Allen, “It’s one game. Obviously it was a tough one, but it’s one ballgame. We’ll show up tomorrow ready to play.”

11. Francona would love to use Shaw, Miller and Allen every day. That’s not going to be possible, and repeatedly warming up pitchers who don’t enter the game isn’t going to help matters. That’s the balance managers have to find when handling a bullpen across a 162-game grind. It’s one of the reasons bullpens can shift so much from year-to-year, and why they seem like they can be on shaky ground at times.

12. Lately, the Indians bullpen had been borderline deadly—like when they grabbed a one-run lead against the Angels to overcome a 4-1 deficit they had all day and then didn’t allow another hit the rest of the game. Wednesday was a reminder that eventually, a relief pitcher is going to have to be waiting at his locker, ready to answer questions on a rough night.

13. Relief pitchers often have to deal with short memories, the thinking being that it’s a good thing to forget one bad outing and move on. But when evaluating relief pitchers, the opposite is true. Even though it won’t help cooler heads prevail Wednesday night.

14. Lindor’s error didn’t help matters. If he doesn’t make the throw, it’s possible the Indians get an out on the next play, if they had the force-out at second base available. Instead, it was an infield single.

15. Francona still will take Lindor’s aggressiveness. Said Francona, “Yeah, probably. But again, how many times have we seen him make plays where you don’t want to take his aggressiveness away?”

16. Brandon Guyer was acquired to hit left-handed pitchers but got the starter against a righty on Wednesday and responded, coming away with three singles including a go-ahed two-run single in the fifth. He’s hitting .462 since coming to Cleveland.

17. Said Guyer, “It's always fun, whether it's a righty or lefty, to get out there on the field. I love playing with these guys. It's a fun group of guys. It stinks we lost, though. That's all I can think about right now. But, we'll come back tomorrow and we'll be good.”

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Indians give up five-run ninth, lose 10-7 to Chicago White Sox

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 17, 2016

The Indians traded punches with the Chicago White Sox all night but couldn’t answer their last haymaker, giving up a five-run ninth to fall 10-7.

The Indians entered the bottom of the ninth leading 7-5 with closer Cody Allen on the mound. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out. Dioner Navarro blooped a single into left field that Jose Ramirez got his glove on but couldn’t catch, making it 7-6. Adam Eaton followed by crushing a grand slam to right field, capping the furious comeback.

The Indians made it interesting against White Sox closer David Robertson in the ninth. Mike Napoli walked and Lonnie Chisenhall singled, bringing the tying run to the plate with one out. Robertson, though, struck out Rajai Davis and induced Brandon Guyer to ground out to end the game.

The Indians had answered each rally prior to the ninth, as they were tied three separate times between the second and fifth innings.

Facing White Sox starter Anthony Ranaudo in the second inning, Chisenhall ripped a two-run home run down the right-field line, putting the Indians up 2-0.

After Tim Anderson tied it 2-2 with a two-run home run off the left-field foul pole in the top of the third, Carlos Santana in the bottom half of the inning drilled a solo home run to right field, his 26th of the season, one shy of his career high. Later in the inning Chisenhall added a two-out RBI single to right field to put the Indians on top 4-2.

Once again, the White Sox fought back in their next at-bat. Todd Frazier hit a two-run double off the wall in center field to tie it 4-4. J.B. Shuck then grounded a ball to the right side that went through Jason Kipnis’ legs for an error. Kipnis fired home to keep Frazier from scoring, and Roberto Perez threw to second as Shuck was caught in a rundown. Santana eventually tagged Shuck, but he fell while doing it, allowing Frazier to score and the White Sox to pull ahead 5-4.

Kipnis tied it in the bottom of the fourth with a sacrifice fly that followed singles by Guyer and Santana.

Guyer, who was acquired primarily because of his ability to hit left-handed pitching, received the start despite a right-hander on the mound and responded well. Against reliever Michael Ynoa in the fifth, Guyer delivered a two-out, two-run single to center field to give the Indians a 7-5 advantage. It was Guyer’s third hit of the night, all against right-handers, after he entered the game hitting just .204 against them (.358 against left-handers). The Indians needed one more from him in the ninth.

Carrasco finished with four earned runs allowed on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings pitched. Kyle Crockett finished the seventh inning and Bryan Shaw induced Jose Abreu to ground into an inning-ending double play to end the eighth, giving him 25 scoreless appearances in his last 26.

It looked to be yet another positive, smooth night for the Indians as they entered the later innings with the lead. That was until Eaton’s grand slam, and until a bullpen that had been among baseball’s best in recent weeks was roughed up for one of its worst nights of the year.

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Indians 3, White Sox 1: Ryan Lewis’ 17 Walk-Off Thoughts on Corey Kluber, Andrew Miller, more

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 17, 2016

Here are 17 Walk-Off Thoughts on the Indians’ 3-1 win against the Chicago White Sox Tuesday night.

1. Corey Kluber continues to turn in terrific performances. Kluber allowed one run and seven hits in six innings and struck out seven Tuesday night.

2. He’s now won four consecutive starts and his last five decisions over his lsat seven starts. In that stretch, he owns a 1.65 ERA and has struck out 49 batters in 49 innings pitched. He last won five consecutive starts to end the 2014 season, when his second half powered him to the 2014 American League Cy Young Award.

3. Certainly, over the last seven starts, Kluber has looked like the ace the Indians want to see.

4. Said Kluber, “I don't know if it's easy to compare different years. The one thing is that, once I'm able to get on a routine and stick with it—we’re in a stretch right now where we're playing lots of games without a lot of off-days, so I'm pretty much pitching every fifth day. I usually tend to like sticking on that five-day routine.”

5. Said Indians manager Terry Francona, “The ball is coming out of his hand so crisp. And they made him work. He had to pitch out of some jams. They got his pitch count up. But, other than he threw two breaking balls in a row to Morneau that he hit for the home run… He looks like the tank's full, which is really good for us.”

6. Andrew Miller took over for Kluber and pitched two hitless innings in the seventh and eighth. And he needed just 16 pitches to do it.

7. Since giving up a home run to Minnesota’s Joe Mauer in his Cleveland debut, Miller has been borderline untouchable. He’s given up one run and two hits and stuck out 11 in 8 2/3 innings. He’s also now had consecutive two-inning outings, which has essentially shut the door leading to Cody Allen.

More: Indians OF Michael Brantley given timetable of four months following surgery

8. Miller has taken the Indians’ bullpen to that next level. Quipped one beat writer Tuesday night, after another swing-and-miss slider, “How are you supposed to hit that?” The bullpen is entering, “If they have the lead, and Miller and Allen are available, it’s over” territory.

9. Said Francona, “It's one thing to have his stuff, because his stuff's really good, but he doesn't mess around. He speeds them up with the breaking ball and he keeps firing strikes. Again, you bring him in when we do in the seventh and it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to keep him in through the eighth, but as long as he has a six or seven-pitch inning, there's no reason not to. And the good thing is, we didn't have to get Shaw up and have him sitting out there. So, it helps in a lot of ways.”

10. The left side of the Indians’ infield had a couple of nice plays. In the fourth, White Sox catcher Omar Narvaez hit a ball to third base that Jose Ramirez almost caught on a dive but instead short-hopped it. Ramirez righted himself and one knee fired to first to beat Narvaez to the bag.

11. Ramirez made another snag later in the game. He looks more comfortable at third base now that he’s playing there every day.

12. Said Francona, “I don't think he makes those plays before. And I get it, because he's going back and forth. And the brunt of his work was in the outfield, because he hadn't played there. But, now that he's just been there, you can see he's getting his legs under him. His reactions are quicker. The ball has more carry.”

13. Then, in the seventh, Lindor stole a hit away from Narvaez as well, though it required an Indians challenge. Lindor ranged toward third base and into shallow left field, fielded it and fired across his body to make the play.

14. Said Lindor, “Yeah, I thought I had a chance. As soon as I caught it I knew I had a chance. It was a catcher running. Napoli grabbed the ball. It seemed to me he was out, but I wasn't 100 percent sure. It was too close for me to be sure it was a definite out. Then I saw the replay and was like, ‘I think I got him.’”

15. Lindor put the Indians on top 1-0 in the first inning with a double that scored Jason Kipnis, who had doubled as well. He’s now hitting .355 at home this season, the best home average in the AL. In this homestand, Kipnis is hitting .526 with five extra-base hits and seven runs scored.

16. Ramirez has remained on fire at the plate in addition to his gains defensively at third base. He’s hitting .418 with eight doubles, four home runs, 10 RBI and 17 runs scored in his last 20 games.  

17. Said Lindor on Ramirez, “Great. He’s great. He’s been great. He’s been playing defense, he’s been helping us on the base paths, he’s been helping us hitting. He’s been a huge part of us this year.”

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Corey Kluber strong again in Indians’ 3-1 win against Chicago White Sox

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 16, 2016

Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber was stellar yet again, and the Indians downed the Chicago White Sox 3-1 Tuesday night.

Kluber (13-8, 3.15 ERA) entered the game on a torrid stretch similar to the one that helped him win the 2014 American League Cy Young and continued that trend, allowing one run in six innings and striking out seven. He’s now won his last five decisions across his last seven starts. In that stretch, he owns a 1.65 ERA and has struck out 49 batters in 49 innings. It was also his seventh straight quality start.

The last time he won five straight decisions was to end the 2014 season, the strongest Kluber has been, which also ended with him being named the AL’s top pitcher. He’s put together a similar streak, allowing nine earned runs in his last 49 innings pitched.

Andrew Miller took over in the seventh inning and, with the help of a couple of nice plays by shortstop Francisco Lindor, recorded two 1-2-3 innings. Since allowing a home run to Minnesota’s Joe Mauer in his Cleveland debut, Miller has now allowed one run in 8 2/3 innings and struck out 11.

Miller’s two hitless innings bridged the gap to Cody Allen in the ninth, who recorded his 23rd save of the season to improve the Indians to 16-13 since the All-Star break and 62-0 when leading after eight innings.

The Indians (68-49) grabbed an early lead against White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana (9-9, 2.85 ERA). In the bottom of the first inning, Jason Kipnis doubled to left-center and Francisco Lindor followed with a double to center field that was nearly caught by a diving J.B. Shuck, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the third, Rajai Davis walked and stole second base. He then scored on a single down the left-field line by Mike Napoli, who was thrown out trying to advance to second base but not after bringing Davis home.

