With the Indians just 2.5 games back in the AL Wild Card race, it's clear that this season is far from over. The Tribe will likely stay in contention all through September and a big reason for that is the team's starting rotation. The rotation has been especially impressive, and while it's played a key role in the team's success this year, it will probably play an even bigger role in the team's chances for contention in future years. Join the IBI's Steve Orbanek as he ponders that thought in this week's edition of Orbiting Cleveland.
As of August 22nd the Indians sit two and a half games behind Oakland in the wild card race and five games behind Detroit in the American League Central. According to Baseball Prospectus the Indians playoff odds sit at 33.2%. While the Indians are still in the division race, the IBI's Michael Hattery compares the Indians to the team they are chasing for the second wildcard, the Oakland A's.
Even the most emotionally distant type of Indians fan felt as if Christmas came on December 23rd when Nick Swisher signed with the Tribe. Swisher brought a couple of things, most notably being leadership, an infectious smile and an impressive track record of production stability. Unfortunately for Swisher, the hype of his signing as well as irrational expectations has created derision and criticism of his performance that may not be entirely fair. The IBI's Michael Hattery breaks down Swisher's performance this season.
The Indians were able to complete a much needed three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday with a strong pitching performance from Justin Masterson and a great relief effort by Rich Hill, Cody Allen, and Chris Perez picking up his 20th save on the season. The IBI's Michael Goodman takes a brief look at the game, but then dissects the remaining schedules for all the AL playoff contenders.
Even the bright sun of Tinseltown couldn't out shine the blazing Tribe. A two-run homer by the Tribe first baseman and another quality start from ace Justin Masterson (14-9, 3.50 ERA) was more than enough against the last place Angles, as the Indians defeated the Halos 3-1 to sweep the three-game series. Join IBI's Indians beat reporter Jim Berdysz as he recaps the action.
To most fans, right-hander Chris Perez is a hothead with a loud mouth who needs to learn how to shut up. While that may be true, what is going unseen is the evolution of Perez. Despite all of the off-the-field drama, there is a lot more to “Pure Rage” Perez than a grip-and-rip approach. Fans may view him as an idiot, but the truth is that Perez has constantly tweaked and adjusted his pitching style in order to be effective. Join Jim Piascik as he breaks down the evolution of Chris Perez.
It was the most exciting, frustrating, boring and astonishing night of baseball that most Cleveland fans probably will ever see. After the Indians tied the game at one in the seventh, the score would hold until the 14th inning as both teams failed to capitalize on opportunities. Drew Stubbs proved to be the hero as he broke through with a two-run homer in the 14th. Join the IBI's Jake Dungan as he recaps a late-night 4-1 Tribe win.
It may have taken five hours and 17 minutes to complete, but in the eyes of Carlos Carrasco, it seemed more like 783 days. Having not won a game since June 29, 2011, Carrasco and the Indians came out on top in a 14 inning battle at Angel Stadium early Wednesday morning. When the dust settled and the clock struck 3:30 a.m. on the East Coast, the Tribe took down L.A. for the second straight night, 4-1.
The Indians announced on Tuesday morning that Triple-A Columbus right-handed pitcher Diasuke Matsuzaka requested and was granted his release from his minor league contract with the Indians. He is now a free agent.
As streaky as this Indians offense has been this season, they’ve proven that it doesn’t take much to break out of a slump. While Monday night alone was no definite indication that the offense was on the cusp of another hot streak, they still put up a crooked number against one of the top pitchers in the league. A four-run fourth backed up by solid pitching by Zach McAllister gave the Indians a series opening win over the Angels.
Losing two of three to the Oakland A's over the weekend, the Indians traveled 370 miles down Interstate 5 looking for some help from the Angels to get them back on track. Great starting pitching and timely hitting became the answer for the Tribe as they easily took down of the Halos in La-La Land, 5-2.
Playing on the road in the MLB is never easy, especially playing on the road on the West Coast, but that is unfortunately the type of road trip that the Cleveland Indians are on right now. The Indians struggled against the Oakland A's this past week, and the team will now face another opponent out west in the Angels. The games will be pivotal as the Tribe remains in the thick of the Wild Card chase. Before tonight's contest though, join the IBI's Steve Orbanek as he recaps the week that was in Notes From the Wigwam.
Things were far from bright for the Indians on the Bright Side of the Bay Sunday afternoon. Tying the game at three in the fifth inning, Oakland rallied back to score four unanswered runs over their final four frames as they took the series finale against the Tribe, 7-3. No quality start from left-hander Scott Kazmir (7-6, 4.39 ERA) and more dismal production from anemic Cleveland offense easily led to another defeat, as the team has now dropped nine of their last 13 ballgames.
Chris Young and Alberto Callaspo each hit solo home runs off Scott Kazmir in the fifth as the A's beat the Indians 7-3 Sunday in the rubber match of the three-game series. With the loss, the Indians are now 3-3 on their current road trip. Cleveland is now seven games behind the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central and 4.5 games behind in the Wild Card. Join the IBI's Nathan Kemp as he recaps the loss.
The 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider book featuring the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is now available. Also, previous editions from 2008-2012 are also available at a discounted rate. Just click on the book image for more information. Thanks again for all the support!