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Indians blow late lead in 4-2 loss to Minnesota Twins

By Ryan Lewis Published: October 1, 2015

A strong start by Trevor Bauer was spoiled by a lame-duck offense and an untrustworthy bullpen, as the Indians threw away a late lead and lost 4-2 to the Minnesota Twins Thursday night at Progressive Field.

The Indians were quietly eliminated from the postseason picture on Wednesday. A day later, they fell to the Twins (83-76) almost as quietly, as they still fight for their own postseason lives.

Still, they entered the ninth inning tied 2-2. Jose Ramirez, who irked the Twins on Wednesday with a bat-flip after a three-run home run, committed the throwing error that opened the door for the Twins’ offense with only one out in the inning. Facing Cody Allen, Eddie Rosario followed it with a single to right field, and he advanced to second base when Lonnie Chisenhall’s throw hit Eduardo Nunez, who slid into third safely.

With Torii Hunter at the plate, Allen let go of a curveball that landed well short in the dirt and got away from catcher Roberto Perez, allowing the Twins to take a 3-2 lead. Hunter then added a sacrifice fly to right field to make it 4-2.

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Indians 10, Twins 2: Wednesday’s One Last Thing on Jose Ramirez’s “good swing, poor judgement”

By Ryan Lewis Published: October 1, 2015

The Indians beat the Minnesota Twins 10-2 Wednesday night to cap a doubleheader that began with a 7-1 loss.

And yet, with one swing and a bat-flip, the effects of the latter game will likely leak to Thursday.

Wednesday’s One Last Thing: Jose Ramirez’s bat flip really ticked off the Twins, and the Indians didn’t seem to love it either.

In the eighth inning of the Indians’ 10-2 win Wednesday night, Jose Ramirez launched a three-run home run off of Twins pitcher Ricky Nolasco. But it wasn’t the swing that the Twins will remember. It’s what came afterward.

As he watched his home run, Ramirez held his bat high, jogged a couple of steps and then flipped it toward the Twins’ dugout. He added his own exclamation point to his home run, and it wasn’t received very well. Several members of the Twins immediately ran to the top step of the dugout and were yelling at Ramirez when he crossed home plate.

Nolasco reportedly called the bat-flip a “horse****” move and that, “He’ll get his, don’t worry.” Indians manager Terry Francona didn’t seem to be thrilled with it either.

“Nice, good swing. Poor judgement,” Francona said. “I think hitting the home run is enough. He’ll learn—hopefully not the hard way—but he’ll learn.”

More: Indians to shut down LF Michael Brantley with shoulder inflammation.

Ramirez said he wasn’t trying to show the Twins up, though that’s certainly how they took it. Rather, he said he got caught up in the moment.

“I noticed that they got a little bit upset because of my reaction, but sometimes the emotion in the game possess you,” Ramirez said via Danny Salazar, who was translating.

In the ninth inning, Eddie Rosario hit a home run of his own and had some words for Ramirez when he rounded second base.

Ramirez said he didn’t understand what Rosario said. And Francisco Lindor declined to say what he heard.

“Baseball player stuff,” Lindor said. “No one needs to know. Nothing bad, though.”

The Indians might have been fortunate that that was the only retaliation Wednesday night. Nolasco reportedly said after the game that he didn’t see the initial bat-flip and wasn’t aware it had happened until he got back to the dugout.

Had he seen it at the time, considering the reaction of the Twins’ dugout, the ending to Wednesday night’s game might have included a swift response. The worry for the Indians is that Lindor, the team’s prized shortstop and one of the biggest pieces to their future, was strolling into the batter’s box after Ramirez. Putting Lindor in a position to possibly get a fastball between the ribs isn’t ideal.

“I was worried a little bit when I saw Lindor at the plate,” Ramirez said. “I’m not trying to put anybody at risk.”

In terms of possible retaliation, Ramirez said he’ll take whatever comes.

“If they hit me, I’m going to take it,” he said.

Francona hopes next time, it’ll just be the home run.

“It’s not really what we’re looking for, because it was a beautiful swing,” Francona said. “I’d rather talk about that.”