The White Sox (56-62) finally got to Kluber in the sixth inning, when Justin Morneau blasted a solo home run to right field, cutting the Indians’ deficit to 2-1.

Kipnis added an RBI-single off Dan Jennings in the seventh, scoring Roberto Perez, who doubled to open the inning.

The Detroit Tigers also lost to the Kansas City Royals 6-1 Tuesday night, pushing the Indians’ AL Central lead to six games.

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Indians OF Michael Brantley expected to miss four months after surgery

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 16, 2016

Indians outfielder Michael Brantley has been given a timeline of four months to recover from surgery to address chronic biceps tendinitis in his right shoulder, per the club.

Dr. Keith Meister and Dr. Mark Schickendantz performed the season-ending surgery, known as a bicep tenodesis, on Monday in Dallas. During the surgery, it was confirmed that Brantley’s previously repaired labrum was still intact and the remainder of the shoulder joint looked good.

Brantley will miss all but 11 games of this 2016 season after injuring his shoulder Sept. 22 of last year in Minnesota diving for a ball. The Indians hope Brantley will be able to ramp up his offseason program in 12-to-16 weeks, which would then allow him to have a regular spring training.

After a missed season, Brantley will turn his attention toward being ready for 2017.

“That’s part of the reason we wanted to try to do it now and give him a chance to, when he comes, [be ready],” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Because he’ll need a good spring training. He’s got 20 at-bats this year. So having him not have to be behind in spring would be really big. I think that there’s a real chance that will happen.”

It was an on-going battle for Brantley as he tried to ramp up his hitting activities to return to the lineup. After his initial surgery last winter, he underwent an outpatient procedure to remove scar tissue and received two anti-inflammatory shots prior to Monday’s surgery.

Each time it appeared Brantley might be close to a return, he sustained another setback, and the process had to be repeated. It made for a frustrating, one-step-forward-two-steps-back rehab.

“So many times, he’d get into the batter’s box, like game situation, and that’s when he would feel it [after feeling good in the cage],” Francona said. “That’s why it was kind of confounding. I think on a number of [occasions], we had him looked at by like three different people. Just because he got so close, I think it was [difficult]. I was genuinely excited when he came back from Texas.”

Brantley has been a crucial piece to the middle of the Indians lineup and was an MVP finalist in 2014, hitting .327 with 20 home runs, 45 doubles and 97 RBI. Last season he hit .310 with 15 home runs, 45 doubles and 84 RBI. He totaled 10 WAR in those two seasons combined, per FanGraphs, the third-best mark among left fielders.

The Indians have operated this entire season with the prospect of Brantley returning. With that now gone, they’ll continue on with Rajai Davis, Tyler Naquin, Lonnie Chisenhall, Brandon Guyer and Abraham Almonte in the outfield. Almonte, due to his suspension for a failed drug test, is not eligible for postseason play.

“I think they care so much about him that it is a blow. It’s been one,” Francona said. “Again, I’m not even talking about on the field. We’re finding ways to get it done. That doesn’t mean we don’t miss him or don’t care. We have no other alternative.”

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Red Sox 3, Indians 2: Marla Ridenour's 14 Walk-Off Thoughts on Josh Tomlin, playoff preview

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 15, 2016

Marla Ridenour's 14 walk-off thoughts after the Red Sox notched a 3-2 victory over the Indians Monday at Progressive Field.

1. Right-hander Josh Tomlin is a competitor, a decent fifth starter and a high-character guy whom his teammates respect. But if the Indians make a deep run in the playoffs, he may not be a contributor.

2. After David Ortiz and Jackie Bradley Jr. took him deep Monday, Tomlin has given up 29 home runs this season, the most in the majors. He has allowed at least one home run in 12 consecutive starts, the longest active streak in baseball and the second-longest this season behind the Royals’ Chris Young, who achieved the dubious distinction in 13 straight. Tomlin also leads the majors with 42 home runs allowed since Aug. 15, 2015, when he made his season debut following right shoulder surgery.

3. In six starts since the All-Star break, Tomlin is 2-4 with a 5.83 ERA, as compared to 9-2 with a 3.51 ERA in 16 starts before it.

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Michael Brantley undergoes surgery, update expected Tuesday

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 15, 2016

Indians’ outfielder Michael Brantley underwent surgery on Monday in Texas, but a team spokesman said it started later than expected and an update won't come until Tuesday morning.

Brantley played only 11 games in 2016, most of his year spent rehabbing from off-season surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. In June he was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis.

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Red Sox 3, Indians 2: Tribe's ninth-inning rally fails in Big Papi farewell

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 15, 2016

A Big Papi farewell could have turned into another Party at Napoli’s or something of that sort, with the emphasis on could have.

David Ortiz, the 40-year-old Boston Red Sox star, made his final appearance in Cleveland Monday in the make-up game of the Indians’ frozen-out home opener and the crowd of 19,174 included several vocal Boston fans.

Judging by signs posted by the Red Sox on Twitter, some came to see Ortiz, who is retiring after this season. They were rewarded when Ortiz sent a 427-foot, two-run moon-shot homer over the right field fence in the sixth inning.

That provided the day’s highlight as Boston held on for a 3-2 victory at Progressive Field in the battle of American League playoff contenders.

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Indians RHP Danny Salazar slated to come off DL, start Thursday vs. White Sox

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 15, 2016

Indians right-hander Danny Salazar is slated to start Thursday night’s home game against the Chicago White Sox, ending his stint on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation.

Sidelined since Aug. 2, Salazar will not make a minor-league rehab start. After Sunday’s victory over the Angels, Salazar threw a simulated game.

“He went down and threw a normal warm-up, then he came out and threw a normal inning on the game mound, so the transition to pitching isn’t quite as drastic,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Part of what we’re trying to protect … Danny throws so hard, all of a sudden he feels good and he comes out and he’s throwing 98 (mph), then the next start he’s stiff. We’re trying to manage that the best we can.”

Salazar said he felt “really good” during the outing, estimating he threw 15 to 18 pitches after his warm-up and used everything in his arsenal.

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Indians 5, Angels 4: Ryan Lewis’ 12 Walk-Off Thoughts on Andrew Miller, Abraham Almonte, more

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 14, 2016

Here are 12 Walk-Off Thoughts after the Indians’ 5-4 win against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

1. Sunday’s game represents what the Indians’ bullpen is capable of looking like just about every night. After trailing 4-1 early, the Indians grabbed a 5-4 lead in the sixth inning.

2. That’s when Andrew Miller relieved starting pitcher Trevor Bauer. Miller threw 1-2-3 innings in the seventh and eighth that ended with Albert Pujols striking out looking and getting ejected. Since giving up a home run in his Cleveland debut, Miller has allowed only one hit in 6 1/3 innings. In that same span, he’s struck out 10 batters.

3. Indians manager Terry Francona wasn’t about to take Miller out after only one inning when he didn’t need to. Said Francona, “The way that Miller was throwing, sometimes the best thing to do is just stay out of the way and let him go do his thing, because that was phenomenal.”

4. That led to Cody Allen, who tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning to notch his 22nd save of the season. Once the Indians grabbed their one-run lead, the Angels didn’t have another baserunner. It’s what the Indians envisioned when they traded for Miller and paired him with Shaw and Allen. Once the Indians grab a lead, they can let their bullpen go to work.

5. Said Miller, “I think that the game wasn’t over at that point. We had more at-bats and we knew we had some outs to cover, but I think that’s the mentality out there, almost like you know it’s coming. That’s a great feeling. That’s a feeling a good team gets. We’re ready when called upon, but it’s a lot of fun to watch these guys.”



6. With all three of those relievers pitching like they can, and Dan Otero having a terrific season as well, the Indians in a way can mirror the bullpen that the Kansas City Royals built the last couple years. Few teams will want to try to come back against that group.

7. Said Jason Kipnis, “It’s how we've looked at the Royals the last couple of years, where the game gets shortened. It puts importance on scoring runs early. Coming back and answering runs is great when they score. We saw it was a perfect example today of getting the lead to the bullpen and letting them take over and they did what they do.”

More: Jose Ramirez has been the Indians' stabilizer

8. Tyler Naquin went 3-for-4 with two doubles, the second of which tied it 5-5. After his torrid stretch, he’s woken up from an 0-for-19 slump.

9. Abraham Almonte came away with what turned out to be the game-winning hit, an RBI-single to left that scored Naquin in the sixth. After a sluggish start once Almonte was reinstated, he’s now raised his batting average to .297 and has been a key contributor to the lineup the last 2-3 weeks.

10. Said Almonte, “I always say this, if I’m this game, it’s for some reason. No matter where I hit, when I come to the plate, I just try to do my best to help my team to win. I did a pretty good job today and that’s real important to me. … I feel really close. I feel more comfortable at the plate and in the outfield, too, running the bases. I feel more like I’m getting to it. My body is starting to feel like, ‘OK, this is what we normally do.’”

More: Indians offense among most productive, versatile in the league

11. Almonte won’t be eligible for postseason play but has played well enough to earn his spot on the roster. It isn’t the easiest thing to deal with for him or the club. But the Indians gave him a shot last year, they gave him one this year after his failed drug test and he’s responded. He can’t be a part of what the Indians hope to accomplish this October. For now, he’s doing his part to help them get there.

12. Said Almonte, “I always say this, and I think I’m going to say this for the rest of my life no matter what happens from now on, the way the Indians treat me from the first day that I came to this ball club is unbelievable. I’ve been on good teams with good people, but they made sure I felt at home right away last year. This year, when I came back, they treated me like, ‘OK, here you are, we’re waiting for you and we’re still counting on you.’ I appreciated that and it made me feel really comfortable.”

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Indians erase early deficit, come back to beat Angels 5-4

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 14, 2016

Trevor Bauer ran into some of the home run troubles that plagued him last season, but the Indians came back from a three-run deficit and received three shut-down innings from the newly constructed bullpen to beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-4 Sunday afternoon and complete a four-game sweep.

The Angels (49-68) twice sent Bauer pitches out of the ballpark in the first four innings to build a 4-1 lead. But against Angels starter Jered Weaver (8-10, 5.32 ERA), the Indians twice loaded the bases and twice came away with two-run innings to retake the lead.

In the fifth, the Indians loaded the bases with nobody out, but Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis—who in the first inning hit a solo home run—each failed to get a run home. Weaver gave the Indians a gift with a quick walk to Francisco Lindor to make it 4-2. Mike Napoli followed with a ground ball up the middle that was fielded by second basemen Johnny Giavotella, who flipped it to shortstop Cliff Pennington. Lindor, running from first, beat the flip to second to score another run. Carlos Santana, on second after reaching on a fielder’s choice, rounded third and tried to tie the game but was thrown out by Pennington to end the inning.

