Over 20 months after the trade that brought Josh Naylor, Cal Quantrill, Austin Hedges and Owen Miller to Cleveland, Mike Clevinger returns to Progressive Field today for the first game of a double-header at 1:10 PM.
Since the trade, Clevinger has pitched in just four games and 19 total innings. In those games, he recorded two wins and a 2.84 ERA. Tonight, the 31-year-old plans to make his first appearance since needing the Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2021 season.
With Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco, Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac, Clevinger was a part of a powerhouse pitching rotation in 2020. In fact, at the time, the Indians’ rotation lead the league with an outstanding 2.43 ERA. Unfortunately, Clevinger upset the rest of the locker room when he and Zach Plesac, violated Covid-19 protocols by leaving the team hotel in Chicago, ultimately leading to his exit from the talented squad.
In five years with Cleveland, Clevinger appeared in 101 games for the Indians. Earning a record of 42-22 and posting a 3.2 ERA in his time here, the right-handed pitcher definitely made an impact while playing in The Land. One of the most memorable moments of Clevinger’s career with the team was when he made his first postseason appearance in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Even though the Blue Jays were able to steal that game, Clevinger became a part of the historic 2016 World Series run.
Following the incredible, nine-strikeouts in five innings, performance in Game 3 of the 2018 AL Divisional Series against the Astros, Clevinger expressed his love for Progressive Field: “The feeling of the stadium, the crowd, the volume… it’s an adrenaline rush you’ll chase for the rest of your career if you taste it.” Clevinger’s return to Progressive comes against former teammate, Zach Plesac.
Coming off of a sweep in Oakland against the Athletics, the Guardians look to remain hot ahead of tonight’s matchup. Standing at 10-12 and 3.5 games back in the AL Central Division, the Guards need to keep on winning. With this being Clevinger’s first start since his career-altering injury, expect him to be capped at around five innings. Love him or not, Mike Clevinger’s time in Cleveland was certainly a fun one to watch and the effect he had on the team should not be taken for granted. Welcome home, Mike.
*This article was posted by a student from Solon High School doing his Senior Project with Cleveland Sports Talk*