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Indians split doubleheader with Minnesota Twins

By Ryan Lewis Published: September 30, 2015

Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco struggled in the first game before Cody Anderson was terrific in the second, and the results followed those performances as the Indians split their doubleheader with the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.

In the first game, Carrasco was knocked around early and the offense struggled to mount any kind of rally in a 7-1 loss.

Carrasco (14-12) lasted just three innings, allowing five runs on five hits and striking out five. He allowed a solo home run in the first inning to Twins first baseman Joe Mauer and was then knocked around in the fourth inning, unable to record an out.

Trevor Plouffe made it 2-0 with an RBI single to left field and later, with the bases loaded, Torii Hunter continued his onslaught against Indians pitching this season with a bases-clearing double, extending the Twins’ lead to 5-0.

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Indians to shut down LF Michael Brantley for remainder of season with shoulder inflammation

By Ryan Lewis Published: September 30, 2015

The Indians on Wednesday announced that left fielder Michael Brantley will be shut down for the remainder of the 2015 season.

Brantley injured his right shoulder diving for a ball in the Indians’ 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Sept. 22. An MRI Tuesday night revealed inflammation in that shoulder and that Brantley would need a cortisone shot. Brantley will receive the shot later today, effectively ending his season.

After resting, Brantley will go through normal activities to make sure his shoulder is fully healed heading into the offseason. Barring a miracle and an Indians’ bid to the postseason, that will be too late for the regular season.

Brantley will end the year hitting .310 with 15 home runs, 45 doubles and 84 RBI. He has a WAR, per FanGraphs, of 3.8.

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Tuesday night’s Cleveland Indians-Minnesota Twins game postponed; Traditional doubleheader Wednesday

By Ryan Lewis Published: September 30, 2015

The Indians’ game with the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night was postponed due to rain.

The Indians and Twins will play a traditional doubleheader Wednesday starting at 4:10 p.m, meaning the second game will start approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. The gates at Progressive Field will open at 3:30 p.m.

The Indians will throw Carlos Carrasco in the first game and then Cody Anderson in the second. The Twins will counter with Kyle Gibson and Mike Pelfrey.

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Twins 4, Indians 2: Monday’s One Last Thing on Jason Kipnis trying to find some team energy

By Ryan Lewis Published: September 28, 2015

The Indians lost a crucial game to the Minnesota Twins 4-2 Monday night.

Corey Kluber was knocked around early and the Indians’ offense struggled to figure out Tommy Milone. The loss was a crushing blow to the Indians’ postseason chances, which were already dwindling.

Monday’s One Last Thing: The Indians came out flat and Jason Kipnis was trying to stir up some energy when the team badly needed it.

The Indians didn’t have as much energy as Kipnis would have liked on Monday night. Being right on the cusp of being eliminated from postseason contention and facing one of the teams the Indians have to beat isn’t the right time to be low on energy.

In the sixth inning, Kipnis drove a ball to deep center that Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks couldn’t haul in. The ball rolled away and Kipnis rounded third, headed for an inside-the-park home run. With the Indians being down by three runs and there being no outs, Indians third base coach Mike Sarbaugh held Kipnis at third. When he got there, Kipnis looked toward the Indians’ dugout, waved his hand as if to get them on their feet and yelled, “Let’s go.”

“I was trying. It was a little low,” Kipnis said of the energy Monday night, not helped by there being only 10,007 fans in attendance. “Not many people here tonight, but not much energy in our dugout either. You can’t let it affect you at all. We’ve got our business to handle, we’ve got to take care of it. If you felt the way the game was going and the energy throughout the crowd and throughout our dugout, it was low the first couple innings. I was trying to do whatever I could. Jolt anything.”

More: The mentoring of Francisco Lindor is still on-going

The Indians’ attendance woes obviously aren't anything new. But when a team is at the end of September in a wild card chase, the empty seats end up being louder than the ones with fans in them.

Kipnis wasn’t happy with the energy level of the players inside that dugout.

“It hurts, it hurts,” he said of the loss. “I thought we could have came out with a little more energy. I don’t know. I just thought we could have done a better job all around. I think the way the Twins came out, obviously you can’t just force the issue and say, “Hey, let’s go get a double, a double and a home run” or something like that. But Kluber limited them and did his job, held them down the rest of the way and kept us in the game. We should have scored some more runs off their pitcher and I thought we could have done a better job.”