Still trailing, Jose Ramirez led off the sixth with a single to extend his current hitting streak to 18 games and then stole second base. Tyler Naquin, who had been slumping heading into the weekend, drove a double off the right-field wall to tie it 4-4 and end Weaver’s day. Facing Angels reliever Jose Valdez, Abraham Almonte lined a ball into left-center field to score Naquin and put the Indians (67-48) back on top.

“That's what we've been doing for a while,” Kipnis said of the offense chipping away. “We tell the pitchers, if they're struggling or getting guys on base early to minimize the damage and give our offense some time to work.”

It was a huge hit for Almonte, who struggled after being reinstated for a failed drug test and won’t be eligible for postseason play.

“I always say this, if I’m this game, it’s for some reason,” Almonte said. “No matter where I hit, when I come to the plate, I just try to do my best to help my team to win. I did a pretty good job today and that’s real important to me.”

Bauer (9-5, 3.97 ERA) finished with four runs allowed on five hits and four strikeouts in six innings. Andrew Miller threw two 1-2-3 innings in relief, which ended with a strikeout of Albert Pujols that led to Pujols’ ejection from the game. Cody Allen in the ninth notched his 22nd save of the season, also working a 1-2-3 inning.

Indians manager Terry Francona could have taken Miller out in the eighth, but he’s been nearly unhittable since his Cleveland debut. It was what the Indians envisioned when they made the trade for him.

“The way that Miller was throwing, sometimes the best thing to do is just stay out of the way and let him go do his thing, because that was phenomenal,” Francona said. “But, we did a lot of good things to get there. Down 4-1, and we did some good things. Naquin, and we bunched together a pretty good rally to take the lead and then made it hold up.”

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Indians 5, Angels 1: Ryan Lewis’ 17 Walk-Off Thoughts on Mike Clevinger, a no-no bid, Jose Ramirez

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 14, 2016

Here are 17 Walk-Off Thoughts after the Indians’ beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-1 Saturday night.

1. Mike Clevinger took a no-hitter into the sixth inning until Andrelton Simmons singled on a ball that was nearly fielded by Francisco Lindor but went off his glove and into left field.

2. It was Clevinger’s first career win, and it came against the team that traded him for relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano in 2014. Said Clevinger, “It was storybook-esque. It was everything I could imagine and more. It's hard to describe right now. … I don't think there's a sweeter way I could've gotten the first win. This was definitely it.”

3. It was a bit of an odd no-hit bid. Clevinger walked four batters and allowed a run in the second inning after two walks, a fly out and a ground ball brought home a run. He was also at 91 pitches when was taken out in the sixth inning, so he wouldn’t have been able to finish the game regardless.

4. Clevinger didn’t realize he had a no-no going until the fourth inning. Catcher Chris Gimenez didn’t realize it, even in the fifth.

5. Said Clevinger, “Actually about the fourth, I was looking to see who was coming up on the board and I was like, 'Wait, there are no hits up there.' I tried as hard as I could to clear it out of my head. … It took me back for a second. There was a run on the board, so I wasn't even thinking about hits at that point. It definitely took me back a little bit.”

6. Said Gimenez, “I swear to God, the fifth inning and I had no idea. I had no idea. I’ve got a lot of things going through my head that’s really the last thing I’m worried bout. We had walked some guys on some close pitches that coulda gone either way, really. I think, too, give him a lot of credit for not letting that tail-spin him in the wrong direction because that can easily happen to a younger guy. Thankfully our offense is kind of clicking on all cylinders right now and we were able to get him some runs early and take off that pressure, too."

More: Jose Ramirez has been stabilizing the Indians all season

7. Clevinger also did all this while battling a blister or callous on his middle finger. It forced Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway to come and check on him, but he certainly seemed fine. Clevinger said there wasn’t pain, it was just an inconvenience.

8. This was a breath of fresh air for Clevinger, who entered the night with an ERA of 6.97. He had shown glimpses, but his control hadn’t been consistent enough. Said Indians manager Terry Francona, “That was fun. He was battling a blister on his middle finger. And I think it was after the fourth inning, it really didn’t look that good. But he said it wasn’t bothering him a ton. That’s why Mickey went out a couple of times to check on him. Even though he hadn’t given up any hits, it was a close game and you don’t want somebody to make a mistake because of something like that. He did a good job. He came out and his stuff – kind of like a lot of times – his stuff was pretty electric early. He had some walks, there was some traffic, but he really competed. I thought he pitched through a tight strike zone early that looked like it might rattle him a little bit, but he kind of gained his composure and got him out.”

9. The word on Clevinger since the spring has been that prior to his starts—and even his bullpen sessions in Arizona—he was amped up like it was a World Series game. Facing his former team, still searching for his first MLB win and a two-hour rain delay with nothing but his thoughts wasn’t a great formula for all that.

More: Michael Brantley to have season-ending surgery on Monday

10. Said Gimenez, “Give a lot of credit to him for staying mentally focused. he was walking back and forth in the clubhouse with his headphones on for two hours. I think everybody was wondering what was really going to happen. Are we going to play or are we not? Everybody’s got the radar apps on their cell phones. It didn’t really look positive so I give him a lot of credit for staying focused. This game, of all games, I think he was a little amped up for. I told him before the game started, when we were in the bullpen, I said, “Listen man, trust me I understand you want to beat the guys that kind of gave you away so to speak. Let’s hopefully do that, but let’s do it within ourselves. You gotta stay within yourself because he was a little amped up in the bullpen and rightfully so. He’s a young guy and he’s pitching against his old team for the first time, it can easily happen. A lot of credit to him, he did a great job.”

11. Added Francona, “That’s his nature, he’s pretty amped up. But I think it’s more now learning the focus of a game as opposed to just being amped. Trying to understand that every single pitch he has to locate and not just fire it. Mickey spent a lot of time, I know, talking to him about it. I think he certainly understands that. His bullpen the other day, Mick said was phenomenal. He’s still learning. But so much to like about it him.”

12. The play on which the Angels scored, in a way, was the Indians’ best defensively. Jose Ramirez made a nice play at third base to rob Johnny Giavotella of a hit, possibly extra bases. The Angels scored a run, but it stabilized the inning.

13. Said Clevinger, “That might have turned the game around. That might have been the point in the game that made it how it was. I probably hugged him 25 times since he's left the field.”



14. Ramirez also extended his current hitting streak to 17 games and drove in a run with a double. He’s been one of the better players in the league the last couple weeks, and a solid asset for the Indians all season.

15. Said Gimenez, “I mean Jose is a special man right there. Hair, glove, bat, you name it. He’s 3-for-3 right now and he can probably dance, do all kinds of things. He can’t really speak English that good but we’ll work on that one. But great job staying ready. He made a couple really nice plays. That play down the line that they ended up scoring a run, that was a big one. That ended up saving a run or two at least right there. Having that play made for him I think kind of settled him down a little bit too in that inning because we had just come out and scored. It was good, we held the damage to one run and we were able to keep it going from there.”

16. And Andrew Miller is now Chris Gimenez’s new favorite pitcher because he made Mike Trout look like Chris Gimenez. Miller struck out Trout to end the eighth inning.

17. Said Gimenez, “Miller was pretty special tonight, too. When he struck out Trout, that was pretty awesome. I told him when we walked out, ‘You’re my favorite pitcher now because you made him look like me if I was facing you.’”

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Mike Clevinger takes no-hitter into sixth inning, Indians beat Los Angels Angels 5-1

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 14, 2016

Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against his former organization, and the Indians took down the Los Angeles Angels 5-1 Saturday night.

Clevinger’s no-hit bid was broken up with two outs in the sixth inning, when Andrelton Simmons grounded a ball that Francisco Lindor was able to get a glove on but not corral before it trickled into left field for a single.

Clevinger also walked four and struck out three, finishing with 91 pitches thrown. He allowed one run in the second inning on two walks, a fly out and a hard-hit ground ball that was fielded by Jose Ramirez at third base but brought home a run.

Clevinger was acquired from the Angels in 2014 in exchange for relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano.

Simmons’ single was the only hit the Angels could muster. Dan Otero finished the sixth and Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen each threw hitless innings.

The Indians took an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. Following Lindor and Mike Napoli singles, Jose Ramirez doubled to center field to score one and Lonnie Chisenhall followed with a two-run single.

In the second, Chris Gimenez doubled and Michael Martinez laid down a bunt that was fielded by Angels third basemen Yunel Escobar. His throw to first nearly hit Martinez and ended up in right field, allowing Gimenez to score and make it 4-1. Gimenez added an RBI-single in the sixth, scoring Tyler Naquin, who had doubled to right.

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Indians OF Michael Brantley to have season-ending surgery on Monday

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 13, 2016

For Michael Brantley, the 2016 season will essentially be lost.

Indians manager Terry Francona said that Brantley will have season-ending surgery on Monday in Texas. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Kevin Meister and Indians head team physician Dr. Mark Schickendantz. Further details and a timetable for his return have not yet been released.

Brantley has been on the disabled list for the entire season apart from a brief 11-game return in May while rehabbing from offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. In June, he was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis. In July, he underwent an outpatient procedure to remove scar tissue from his shoulder.

Lately, Brantley had been experiencing symptoms indicative of chronic biceps tendinitis, which derailed yet another attempt to return to the lineup.

It’ll be the third procedure and second major surgery for Brantley in the last 10 months. He’s also received two anti-inflammatory shots in that time. Brantley injured his shoulder diving for a ball on Sept. 22 in Minnesota and then underwent the initial surgery on Nov. 9.

Per his original timetable for return, Brantley was expected to miss roughly the first month of the season and return around early May. Now, after a year of setbacks, his upcoming procedure on Aug. 15 will end his 2016 season.

He’ll set his sights on a return 2017.

“I guess I figure that all the work, it'll pay off somewhere,” Francona said. “It may not be this season, but I don't think those things go unrewarded. I just think that he'll come back and he'll find a way to be as good as ever. I firmly believe that, because I believe in him. I get a front row-seat to see how hard he works and things like that.”

Brantley repeatedly tried to ramp up his workload, only to feel discomfort or soreness in his shoulder or bicep. The pain appeared once that workload was increased. As the Indians view it, simple rest beyond what was called for wouldn’t have done the trick.

