The Cleveland Indians, (or Cleveland baseball team if you prefer), finally began their season from the corner of Carnegie and Ontario on July 24. The tribe has played six games thus far, holds a 4-2 record and fans have warranted feelings of optimism.
The biggest headline of these first six games has been the starting pitching. Due to a doubleheader, Adam Plutko who is a starting pitcher, but made the roster in the bullpen also got to start a game. Over these starts, each tribe starter has pitched very well. Shane Bieber started the year giving up zero earned runs on four hits over six innings while racking up 14 strikeouts. Mike Clevinger in a tough no-decision gave up two earned runs over seven innings and had 10 strikeouts. The tribe lost 3-2 in 10 innings and failed to score in key moments in the 9th and 10th innings. Cookie Carrasco was electric giving up two earned runs and striking out 10 batters over six innings. Aaron Civale started the tribe’s fourth game and had a very good outing. He allowed seven hits and gave up two earned runs over six innings. He had a career-high with nine strikeouts. Adam Plutko started the second game of a doubleheader and had a good efficient win and threw six solid innings. Zach Plesac took the bump in the series finale and pitched an absolute gem. He pitched eight shutout innings, striking out 11, and allowing just three hits. Sadly the bats were cold as it was tied up and zero entering the 9th and Brad Hand and Adam Cimber each struggled out of the pen. Although Cimber gets a pass as he entered with the bases loaded and one out.
On top of the electric pitching, the bats have been pretty good. In the Tribes two losses themes of not hitting in key spots are major, but that’s bound to happen and should improve. The first five in our lineup of Cesar Hernandez, Jose Ramirez, Frankie Lindor, Carlos Santana, and Franmill Reyes looks to be very good. Frankie’s bat is coming around after a slow start, and Jose has looked like an AL MVP candidate thus far. The bullpen has been questionable. Before his awful appearance yesterday Brad Hand was 2/2 on save opportunities, but both were sloppy. However, youngsters Cam Hill and James Karinchak have both looked very good. Those two along with the injured Emmanuel Clase appear to be the future of this bullpen.
Overall, the Tribe has looked good, and there’s a lot of reason for confidence going forward. They head to Minnesota for a four-game series there. Afterward, they have four games with Cincinnati, two in Cincy and two in Cleveland.