This is about the worst time for the Indians to be low on energy. Especially when being eliminated from the postseason is near.

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Indians, Corey Kluber knocked around in 4-2 loss to Minnesota Twins

By Ryan Lewis Published: September 28, 2015

The Indians entered this current series likely needing a sweep and quite a bit of help from other teams to pull off a long-shot comeback and climb back into the postseason picture.

That dream lasted about 15 minutes into Monday night, as ace Corey Kluber and the Indians were knocked around in a 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field Monday night.

The damage from the Twins’ bats was almost immediate. With two outs, Joe Mauer doubled off the wall in left-center and Miguel Sano followed with a double off his own that nearly his the same spot, giving the Twins (81-75) a 1-0 lead.

Trevor Plouffe then crushed a Kluber offering into the seats above the left-field wall that Mauer and Sano had just peppered, pushing the Twins to a 3-0 advantage before the Indians had a chance to bat.

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Indians nearing insurmountable deficit in season’s final week, likely need to repeat end to 2013

By Ryan Lewis Published: September 27, 2015

The final week of the 2015 regular season gets underway on Monday but on Sunday, the Indians might have been delivered the final knockout blow to their realistic postseason hopes.

The Indians fell to the Kansas City Royals 3-0. Equally important, all three of the other teams involved in the chase for the second and final wild card spot won.

The Houston Astros beat the Texas Rangers 4-2. The Los Angeles Angles beat the Seattle Mariners 3-2 to remain only a half-game back. And the Minnesota Twins beat the Detroit Tigers 7-1 and are 1.5 games back.

The Indians, with Sunday’s loss, fell to 4 games back of Houston. It’s a wide margin to make up for a team that’s running out of time. And it’s an especially wide margin considering the Indians need to make up significant ground on three times, not just one.

Stranger things have happened—like the Indians winning 10 consecutive games to make the postseason in 2013—but the odds aren’t in their favor. Those types of runs don’t come around very often, and even if it did this week, it still might not be enough.

The Indians will face the Twins four times and the Boston Red Sox three times and likely need to win all of their remaining games—a sweep in the Twins series is necessary to put more control in their own hands. They then need the Astros and Angels to both falter down the stretch. The Astros have three-game series against Seattle and Arizona and the Angels have Oakland for three games and the Rangers for four.

An important note: As of today, the Astros have played two more games than the Indians, as they have an off-day on Thursday and the Indians have yet to have a game rescheduled from their series with Detroit.

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Carlos Carrasco throws one-hitter, Indians cruise to 6-0 win against Kansas City Royals

By Ryan Lewis Published: September 25, 2015

Carlos Carrasco threw one of the best outings of his career and the Indians easily dispatched the Kansas City Royals 6-0 Friday night.

Carrasco (14-11) allowed just one hit over nine shutout innings to go with 15 strikeouts. He had a no-hitter into the seventh inning until Alex Rios singled to center field.

Jose Ramirez hit a solo home run with one out in the first inning in what turned out to be all the offensive support Carrasco would need. In the second inning, Abraham Almonte added a two-run home run.

Roberto Perez hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning and Francisco Lindor drove in a run with a fielder’s choice in the ninth.

The win brought the Indians back to .500 at 76-76 this season.

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Indians get off to quick start, beat Minnesota Twins 6-3

By Ryan Lewis Published: September 24, 2015

The Indians avoided a three-game sweep and beat the Minnesota Twins 6-3 Thursday night.

Jason Kipnis started the game with a lead-off home run in the first inning and Lonnie Chisenhall followed with a two-RBI single a few batters later, giving the Indians a quick 3-0 lead.

In the third inning, Carlos Santana added three more with a three-run home run to right field.

Indians (75-76) Starting pitcher Cody Anderson (6-3) avoided trouble for much of the night, allowing just one run on 10 hits and striking out four in 6 2/3 innings pitched. Bryan Shaw was roughed up by the Twins (78-74) in the eighth for two runs and Cody Allen worked the ninth and notched his 32nd save of the season.

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