“He was going to that [pitching] machine and he was cranking it up,” Francona said. “Like, you'd walk in there and see him hit and you're like, 'Man, he can play tonight.' But then, when he got off the live pitching is when he felt it. So, you can't just stop him and say rest, because then he could go through the whole winter and feel great, and then they start playing the games in spring training and it'd crop up again. That was a lot of the dilemma in this thing.”

Brantley has been a crucial piece to the middle of the Indians lineup and was an MVP finalist in 2014, hitting .327 with 20 home runs, 45 doubles and 97 RBI. Last season he hit .310 with 15 home runs, 45 doubles and 84 RBI. He totaled 10 WAR in those two seasons combined, per FanGraphs, the third-best mark among left fielders.

The Indians have operated this entire season with the prospect of Brantley returning. With that now gone, they’ll continue on with Rajai Davis, Tyler Naquin, Lonnie Chisenhall, Brandon Guyer and Abraham Almonte in the outfield. Almonte, due to his suspension for a failed drug test, is not eligible for postseason play.

“Well, I mean, I think [the front office guys are] always keeping their eyes open,” Francona said. “But, we've basically played without him this year, so we'll just keep playing. That's what we always do.”

Clear eyes

Carlos Santana has been “completely cleared” to play after he was struck with a hard-hit foul ball in the head during Thursday’s game. He was not diagnosed with a concussion, but the club wanted him to go through additional tests and exercises.

He’s expected to return to the starting lineup on Sunday.

Returning soon

Indians starting pitcher Danny Salazar threw a short bullpen—15 pitches—and will throw another on Sunday.

Salazar is returning from elbow inflammation, which forced him to the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 2. Salazar could return to the Indians’ rotation sometime next week.

“He’s doing fine,” Francona said. “When [it’s] his day to pitch, he’ll be ready, and we’ll figure out when we want to plug him in and what we want to do behind him, things like that.”

Salazar was hit hard in his several starts prior to being placed on the disabled list. He was a Cy Young contender in the first half and hopes to return to that level.

“Sometimes it’s not just a peace of mind. Sometimes your elbow hurts,” Salazar said. “When you go out there you know it hurts and sometimes your body, even though you’re trying to do something different, your body holds you back a little bit, so you feel pain-free. That’s what I think. I think right now I’m really positive to throw another bullpen tomorrow, full bullpen, curveball, slider, changeup, fastball, and then just set up a day to be back on the mound.”

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Indians 13, Angels 3: Ryan Lewis’ 16 Walk-Off Thoughts on eight steals, a record from WWI-era, more

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 13, 2016

Here are 16 Walk-Off Thoughts on the Indians’ 13-3 win against the Los Angeles Angels.

1. The Indians tied a nearly 100-year-old record Friday night, swiping eight bases. Rajai Davis (now with 31 this season, fourth in baseball) and Jose Ramirez each stole three, and Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis both stole one.

2. The last and only other time the Indians have ever stole at least eight bases in a single game came on Aug. 27, 1917. That game was won by Walter Johnson as a member of the Washington Senators. The freaking Big Train was on the mound the last time this happened. It happened at Dunn Field, which was League Park before it was called League Park. The United States had only been involved in World War I for about four months. It’s been a while.

3. It started with Davis in the bottom of the first inning. He drew an 11-pitch walk, stole second, stole third and then scored on a single by Kipnis. Then Kipnis stole second for good measure.

4. Said Indians manager Terry Francona, “I thought our baserunning tonight set the tone. We had hits to get on, and it was early in the innings, but our baserunning, they did a good job. We stole bases, we didn’t just run with abandon. We were intelligent. I thought it set the tone for the whole game.”

5. Facing left-hander Tyler Skaggs, the Indians had no trouble timing his motion. Said Ramirez, “He just wasn’t pitching very quickly and he had a movement that was easy to read for us to know when to go. So we just took advantage of those opportunities.”

6. Said Francona, “You’ve got a lanky left-hander. He’s young. And Sandy does a really good job over there of helping the guys. But it’s one of those nights where you’re getting on base early, the right guys are getting on, and we’re not down. We were able to be really aggressive.”

More: Indians DH Carlos Santana not diagnosed with concussion but held out of Friday's game

7. Skaggs spent much of the night throwing over to first or second base, desperately trying to at least slow down the mini 90-foot dash Olympic trials the Indians went through Friday night. Davis’ speed, especially, has been credited as a way to get into a pitcher’s head.

8. Said Davis, “It seemed like it kind of affected him on the mound. His pitches—I don't know the locations they were in—but it seemed like Kip was getting some good pitches to hit. And he usually hits good pitches really well.”



9. No team has stolen eight bases in a game since the Rangers did so against the Red Sox in April of 2010. For Davis, he becomes the oldest player to steal at least 30 bases since Ichiro did so in 2001, his rookie year.

10. Brandon Guyer had his first big game with the Indians, driving in five runs and hitting his first home run with Cleveland. It’s the exact reason the Indians acquired Guyer prior to the non-waiver trade deadline: To hit lefties and compliment Lonnie Chisenhall and Tyler Naquin.

11. Said Francona, “He’s got 250 at-bats. His at-bats have been really quality at-bats, too. Even his first at-bat the night here we got blown out, he had an eight-pitch at-bat. He’s got a chance to do what he did. I know his last one was kind of an ‘excuse me’ but you take those, too.”

12. Ramirez hit a home run as well, drove in two runs and stole three bases. He’s hitting .453 during his current 16-game hitting streak. He’s been an unsung hero for the Indians, filling the void in left field left by Michael Brantley and then the void left by Juan Uribe at third base, and lately he’s done it hitting fifth in the lineup.

13. Said Francona, “I think of it is has gone a little bit under the radar because of Nap, which I understand. But my goodness. He’s driving the ball. He doesn’t strike out. Running the bases. I do think being at third has probably helped him. He had to work so hard in left, I think it took some of his energy at times. But you can even see him moving a little better at third now. His arm looks like he’s finding his release point. We talked about it [in] spring training hoping he can be a weapon. I’d say that was probably an understatement.”

14. Said Kipnis, “That dude is hitting lights out right now. He's really maturing into who he is. You see him coming into his own. He's learning what works for him and he's making the right adjustments. He's not trying to do too much, trying to hit 20 home runs. He's become a real weapon for us.”

15. The Indians are currently enjoying a power-combo that few teams can boast. They’ve avoided a particular label while doing so. Thursday night was more of a power-show. Friday night was about speed, with a little power mixed in as well.

16. Said Kipnis, “That's the kind of dynamic we've had here in this lineup. We're having four or five guys passing our career years in home runs. We have almost the same thing with stolen bases. We know with the staff we have, it's on us to score some runs and make it easier on them. You'll see, not only with home runs and stolen bases, we're doing a good job of cashing in on the chances we do create. We're getting guys to third with less than two outs and we're cashing them in.”

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Indians tie club record in 13-3 win against Los Angeles Angels

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 12, 2016

The Indians ran wild on the Los Angeles Angels and tied a nearly 100-year-old club record in their 13-3 win Friday night.

The Indians had the green light against Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs (1-1, 4.37 ERA) and catcher Geovany Soto, stealing eight bases. Rajai Davis and Jose Ramirez each stole three, and Jason Kipnis and Francisco both swiped a bag as well.

The last time they stole eight bases in a single game was on Aug. 27, 1917, against Walter Johnson and the Washington Senators. It’s also the most the Angeles have ever allowed in a single game.

The Indians stole three bases in the first inning alone to cut an early Angles deficit to 2-1. Davis walked to lead off the inning, stole second and third and then scored on a single off the bat of Kipnis (4-for-5), who then proceeded to steal second as well.

In the fourth trailing 3-2, Ramirez singled and stole second and third base, eventually scoring on Abraham Almonte’s game-tying single.

The Indians broke things open in the fifth. Davis singled and stole his third base of the night. Kipnis doubled him home to give the Indians their first lead of the night 4-3. Lindor followed with a bloop single to right field to score Kipnis. Ramirez reached on a fielder’s choice and stole his third base of the night, the Indians’ seventh, to move into scoring position for Brandon Guyer, who earlier hit his first home run in Cleveland, to single home two more to push and Indians’ lead to 7-3.

Lindor added an RBI-single in the sixth to score Davis and then stole second to tie the club record. Soto sailed his throw into center field, which allowed Kipnis, who was on third, to easily score.

Ramirez added to his night with a solo home run in the seventh to put the Indians up 10-3, his eighth of the year. In the eighth, Ramirez doubled home a run and Guyer tacked on a two-RBI single, giving him five for the night to tie his career high, to cap the Indians’ onslaught at 13-3.

Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco (8-6, 3.21 ERA) turned in a quality outing, allowing three runs on eight hits in seven innings and striking out eight. The Angels (49-66) took a 2-0 in the top of the first with a solo home run by Kole Calhoun and an RBI-single by Albert Pujols.

But from there, with Davis, Ramirez and company nearly running at will on the Angels, Carrasco and the Indians (65-48) cruised to their second 10-run win in as many nights after taking down LA 14-4 on Thursday.

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Indians DH Carlos Santana not diagnosed with concussion, held out of Friday's game

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 12, 2016

The Indians haven’t diagnosed designated hitter Carlos Santana with a concussion, but he is being held out of Friday's game and will continue to be monitored.

Santana was struck in the head with a hard-hit foul ball off the bat of Francisco Lindor in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. He was helped to the clubhouse by trainers, given tests and sent home.

The Indians are remaining cautious with Santana despite not currently calling to a concussion. He’ll continue to undergo different tests and exercises to see how he responds before the Indians give him the OK to return to the field.

“The doctor’s not convinced he has a concussion,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “Saying that, we’re not going to play him. Like I said last night, I think you err on the side of caution. But if he handles his activity, then he gets looked at again by the medical people and the doctors and if they OK him, then you just go on how he’s feeling. If he ramps up the activity and things start to show, then we can put him on the concussion DL and call somebody up.”

Santana said he felt “much better” on Friday than he did Thursday night.

“It's something that happens in life, in baseball. But, I feel better,” Santana said. “My wife and my two kids, they saw that moment. They were a little scared, but they're fine now. I'm telling them about the process. They'll be OK.”

Santana and Lindor have talked often since it happened. Lindor felt bad and during Thursday’s game went back to the clubhouse each half inning to look for him.

“I feel terrible,” Lindor said then. “Obviously, I'm not trying to do that. It's a moment you don't want. Nobody wants something like that. I feel bad. I couldn't get my mind off it.”

