The Cleveland Indians dropped the series finale Sunday to the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 4-1, taking the series two games to one overall. However, a disturbing trend continued for the Tribe, as the lineup remained largely stagnant against Orioles starter Kevin Gausman and the O’s formidable pen.
The Indians’ rotation has come around over the last few weeks, posting a 1.02 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and .168 opponents’ average in the past seven games (44 IP). Danny Salazar pitched decently, going five strong innings and surrendering two earned runs on four hits and one walk. On Saturday, Carlos Carrasco threw seven scoreless innings, likely earning himself a spot in the rotation for the foreseeable future. Though the Tribe’s pitching staff has been largely inconsistent this year, it seems it is moving towards solidarity as the season comes to a close.
Unfortunately, despite ranking sixth in the American League in runs scored, the Cleveland lineup has struggled since Nick Swisher and David Murphy were placed on the DL last week. Over the last 11 games, the Tribe has averaged only 2.7 runs per game, negating the vast improvements made by the starting rotation.
Today, the Indians mustered only two hits, back-to-back shots by Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis in the fourth inning that produced Cleveland’s only run. The Tribe went 0-for-24 aside from those two hits, giving Salazar little room to work with on the hill. It proved to be another missed opportunity for a series sweep for the Indians.
The Indians are battling to remain relevant in the AL Wild Card and Central Division races, and after their loss today they sit six games back of the Kansas City Royals in the division and five games behind the Seattle Mariners in the Wild Card.
To compete and pull themselves into serious contention, the Tribe will need to find their bats quickly, as they are running out of time and opportunities.