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Indians top Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2, win fifth game in a row

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 4, 2015

Brandon Moss had the Indians’ biggest hit and their best play in the field and Michael Bourn had three RBI in a 5-2 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates at a rainy PNC Park Friday night.

After David Murphy singled to right field, Moss drove a Charlie Morton offering over the fence in left-field for an opposite-field home run, his 14th of the season, to give the Indians a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning.

The Indians added on in the fourth. This time, it was started by Moss, who was hit in the ankle with a pitch. Yan Gomes then singled to left field but was too aggressive trying to turn a single into a double. He was thrown out, but Moss advanced to third. Two batters later, Bourn doubled to right field, putting the Indians up 3-0.

Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen came back in the bottom half of the fourth with a two-run home run of his own, this one to center field and off of starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (7-5).

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Indians' Terry Francona ranked as third-best manager per ESPN poll of scouts, executives, media

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 3, 2015

Indians manager Terry Francona was ranked as the third-best manager in the game today, according to a poll put together by ESPN.

ESPN surveyed 50 scouts, front-office executives, big league coaches and media analysts, asking them to select the game’s best managers in several categories. Overall, San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy was named the best manager in baseball with 24.2 percent of the vote. Baltimore’s Buck Showalter came in second at 21.5 percent. Francona was third, with 12.8, just ahead of Chicago Cubs skipper Joe Maddon (12.5). Those four led in nearly every category, creating a clear separation from the rest of the pack.

Francona was also named the best in the game at relating to his players, earning 24.2 percent of the vote. He came in sixth in handling a pitching staff, fourth in “best leader” and second in developing young players, behind only Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle (15-15.3 percent). And when 177 players were asked if you could play for one manager besides their own, Francona was again third, garnering seven percent of that vote.

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Carlos Carrasco misses no-hitter by one strike in Indians' 8-1 win over Tampa Bay

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 1, 2015

Carlos Carrasco was one strike away.

With two outs in the ninth and two strikes in the count, Tampa Bay’s Joey Butler singled to right field just over a leaping Jason Kipnis’ glove. That was the Rays’ first hit of the game, as Carrasco was electric in an 8-1 Indians win.

He struck out 13, walked two and hit one in his 8 2/3 innings, improving to 10-6 this season. He’s just the fifth pitcher in baseball this season to reach 10 wins.

The Indians have had 14 no-hitters in their history, the last belonging to Len Barker in 1981 against Toronto. Carrasco was only a pitch away from being No. 15.

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

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 30, 2015

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

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

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

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

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 30, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 29, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 29, 2015

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

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

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

Now, back to baseball.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 24, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More: Terry Francona had 17 popsicles the other night

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

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

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

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

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 24, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 24, 2015

Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis is still hitting.

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

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

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