Santana joked on Friday that he wanted Lindor to sign the ball so he could keep it in his house.

Back at it

Indians starting pitcher Danny Salazar is back to throwing in his rehab from elbow inflammation. He’s expected to be a couple weeks away from being able to return to the starting rotation.

Salazar put himself among the American League’s Cy Young contenders in the first half but was hit hard over the last few weeks as he dealt with discomfort in his elbow. Like any young pitcher, especially one coming off his first full season in the big leagues, Salazar is dealign with the perils of making it through a complete season.

“Pitching a full year in the major leagues is, for so many reasons, taxing,” Francona said. “And then to be good on top of it, to be able to be consistent enough to answer the bell, to pitch through times where you don’t feel good [is difficult] and Danny’s still learning that. Because I think if you gave every pitcher two weeks off, they’d love it. You just can’t really do that.”

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Indians 14, Angels 4: Ryan Lewis’ 14 Walk-Off Thoughts on Carlos Santana, a scary moment, more

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 12, 2016

Here are 14 Walk-Off Thoughts after the Indians’ 14-4 win against the Los Angeles Angels.

1. More-so than the actual game, the talk in the clubhouse afterward was about Carlos Santana’s health.

2. In the fifth inning, Santana, in the dugout, was struck by a hard-hit foul ball off the bat of Francisco Lindor. Santana crumbled to the ground and play was momentarily stopped. He was helped into the clubhouse by trainers. Officially, he left the game with a contusion to the right side of his head.

3. The Indians put Santana through a concussion test, per Indians manager Terry Francona, and then sent him home. The club will monitor Santana’s health in the morning. Francona was encouraged that Santana showed positive signs after about 30 minutes.

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Indians annihilate Angels 14-4 amidst two rain delays

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 11, 2016

Only the rain slowed the Indians’ bats on Thursday night.

The Indians put together one of the best offensive nights of the season and wrapped it around two rain delays en route to trouncing the Los Angeles Angels 14-4.

The Indians scored at least one run in each of the first five innings, which included a five-run first that allowed starting pitcher Corey Kluber to cruise for most of the night.

Carlos Santana led off the first inning with a solo home run against Angels starter Jhoulys Chacin, his 25th of the season, to answer a first-inning home run by Mike Trout. It was also Santana’s fifth lead-off home run this year, making him the fourth Indians player with at least five in the same season, joining Shin-Soo Choo (2012), Grady Sizemore (2008) and Kenny Lofton (1999).

The Indians later in the inning loaded the bases and cleared them on Lonnie Chisenhall’s double to left field that was misplayed by Angels outfielder Ji-Man Choi, making it 4-1. Jose Ramirez rounded third base on the heels of Mike Napoli, and the two scored nearly simultaneously. Tyler Naquin followed with a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Chisenhall.

The Indians kept adding on. A single by Francisco Lindor made it 6-1, and Mike Napoli followed with an RBI-double in the second. Jason Kipnis tacked on an RBI-single in the third inning.

The rains came in the fourth, causing a 31-minute delay, but the onslaught continued after play resumed. Chisenhall roped a double that scored Napoli, who doubled just before the delay, and Abraham Almonte drove him in with a double of his own to push it to 10-2.

In the fifth, though, a scary moment for the Indians. Lindor ripped a foul ball into the Indians’ dugout that struck Santana. Santana buckled to the ground and play was stopped for a few moments. He was later helped to the clubhouse by trainers. Per the club, he left the game with a contusion to the right side of his head.

Still, the Indians kept pounding. Napoli, the next batter, crushed a three-run home run to center field, his 29th of the season. He finished 4-for-4 with four RBI and was a triple short of the cycle. Jose Ramirez then went back-to-back with Napoli, drilling a solo home run that extended his current hitting streak to 15 games.

Kluber allowed three runs on four hits in six innings and struck out three. A second rain delay hit in the seventh inning with the game well in hand.

All nine Indians starters either recorded a hit or drove in a run in the win, which extends the Indians’ lead in the American League Central to four games over the Detroit Tigers, who were off on Thursday.

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Indians activate Jeff Manship, bullpen starting to come together; Michael Brantley plan unknown

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 11, 2016

The Indians’ bullpen has seen its fair share of turnover in recent weeks, as it’s been battered with injuries and beaten up by a swing of poor starts from the rotation.

Now, the group is inching closer to returning to full strength. On Thursday, the Indians activated Jeff Manship from the 15-day disabled list and optioned TJ House back to Triple-A Columbus. The Indians also recently activated Zach McAllister from the DL.

Manship was placed on the DL on July 29 with right wrist tendinitis, retroactive to July 27. Last year Manship proved to be one the more reliable arms in the league but hasn’t looked the same recently. In his previous six appearances he allowed five runs on nine hits in 2 2/3 innings pitched, as his season-long WHIP (1.466) ballooned to nearly twice what it was last year (0.763).

“There's no doubt in my mind it did,” Manship said of his aching wrist affecting his performance. “I feel like what I was doing in the 'pen, every time I'd go out and play catch and warm up for the game, it would hurt. So, whatever I was taking out there, trying to alleviate pain, trying to subconsciously protect myself, I was taking into the game. I just feel stuff-wise it wasn't the same. I wasn't finishing pitches. Command was way off. … I'd say about seven days into the meds, it felt great. I was able to throw three bullpens—felt awesome. I felt explosive.”

After Cody Allen, Andrew Miller and Bryan Shaw acting as the back-end of the bullpen, Manship slides into a middle relief role with Dan Otero, Zach McAllister and Kyle Crockett. Otero has given the Indians a boost in the middle innings, often working early high-leverage situations. Manship finding his 2015 form would only bolster a bullpen that’s beginning to find health, along with the addition of Miller.

“It was hard to not have Manny for that time,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “I think it made sense, what we did. Listening to [pitching coach Mickey Callaway and bullpen coach Jason Bere] talk about his last couple of bullpens, there's never a guarantee somebody is going to go out and give up runs or not, but at least now he has a chance to be himself and throw his pitches. Then you see what happens.”

The Indians’ bullpen still has Tommy Hunter (back) and Joe Colon (shoulder) on the disabled list. Hunter, per Francona, is expected to throw for Triple-A Columbus on Friday. It’s expected that Hunter will need multiple rehab appearances.

Waiting game

The Michael Brantley saga continues to churn out bad news.

Earlier this week, the club announced that Brantley has been experiencing symptoms consistent with chronic biceps tendinitis. Brantley traveled to New York to see Dr. Stephen O’Brien, who gave the diagnosis after Brantley experienced continued symptoms on his surgically-repaired right shoulder.

There is still no definitive plan for Brantley’s rehab moving forward, but it’s been a long, frustrating road back that’s included multiple setbacks.

“What we're doing now is everybody is putting their heads together, including Mike,” Francona said. “He's been a part of this the whole way, as he should be. I would think in the next couple of days, we will have some more, definite plans for what he's going to do. It's not just if he has surgery, but what kind of surgery, where, things like that. There's a lot of stuff to work through.”
 

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Indians jump on Nationals late in 3-1 win

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 10, 2016

The Indians flipped a no-hit bid for Max Scherzer into a victory Tuesday night, beating the Washington Nationals 3-1.

The Indians were being no-hit into the seventh inning until Francisco Lindor ended the bid with a one-out single. Jose Ramirez followed with an RBI-double to put the Indians up 1-0, and Lonnie Chisenhall later added an RBI-single to score Ramirez.

Leading 2-1 in the top of the ninth, Ramirez tacked on an RBI-single, giving the Indians an insurance run.

Going up against Scherzer, Trevor Bauer (8-5, 3.88 ERA) tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits and two walks and striking out four. Andrew Miller entered the game first among the Indians’ options in the back-end of the bullpen, allowing a run in one inning. Bryan Shaw worked 2/3 of an inning and Cody Allen notched his 21st save of the season in the ninth.

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Indians OF Michael Brantley experiencing chronic biceps tendinitis

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 9, 2016

The Michael Brantley saga continues to churn out bad news.

On Tuesday, the club announced that Brantley has been experiencing symptoms consistent with chronic biceps tendinitis. Brantley traveled to New York to see Dr. Stephen O’Brien, who gave the diagnosis after Brantley experienced continued symptoms on his surgically-repaired right shoulder.

The Indians have yet to announce what that means for his timetable going forward, but it’s yet another step in the wrong direction for Brantley, who’s undergone an outpatient procedure to remove scar tissue, had multiple anti-inflammatory shots and received multiple opinions on his shoulder.

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Indians fall to New York Yankees 3-2, lose series

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 7, 2016

The Indians came up short against the New York Yankees on Sunday 3-2, dropping Sunday’s series finale.

Trailing 3-0, the Indians (62-47) got one back in the seventh and eighth innings on an RBI-single by Roberto Perez and a wild pitch by Dellin Betances, respectively. But that’s all Betances would give up, and the Indians failed to force extra innings in the ninth.

Carlos Carrasco (7-6, 3.17 ERA) allowed three runs on five hits and struck out nine in seven innings pitched.

The Detroit Tigers also lost on Sunday to the New York Mets 3-1, meaning the Indians’ lead in the American League Central holds at two games.

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Indians’ pitching hit hard again in 13-7 loss to New York Yankees

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 5, 2016

Josh Tomlin was hit hard, the fourth Indians pitcher this week to be roughed up, and the Indians fell to the New York Yankees 13-7 Friday night.

Tomlin was hit for seven earned runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings, joining Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer as Indians starting pitchers to to struggle.

Shawn Morimando, promoted as bullpen protection, allowed four runs in an inning of work. After a season of terrific performances, this week has been one to forget for the Indians’ pitching staff.

The Detroit Tigers also defeated the New York Mets 4-3, cutting the Indians’ divisional lead to two games.

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Indians end skid against Minnesota Twins with 9-2 win

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 4, 2016
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The Indians finally calmed down the Minnesota Twins’ scorching offense and avoided a four-game sweep with a 9-2 win Thursday afternoon.

After three straight games of having a starting pitcher beat up and knocked out of the game early, Mike Clevinger, starting on Thursday because Danny Salazar was placed on the disabled list, held his own, allowing two earned runs in 4 1/3 innings pitched.

It was just enough for the bullpen, already tired from a tough series, to piece together a scoreless 4 2/3 innings. Dan Otero and Andrew Miller each threw 1 1/3 innings and Bryan Shaw and Ryan Merritt worked the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.

It was a needed pitching performance to stave off a sweep at the hands of the last-place Twins. The Indians also remained the only team in the major leagues to not have a losing streak of at least four games this season.  

