After yesterday’s 3-2 loss in a make up game against the Boston Red Sox, the whispers surrounding the Cleveland Indians started up again.
The Indians cannot beat good teams.
There are nine teams in the American League that have records over .500 and the Tribe is 23-25 against those opponents. That sounds okay, until you see that 11 of those victories and only one of the losses came versus the Detroit Tigers.
Against all the other winning teams in the league, the Tribe is 12-24.
Overall, the best records against teams over the .500 mark is owned by the Texas Rangers, who are 39-22, buoyed by an 11-2 mark vs. Houston. Toronto is next at 37-26, as they are 21-14 against the other three contenders in the AL East, the Red Sox, Orioles, and Yankees.
That would make it seem that indeed Terry Francona’s squad is struggling against good teams.
Here is a breakdown against each team, excluding the Tigers.
Texas (1-2, all games in Cleveland): The Rangers were here on Memorial Day and hammered both Josh Tomlin and Corey Kluber, defeating them 9-2 and 7-3 respectively. Trevor Bauer stemmed the tide in the finale, but Cody Allen blew the save and the Indians won in 11 innings.
Cleveland travels to Texas at the end of the month, but the Rangers saw only one of the Indians’ best three starters.
Seattle (3-4, 1-2 at CLE, 2-2 on the road): Carlos Carrasco beat the Mariners 3-2, and Danny Salazar lost a 2-1 decision, before the Mariners won in extras on a Robinson Cano HR off Allen in a game started by Cody Anderson.
In Seattle, Bauer won the opener 3-1, before Anderson lost 7-1 and Carrasco lost 5-0. Tomlin pitched well in the last game, with Cleveland scoring three in the 8th for the win.
One game was a bullpen loss, and Seattle has seen the “Big Three” times. Wouldn’t say Tribe was dominated.
Houston (1-2, all on road): The Astros got to Kluber big time winning 7-1, before Bauer won the second game 4-0. The last game went 16 innings with Anderson giving up a game winning HR.
The Astros come to Cleveland on Labor Day, and the last game of the series could’ve went either way.
Baltimore (1-5, 1-2 in CLE, swept in the Charm City): The Birds won two of three at Progressive Field taking advantage of the Indians’ bullpen. Salazar got the win. The other starters were Bauer and Mike Clevinger.
The Tribe offense was stymied on the road, scoring just six runs in the three game series, the last game was a walk off. Bauer, Tomlin, and Kluber started.
We would agree the Orioles have dominated the Indians.
Boston (2-4, 1-2 in both CLE and BOS): The Sox won the season opener vs. Kluber and lost late in a game started by Carrasco.
At Fenway, Kluber shutdown Boston, but Bauer and Salazar struggled before the make up game loss yesterday in which Tomlin pitched well.
This is a little concerning as well.
Toronto (2-2, all in Canada): Carrasco carved up the Jays in the series opener and the second game was the 19 inning epic battle started by Tomlin.
Because of that game, Zack McAllister was pressed into service in the third game and Kluber simply didn’t have it in the finale.
The Jays are here this weekend so we will get a truer test.
New York (2-5, 1-3 in CLE, 1-2 in the Bronx): The series in Cleveland was right after the 14 game winning streak, and the Tribe was on fumes heading into the All Star break.
At Yankee Stadium, Tomlin struggled, but Kluber shutdown the Yanks bats. The third game was a tough 3-2 loss by Carrasco.
The Yankees aren’t really a contender for a division title, and the performance just before the break makes this hard to evaluate.
The only excuse we would make is the Cleveland bullpen is much better with the arrival of Andrew Miller. We see four games blown late because of the relief corps. Reversing these games makes the Tribe 20-24 on the year against these teams.
These teams have also taken advantage of the back of the Indians’ rotation, winning 10 of the 15 games started by pitchers other than Kluber, Carrasco, or Salazar.
Tomlin, in particular, has struggled against these teams, with the Tribe winning just two games he started against these squads.
The good news is outside of the Tigers (seven more games), there aren’t too many games left vs. these teams, only nine, and six of those (Toronto and Houston) are at home.
Francona’s team struggled against the Orioles and Red Sox, and we can’t come to a conclusion against Toronto or Texas.
Otherwise, you shouldn’t be too concerned about the lack of success against the AL’s better teams. Remember, in 2007, the Yankees beat the Indians in all six games in the regular season, only to lose in the Division Series three games to one.