“I think it helps,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We had gotten beaten around the ballpark for three days, so it definitely felt good.”

Clevinger received some defensive help in the third. Leading 1-0 with the bases loaded and one out, and another big Twins inning looming, Max Kepler lined a ball to center field. Davis caught it  for the second out and fired to first, where Carlos Santana had beaten Joe Mauer back to the bag, completing an inning-ending double play.

“I think Raj’s play in center was huge,” Francona said. “They’ve got the bases loaded, hit a line drive and he’s got the wherewithal, the presence, to see it. And then Carlos to be alive enough to be there. I thought that helped change the game also.”

Unlike the first three games in which the Indians found themselves in a significant hole early on, they grabbed a lead on Thursday. In the first inning, Jason Kipnis drilled a solo home run off Twins starter Hector Santiago, his 18th of the year.

With two outs in the third, Francisco Lindor singled and Mike Napoli walked, which led to Carlos Santana belting a three-run home run to the Home Run Porch, his 24th, putting the Indians up 4-0.

The Indians pulled away in the seventh and put it away in the eighth. Leading 4-2, Davis singled with two outs and then put on a single-handed speed display. Davis stole second, stole third and then scored on a wild pitch, effectively creating a run with his legs. Two batters later, Lindor added a two-run home run, his 13th, to push the Indians’ lead to 7-2.

An inning later, Jose Ramirez tacked on a solo home run in the eighth, his sixth, and Davis singled home Brandon Guyer, giving the Indians a 9-2 lead.

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Twins 13, Indians 5: 16 Walk-Off Thoughts on losses to the Twins, a lack of pitching and ejections

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 4, 2016

Here are 16 Walk-Off Thoughts on the Indians’ 13-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins Wednesday night.  

1. For the Indians, this series has been NSFW (Not Safe For Work). Their starting pitchers have given up at least six runs in all three games. The Twins have scored at least 10 runs and totaled at least 14 hits. It’s the first time Indians starting pitchers have failed to get to the fifth inning in three straight starts since 2012 (Jeanmar Gomez, Zach McAllister, Corey Kluber).

2. It’s been an ugly series for Indians pitching.

3. Said Trevor Bauer, who was hit hard Wednesday night, “It’s their series. They are hot as can be. They are covering every pitch and you try to make adjustments and limit the damage. I tried to pitch carefully early and not get the heart of the play. I walked a couple guys in the first inning but limited the damage there. I walked five guys tonight, I didn’t miss by much a couple inches here or there. Pretty much everything I tried didn’t work. It’s just one of those nights where it wasn’t for a lack of trying, wasn’t for a lack of competing, wasn’t for lack of preparation. The game plan and everything was good. It was their night.”

4. The Indians are now 4-8 against the last-place Twins and 26-8 against the other three American League Central teams. The Indians have struggled with the Twins all season, but this week, it’s been intensified.

5. Said manager Terry Francona, “Well you hear what we say, hitting can be contagious and you get guys on and the holes open and guys are moving and you’re playing with a lead. They’ve done that now three days in a row and done it well. They’ve really had their way with us. It’s not a fluke, they’ve just beat us around.”

6. The Indians’ position has been on a decline since the moment the trade deadline passed. Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer have been beaten up and Salazar has landed on the 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation.



7. It’s also been tough on the bullpen. The Indians needed Carrasco to go deeper into the game, and they really needed Bauer to at least throw six innings tonight. Because of it, the Indians after the game sent down Cody Anderson and Shawn Armstrong. Michael Clevinger will be called up tomorrow to start, and a second pitcher will make the trip to Cleveland as well.

8. Said Francona, “This has been a tough little stretch here this last three games. What we don't want to do is allow this to multiply and get into our bullpen. It’s why we had to make two roster moves tonight. I feel bad for that because I hate sending kids down when things don’t go right, but we have to protect our arms. Losses hurt, but if you couple that with then guys pitching on fumes, that’s never going to help so we tried desperately to find ways not to do that. To your question, yeah I think we’ll be fine. You have to play through tough times. It’s inevitable, it happens, you don’t want to go through it, it’s no fun, but it happens to everybody and I’m confident we’ll bounce back and we’ll be fine.”

More: Indians call up Shawn Armstrong, demote Austin Adams; Yan Gomes progressing

9. Meanwhile the Detroit Tigers are making it a race. While the Indians have been treading water since the All-Star break, the Tigers have been on a tear and have cut the lead to two games in the division. Now, the Indians have to fight through Thursday and get to New York for the weekend series.

10. Said Mike Napoil, “We’ve still got two months to go. We went through a really hot stretch, too. They’re playing good baseball. But we’ve got to take care of ourselves and get out there and try to win tomorrow. We’re not looking behind us. We’ve just got to go out there and play the game the right way.”

11. Frustrations boiled over Wednesday night. In the third, Lonnie Chisenhall nearly made a diving play that would have taken away a two-run single. The Indians challenged it and while seeing the replay on the video board, the Indians thought it showed that Chisenahall had caught it. When it was signaled that the play would stand as a single, pushing the Twins’ lead to 8-2, Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway each charged out of the dugout and argued the call. Bauer flipped the ball up and over his head. Jason Kipnis put his hands on his head in disbelief.

12. Francona and Callaway were ejected. In the fifth, after Abraham Almonte was involved in a close play, Corey Kluber was ejected from the dugout.

13. Said Francona, “I knew I was going to get thrown out because you can’t go out there and argue those. And I also know what he told me, I already knew, too. Once they make the call, it goes to New York and then they just listen. And I knew that. I just needed to express my frustration.”

14. Frustration has been the key word for the Indians this week.

15. Said Napoli, “Through 162 games, you’re going to have stretches like this; it’s about minimizing them, going what we have to do to make it go the other way. Nobody’s going to hang their heads in here. We’re going to go out there, have our game plan and try to execute and win a ballgame.”

16. Mike Napoli hit a home run for the fifth straight game, tying his career-best mark (2012, Texas). It also ties the longest streak in the majors this season with Chris Davis and Jay Bruce. He has 27 home runs this season and has continued to be one of the best free-agent values from this past offseason.

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Indians battered, beaten, frustrated in 13-5 loss to Minnesota Twins

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 3, 2016

Frustration ruled the Indians’ Wednesday night.

The Indians have been tormented by the last-place Minnesota Twins all year and this week, it has only been magnified. The starting rotation has been beaten up. The bullpen has been taxed.

And it was more of the same Wednesday night, as the Indians fell to the last-place Twins 13-5 for the third straight game.

Only this time, it included a couple of ejections, as tensions boiled over in the home dugout.

With the Indians already trailing 6-2 in the third inning and Trevor Bauer struggling to escape further damage, Max Kepler blooped a ball to shallow right field with two runners in scoring position. Lonnie Chisenhall charged in and dove for it, momentarily appearing to catch it, but it was ruled a two-run single. The Indians challenged the play and watched the replay on the video board during the review, believing Chisenhall had caught it.

When it was signaled that the play stood as a single, Indians manager Terry Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway each charged out of the dugout, both arguing the call. Bauer flipped the ball in the air and over his head. Jason Kipnis put his hands on his head in disbelief, along with other players on the field who reacted to it.

Francona and Callway were both ejected by home-plate umpire Manny Gonzalez, and Bauer’s night was over, now trailing 8-2 and still not out of the third inning.

In the fifth, emotions ran high again. Abraham Almonte was struck out by Twins starter Tyler Duffey, but the ball trickled away from catcher Juan Centeno. The play at first was close, but Almonte was called out. The Indians were upset again, and first-base umpire Jim Reynolds ended up ejecting starting pitcher Corey Kluber, who was in the dugout.

Bauer became the third straight Indians starter to allow at least six runs and throw fewer than four complete innings in this series, after Danny Salazar on Monday and Carlos Carrasco on Tuesday.

The Twins have scored at least 10 runs and totaled at least 14 hits in all three games.

In an attempt to make it close, Tyler Naquin drilled a two-run home run in the fifth inning that made it 8-4, his 13th of the season. Mike Napoli followed with a solo shot in the sixth, his 27th on the year, which marked the fifth straight game in which he’s hit a home run. The streak ties his career-high mark (2012, Texas) and puts him in a tie for the longest streak in the major leagues this season, joining Chris Davis and Jay Bruce.

But the Twins’ onslaught against the Indians continued from there, highlighted by Brian Dozier’s three-run home run in the ninth. The Detroit Tigers climbed to within two games of the Indians in the American League Central standings, but it’s the Twins who have given the Indians the most trouble.

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Indians call up RP Shawn Armstrong, demote RP Austin Adams; C Yan Gomes progressing

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 3, 2016

The Indians on Wednesday promoted relief pitcher Shawn Armstrong from Triple-A Columbus and demoted struggling reliever Austin Adams.

Adams this season has a 7.04 ERA in Cleveland and allowed a two-run home run in the ninth inning in Tuesday’s loss to the Minnesota Twins. Adams was a nice addition in the Indians’ bullpen when he was promoted in May but has has been roughed up in July.

Meanwhile, Armstrong, in Triple-A hasn’t allowed a run in his last 12 appearances dating back to July 3. He’s spent nearly the entire season at Triple-A—where he was named an All-Star—save for one appearance with Cleveland on May 31.  

Armstrong holds a 2.18 ERA and 13.5 k/9 ratio in Triple-A, as he’s gone through the tough process of being a reliever right on the major-league/Triple-A line.

“He’s been pretty good lately,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “A lot of times with relievers—especially young relievers—they go through ups and downs. I think Triple-A, especially when you think you are going to be the guy called up and you are not. I think there are a lot of guys that have nights like that in Triple-A which I understand.”

After Cody Allen, Andrew Miller and Bryan Shaw in the back-end of the bullpen, along with Zach McAllister and Dan Otero next in line, Armstrong joins Kyle Crockett and Cody Anderson in the bullpen.

The Indians will have to amend the active 25-man roster on Thursday to make room for Michael Clevinger, who is slated to start Thursday’s game with Danny Salazar now on the 15-day disabled list.

Gomes update

Indians catcher Yan Gomes is still early in the early stages of his rehab from a separated shoulder but progressing well, per Francona.

Gomes was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 18 with an expected recovery time of 4-to-8 weeks. Gomes is still working on returning the full range of motion in his shoulder.

“I would say he’s doing really good, considering where he started,” Francona said. “He’s got obviously a long way to go. He’s still trying to get the last bit of the swelling out of there, the fluid, because that gets in the way. … I will say, I get here early and he’s here every day. That’s not a surprise. He’ll be raring to go as quick as [he] can, but this thing, he can only do so much because he has to heal.”

The Indians hope that when Gomes does return, that the Silver Slugger-level catcher at the plate that he was in 2014 returns as well. If Gomes has to sit out, one small positive might be his being able to find a better place mentally.

“You’re laying on the ground in Minnesota and I think you’ve probably got 9,000 things going through your head besides being really frustrated with how things are going for him,” Francona said. “But now maybe gets a chance to sit back and take a deep breath and he’s got a goal now to get healthy and he wants to. So maybe when he comes back, kinda hit the reset button a little bit.”

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Twins 10, Indians 6: Ryan Lewis’ 13 Walk-Off Thoughts on Carlos Carrasco, Mike Napoli's HR, more

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 3, 2016

Here are 13 Walk-Off Thoughts on the Indians’ 10-6 loss to the Minnesota Twins Tuesday night.

1. It’s a good thing the Indians have had the Tigers’ number, because they can’t seem to handle the Twins. The Indians are now 4-7 against the last-place Twins and have been crushed two nights in a row.

2. Said Indians manager Terry Francona, “I don’t know what they’re doing against the rest of the league but they’ve played us really tough. I mean even the wins, for the most part they’ve been close games except for the couple where they’ve blown us out. They’ve played really well against us. I mean when we play them, I don’t look at someone’s record anyway, because it doesn’t matter, but they’ve definitely played good baseball against us.”

3. It’s been an impressive display of power by the Twins. On Tuesday the Indians punched back, but it wasn’t enough.

4. Said Francisco Lindor, “I don’t know what they’re doing against the rest of the league but they’ve played us really tough. I mean even the wins, for the most part they’ve been close games except for the couple where they’ve blown us out. They’ve played really well against us. I mean when we play them, I don’t look at someone’s record anyway, because it doesn’t matter, but they’ve definitely played good baseball against us.”

5. For the second straight night, the Twins pounded an Indians starting pitcher—this time Carlos Carrasco—and jumped out to a big lead. It’s the first time Indians starters have given up at least six runs in back-to-back outings in just over a year (Corey Kluber/Carrasco, July 24-25, 2015). Max Kepler is probably trying to find a way to stay in Cleveland, because he’s hit four home runs in 48 hours at Progressive Field.

6. It was the worst outing of Carrasco’s season, the first time he’s allowed more than four earned runs. It was a control issue for Carrasco Tuesday night.

7. Said Carrasco, “I think my first inning was good. I lost control my last two innings, with those four run innings. But you know what, I think I learned something from that. Just going to work really hard for my next start and I’m going to go from there. … I made mistakes on pitches. I’m supposed to throw inside on one guy and I throw it right down the middle. Another one, I threw a changeup and he took it out. I think I have to be better than that. Just try and look at more of my pitches. When you do something wrong, you are going to pay for it. That’s what happened.”



8. At this point, it’s scoreboard or bust for Mike Napoli. Amidst the Indians’ six-run fifth inning, which cut it to 8-6, Napoli crushed a mammoth home run that ended up three rows from the top of the bleachers. Some kid caught it, and he was in a seat that had no business having any chance of having a home run ball make it that high up. Per Statcast, it traveled 444 feet, but it was yanked and demolished. It’s the second time this season Napoli has nearly hit the scoreboard on the fly.

More: Indians place SP Danny Salazar on the 15-day DL with elbow inflammation

9. Napoli now has homered in four consecutive games, the second-longest streak of his career (five straight games, in 2012 with the Rangers). He’s now at 26 home runs through 98 games this season, becoming the first Indians hitter to reach that mark in fewer than 100 games since Travis Hafner did it in 2006.

10. Lindor finished 3-for-5 and now has 18 three-hit games, the most in the majors. He also nearly put the Indians up by a run in the sixth, but he missed a home run by a few feet, as it was caught on the warning track. He knew he missed it.

11. Said Lindor, “No. I knew right off the bat. I got under it. I told myself on the first pitch of the at-bat, a pitch up in the zone. I was too on top of it. I was too down, too choppy to it. I told myself, 'Get under it.' And that's exactly what I did. I knew as soon as I hit it that I missed it. It's part of the game. It would've been nice to come up big for the team and take the lead in that situation, but there's nothing I can do about it now.”

More: Indians OF Brandon Guyer excited to be added to a contender

12. The Indians have seen their lead in the American League Central trimmed to three games, as the Detroit Tigers are making it a race again. For now, the Indians are worried about themselves.

13. Said Lindor, “I'm worried about what we have in this clubhouse. I'll let you guys worry about that. I'll worry about what we have inside. I'll worry about how I play every day. At the end of the day, what's going to happen is going to happen. God has a plan. If we're going to be in the playoffs, that's God's plan. They could be up 10 [games] and we could just come right back. If that's not his plan, then we're not going to be in the playoffs. We have to continue to play the game the right way. We have to continue to work day in and day out and that's what we're doing. We had two rough days. We'll shake it off, come back tomorrow and play the way the Tribe plays.”

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Indians’ six-run inning not enough in 10-6 loss to Minnesota Twins

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 2, 2016

The Indians brought some fireworks with a thunderous inning, but it wasn’t enough in a 10-6 loss to the Minnesota Twins Tuesday night.

The Twins (42-64) had little trouble with the Indians’ starting pitcher for the second night in a row, jumping out to an 8-0 lead with dual four-run innings against Carlos Carrasco (7-5, 3.12 ERA).

Brian Dozier started their rally with a two-run home run in the third. Max Kepler, who slugged three home runs in Monday night’s game, added another two-run shot to make it 4-0.

With two on in the fourth, Dozier grounded out but scored Jorge Polanco, who had doubled and moved to third on a single. Joe Mauer followed with an RBI-double to left to make it 6-0 and Miguel Sano ended Carrasco’s nightmarish outing with a two-run double.

It was Carrasco’s worst start of the season and the first time this year he’s allowed more than four earned runs in any outing.

Trailing 8-0, Indians put together one of their best offensive innings this season in the fifth, and it included a home run that nearly hit the scoreboard.

With Abraham Almonte on second after a walk, Carlos Santana drilled a two-out, two-run home run, his 23rd of the season, to right field off Twins starter Kyle Gibson. Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis each singled, which set up Mike Napoli, who crushed a three-run home run that was caught by a fan sitting three rows from the top of the bleachers.

It was one of the more prodigious home runs hit at Progressive Field in recent memory, and it happened to be Napoli’s second-best attempt at reaching the scoreboard this season. It was his 26th home run this season, and it cut the Twins’ lead to 8-5.

The Indians (60-44) weren’t done. Jose Ramirez singled to right and came around to score from first on Lonnie Chisenhall’s double to right-center, making it 8-6 and completing a six-run inning, all with two outs.

For the rest of the night, though, the Indians’ offense could only muster a few close calls. With two on in the sixth, Lindor missed giving the Indians the lead by a few feet, driving a deep fly ball to the warning track in right-center field. In the eighth, Kipnis did the same with a runner on, but his game-tying attempt was caught on the warning track as well.

In the ninth, Eduardo Escobar homered off Austin Adams with Kepler on second base to push the Twins’ lead to 10-6 and bury the Indians’ furious comeback attempts.

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Indians place SP Danny Salazar on 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 2, 2016

The Indians on Tuesday placed All-Star starting pitcher Danny Salazar on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation.

He’s expected to miss 2-to-3 weeks and will be shut down for 5-to-7 days before resuming a throwing program.

Salazar hasn’t been the same pitcher in his last several starts, allowing 21 earned runs in 24 innings. He was hit hard again Monday night against the Minnesota Twins and underwent an MRI on his throwing elbow Tuesday morning.

“The good news is he came back structurally fine, which is really good, and I think was expected,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I think we’re pretty confident that just about when his DL time is up, he’ll be ready to resume starting again.”

Salazar said after Monday’s start that there was some discomfort in his elbow, but that he wasn’t sure what it was. He added that it felt “totally different” than when he needed Tommy John surgery in 2010.

“Even though he was maybe throwing 95, 97, it wasn’t quite the finish, because I think in the back of his head, he’s like, ‘Is this going to hurt a little bit?’ And I get it,” Francona said. “That’s the way they make their living, with their arm. So what we can do now is give him a couple weeks of a lot of work, a lot of training room stuff, and hopefully he comes back in a couple weeks and he’s the Danny we kind of relied on in the first half.”

Salazar was one of the leading contenders for the American League Cy Young Award leading up to the All-Star break and a key reason as to why the Indians held the best record in the AL the last couple weeks. He’s a crucial part of the Indians’ postseason push.

“We’re not seeing the Danny we’ve seen in the past, the conviction, the willingness to go out there and attack with his best stuff hasn’t been there for me,” said Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway Monday night. “It just seems like it’s not the same Danny when he’s out there. He usually has fun when he’s pitching. You’re not seeing that.”

Per Francona, the Indians will call up Michael Clevinger from Triple-A Columbus to start Thursday’s game at home against the Twins. Cody Anderson is still in the major-league bullpen, and it would have been difficult for him to be stretched out in time.

Salazar’s placement on the disabled list means the Indians don’t need a corresponding move to add outfielder Brandon Guyer, acquired in a trade from the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, to the active 25-man roster.

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Podcast: Did the Cleveland Indians do enough at the trade deadline?

By Dan Kadar Published: August 2, 2016
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The Cleveland Indians were aggressive at the MLB trade deadline, but did they do enough? The team traded for relief pitcher Andrew Miller and outfielder Brandon Guyer leading up to Monday's trade deadline.

On this week's Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com podcast, our Indians beat writer Ryan Lewis talks about every aspect of the trades and more regarding the Tribe.

MORE - Terry Francona: Indians front office ‘aced’ the trade deadline

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Indians SP Danny Salazar ‘hasn’t been himself,’ to have MRI on elbow Tuesday morning

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 1, 2016

Indians starting pitcher Danny Salazar will have a precautionary MRI on his throwing elbow Tuesday morning.

Salazar was hit hard in his start on Monday against the Minnesota Twins, surrendering six runs in two innings. It was another rough start in a rough stretch for Salazar, who has been feeling discomfort in his elbow.

After the game, Indians manager Terry Francona said the club is having Salazar undergo an MRI to see if they can identify an issue.

“He obviously doesn’t look like himself the last couple games, so what we’re going to do is we’re going to get him looked at tomorrow, mostly, I hope, just for his peace of mind,” Francona said. “Hopefully, [it’s] nothing and then we can move forward and I think Danny can relax a little bit and if there’s a need to look at it further, we can. I just think that makes sense because the last couple of outings, he hasn’t been himself.”

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Indians, Danny Salazar pounded by Twins 12-5

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 1, 2016

It was anything but an ideal night for two of the Indians’ All-Star pitchers, as they were roughed up by the Minnesota Twins 12-5 on Monday.

First, the Twins knocked around starting pitcher Danny Salazar. Salazar allowed six runs on three home runs and didn’t record an out in the third inning before being pulled by Indians manager Terry Francona.

Max Kepler hit two two-run home runs off Salazar and Eddie Rosario added a solo shot in the second inning. Salazar left after two-plus innings in favor of Austin Adams, who went on to give up a three-run triple to Jorge Polanco that put the Twins up 8-3.

It was the shortest outing of the season for Salazar (11-4, 3.38 ERA), who also struggled in his last start against Washington, when he allowed four runs in four innings. He’s also now allowed 21 earned runs in his last 24 innings pitched spanning a stretch of five starts.

In the sixth, with Cody Anderson on the mound, Kepler drilled his third home run of the night that brought two additional runs home, making it 10-3. It was Kepler’s first career three-home-run game and the fifth time in which an opponent hit three home runs in one game in Progressive Field history. The last instance came on Oct. 3, 2012, when the Chicago White Sox’s Dan Johnson pulled off the feat.

Indians (60-43) fans got their first glimpse of All-Star acquisition Andrew Miller in the eighth, but it wasn’t the type of debut they hoped for. Miller’s first batter in an Indians uniform was Joe Mauer, who promptly clubbed a solo home run to right field. Mauer, who has tormented the Indians before, finished with a four-hit game.

The Indians responded to the Twins’ two-run first inning but couldn’t keep up from there. With two outs against Twins (41-64) starting pitcher Jose Berrios (2-1, 8.57 ERA), Francisco Lindor singled and Mike Napoli was hit by a pitch. Jose Ramirez followed with an RBI-single to right field to make it 2-1. Lonnie Chisenhall sliced a two-run double down the left-field line, scoring Napoli and Ramirez from first with a head-first slide, giving the Indians a brief 3-2 lead.

In the eighth, with the game out of hand, Napoli added a towering two-run home run to center field, his team-leading 25th of the season.

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Andrew Miller shocked, excited by deal; Indians acquire Rays OF Brandon Guyer, DFA Juan Uribe

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 1, 2016

Andrew Miller woke up to his phone ringing Sunday morning. It was New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman informing him that he’d been traded to the Indians, which also meant moving his entire life to a new city.

It wasn’t a gentle way to wake up in the morning.

“I was shocked,” Miller said Monday in Cleveland. “It was 8 o’clock in the morning. But I think ultimately when everything settled in, I knew I was coming to a good place, a good team. That’s exciting. That’s where you want to be.”

Miller, an All-Star relief pitcher who’s under club control through the 2018 season, now bolsters the back-end of the Indians bullpen, which supports the American League’s top starting rotation.

“They have it going pretty good here,” Miller said. “Hopefully I can just contribute and make us even better. Ultimately, this is a good team. The starting rotation gets a ton of credit and deservedly so but the lineup is great. I know coming here and facing them on the other side was not a lot of fun.”

The remaining question was if Miller or Cody Allen would take on closing duties. Allen has been telling the club he’s willing to pitch in any role that’s needed. Miller echoed that sentiment on Monday.

“I’ll be a bullpen pitcher. Other than that, I don’t really know,” Miller said. “Wherever Tito asks me to pitch, I’ll pitch. I’ve been pretty consistent with the Yankees and hopefully that has shown. I’m going to be the same way here. However I can help the team and if we win games, that’s what is important.”

Francona didn’t name a starter on Monday, instead indicating that both could be used at different times, depending on the situation and opposing lineup.

“It’s really not that different. It’s not really rocket science, either,” Francona said. “The whole idea is to, when you have the game on the line, leverage situations, you want to use guys in the right spots. … We’re going to leverage those guys the best we can. And they’re all on board. They want to pitch. They know they’re going to pitch with the lead or when the game’s tied at home. And it’ll be fun.”

Outfield addition

The Indians made a second move ahead of Monday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline, acquiring Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Brandon Guyer from the Tampa Bay Rays for prospects Nathan Lukes and Jhonleider Salinas.

Guyer wasn’t one of the higher-priced names being thrown around in rumors around the deadline but fills a need in the Indians’ outfield as a right-handed bat who pummels left-handed pitching. He’s also under club control through the 2018 season as he goes through arbitration.

Guyer, who can play all three outfield positions, is hitting just .241 this season but against left-handed pitchers, he’s hitting .344 with a 1.082 OPS. He’ll be able to be paired with left-handed outfielders Lonnie Chisenhall and Tyler Naquin.

“Brandon fits our team really well, as a right-handed-hitting outfielder,” Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “He can play all three spots. He's been really effective against left-handed pitching. He's a great baserunner, a good defender, a great teammate. He's a really gritty player that plays the game the right way. So, we feel like he'll complement our group really well.”

In a corresponding move, the Indians on Monday designated veteran third baseman Juan Uribe for assignment. Uribe was a well-liked member of the clubhouse but his play recently took a turn for the worse, as his batting average dipped to .206 with little power and he struggled defensively.

“He’s a great guy, as everybody that has been around him knows,” said manager Terry Francona. “It was becoming increasingly hard to play him because he was having a tough time. And when he wasn’t playing, it’s not like he’s a guy that can really help off the bench a ton. So again, it wasn’t a fun thing to do because of how fond we are of him, but I think baseball-wise, it was the right thing to do.”

The move opens the door for Jose Ramirez, who’s been among the club’s better hitters while in a utility role, to find a more permanent home at third base for the time being.

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Terry Francona: Indians’ front office ‘aced’ the trade deadline

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 1, 2016

Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline came and went on Monday, with a flurry of moves around the league being completed throughout the day.

The Indians found themselves in a buyer’s position and acted aggressively, acquiring New York Yankees All-Star relief pitcher Andrew Miller on Sunday and Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Brandon Guyer on Monday.

The first move solidifies the back-end of the Indians’ bullpen and gives them one of the best 1-2 punches in the league with Miller and Cody Allen, along with Bryan Shaw before them. The second adds a hitter who can be a weapon against left-handed pitchers and helps balance the outfield mix with left-handed hitters Lonnie Chisenhall, Tyler Naquin and, when healthy, Michael Brantley.

Both moves not only improve the roster talent-wise, they also add versatility for manager Terry Francona.

“I thought they aced it,” Francona said of the Indians’ front office. “I really do. I think it’s pretty well-known how much we like our team. And they made it better. And I think it gets exciting, and I think the players in there really appreciate it. I know me and the coaches do. Again, the game doesn’t get played on paper, and we have two months now to go out and embrace a huge challenge. And it should be a lot of fun.”

The first-place Indians entered Monday 60-42 and owners of the best record in the American League. It afforded them the opportunity to bolster their claim as the AL’s best team this season and in the foreseeable future—both Miller and Guyer are under club control through the 2018 season. This time, the Indians found the right deal and pulled the trigger.

“I think we feel really good about the team that we have right now,” said president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti. “And it's not just about the deadline. It's about the group of guys that are in the clubhouse that put us in this position. I think they deserve a lot of the credit for helping shape our approach to the deadline, which was to try to be aggressive and find players that complemented the group that was already here. We went into the deadline with a set of goals and we think we largely were able to accomplish those. You're never satisfied. We talk about it all the time. We're always looking for ways to be better, but we do feel good about what we were able to accomplish.”

The Indians’ 2016 trade deadline was also marred with All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy exercising his no-trade clause and vetoing an agreed-upon deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. The Indians were set to send four minor-leaguers to the Brewers for one of the better all-around catchers in baseball, but citing playing time concerns in 2017, Lucroy declined to come to Cleveland.

Instead, Lucroy was traded on Monday to possibly the Indians’ top competition in the American League, the Texas Rangers. Lucroy accepted that deal.

The Indians will continue on with Roberto Perez and Chris Gimenez manning the catcher’s spot until Yan Gomes returns from the disabled list. The Indians were spurned by Lucroy, but Francona is fine with the group the Indians have already on the roster, despite the offensive slumps all three have been in this year.
“I think the best way I can put it is the two guys we have right now, we’ve got Roberto and we’ve got G, Gimenez, I have no problem whatsoever, I mean zero, having those guys be our catchers until Gomer comes back,” Francona said. “It’s not like coach-speak or manager-speak, that’s how I feel. … So, I guess the best way to put it, I like our team. I’m not that shook up about it. In fact, I’m not shook up at all.”

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Video: Chris Antonetti, Mike Chernoff discuss the trade deadline, Andrew Miller, Brandon Guyer

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 1, 2016

The Indians made two deals at this year’s trade deadline, acquiring All-Star relief pitcher Andrew Miller from the New York Yankees and outfielder Brandon Guyer from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Here is video of Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti and general manager Mike Chernoff discussing the two deals and the club moving forward.

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Video: Indians RP Andrew Miller on the trade, coming to Cleveland

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 1, 2016

The Indians acquired All-Star relief pitcher Andrew Miller on Sunday in a blockbuster deal prior to the trade deadline.

Here is Miller's introductory press conference with reporters in Cleveland.

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Indians acquire Tampa Bay OF Brandon Guyer, designate 3B Juan Uribe for assignment

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 1, 2016
Brandon Guyer

Ahead of Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline, the Indians acquired outfielder Brandon Guyer from the Tampa Bay Rays for two prospects and designated third baseman Juan Uribe for assignment.

Guyer, 30, is a right-handed outfielder who can play all three spots and hits left-handed pitching especially well. This season Guyer is hitting .344 with a 1.082 OPS against lefties, which allows the Indians to pair him and Rajai Davis with left-handed outfielders Lonnie Chisenhall and Tyler Naquin.

The Indians are sending the Rays two prospects, outfielder Nathan Lukes and pitcher Jhonleider Salinas.

Uribe was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Guyer and on the 25-man roster for Andrew Miller. A corresponding move on the 25-man roster will still have to be made once Guyer is in Cleveland.

Uribe has struggled lately, now hitting .206 with seven home runs and 25 RBI this season on top of a few defensive miscues. The move would allow Jose Ramirez to find regular playing time at third base.

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