Indians' Francona underwent surgeries during health scare
CLEVELAND – Terry Francona's mind briefly wandered to a life without baseball while he battled through a major health scare. “Some days when I was extremely frustrated, the thought crossed my mind,” the Indians manager said. “It was kind of a rough time,” Francona said on a Zoom call from his home in Arizona. As much as he wanted to come back during the final weeks and postseason, Francona wasn't healthy enough to return. From his downtown apartment, Francona watched the Indians on TV and his frustration only grew because the broadcast was a little behind.
Indians expect manager Terry Francona back for 2021 season
CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Indians expect manager Terry Francona to return for the 2021 season after he missed 48 games in 2020 due to health reasons. President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti said Tuesday that the 61-year Francona is back home in Arizona resting and recovering. Francona was hospitalized during the season after undergoing surgery for a gastrointestinal issue and then dealing with blood clotting complications. Antonetti has been in daily contact with Francona, Cleveland's manager for the past eight seasons. “He's starting to feel better and he's really confident he'll be able to manage right from the start next season,” Antonetti said Tuesday on a Zoom call.
Yanks sweep Indians 10-9 in draining game, meet Rays in ALDS
New York Yankees' Gio Urshela (29) and Mike Ford celebrate after the Yankees defeated the Cleveland Indians 10-9 in Game 2 of an American League wild-card baseball series, early Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)CLEVELAND – It took the New York Yankees nearly five hours on the field, carried them from Wednesday to Thursday and September into October to complete the sweep. "They weren’t going to lose.”At 4 hours, 50 minutes — even without two rain delays totaling another 76 minutes — it was draining. New York went 2-8 during a testy season series with top-seeded Tampa Bay, which won the AL East by seven games over the second-place Yankees. RECORD STOREIndians pitchers walked 12, tied for the most in any postseason game.
No debate: Judge, Yankees pound Bieber, Indians in opener
(AP Photo/David Dermer)CLEVELAND – On a night for debates, Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees made quite an opening statement. "I wish I would have been with my off-speed stuff in the zone, and challenged those guys a little more. Staked to an early lead on Judge's homer, Cole showed why the Yankees shelled out $324 million for him in the offseason. Cole's strikeouts were the second-most by a New York pitcher in postseason history. Judge's first homer since coming off the injured list on Sept. 16 — and the first allowed by Bieber at home this season — gave the Yankees a stunning 2-0 lead.
LEADING OFF: Playoffs begin, Bieber vs Cole in prime matchup
Gerrit Cole delivered for the Yankees in his first season since signing a $324 million, nine-year contract, going 7-3 with a 2.84 ERA. “We think this is a good matchup.”For all Bieber and Cole have accomplished in the shortened regular season, it will mean little if they don’t perform well to start the best-of-three series. For instance, Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka has only played 72 regular season games, including just two against wild-card foe Cleveland. Both were injured Friday, sat out the final two regular season games as a precaution, then participated in a workout at Target Field on Monday. They open a wild-card series in Oakland hoping ace Lucas Giolito can play stopper.
Lots of unfamiliar territory in 2020 baseball playoffs
Los Angeles Dodgers' Mookie Betts flies out to right field during the third inning of the team's baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Los Angeles. Welcome to the first round of the 2020 playoffs, a class with an unusual amount of homework — and precious little room for error. After the pandemic-shortened regular season was limited to regional play, seven of the eight wild-card series involve teams that haven't played any meaningful games against each other since last year. “It’s like the old days, man, when you played a team you’ve never played before. That means a lot of video and scouting work before the AL playoffs begin Tuesday and the NL postseason starts Wednesday.
Pocket Aces: Bieber, Cole square off as Yankees play Indians
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Shane Bieber delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Cleveland. Here comes the New York Yankees and all their autumnal aura. And because of the condensed schedule, the Indians and Yankees will be meeting for the first time in 2020. Pitching will be more of a premium than ever, which is why the Indians feel so good confident because Bieber will get them started. It's the playoffs, and Indians All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor has been telling his younger teammates that there's nothing like it.
Ramírez, Indians clinch playoff spot with 5-3 win over WSox
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)CLEVELAND – With one sweet swing, José Ramírez pushed the Cleveland Indians into the playoffs and strengthened his case for the AL MVP award. Ramírez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning, giving Cleveland a 5-3 win over the Chicago White Sox that clinched a postseason berth Tuesday night. Aces Lucas Giolito of the White Sox and Shane Bieber of the Indians face off Wednesday. Earlier in the inning, White Sox manager Rick Renteria and shortstop Tim Anderson were ejected by umpire Ángel Hernández after Luis Robert looked at a called third strike. Indians: RHP Jefry Rodriguez (right shoulder strain) is on the 45-day injured list and will not pitch again this season.
Singer flirts with no-hitter for 8, Royals beat Indians 11-1
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Brady Singer delivers in the seventh inning of the baseball team's game against the Cleveland Indians, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)CLEVELAND – Kansas City rookie Brady Singer allowed just one hit — a two-out single through an infield shift in the eighth inning — and flirted with baseball history while leading the Royals to a 11-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night. Singer gave up a one-out walk in the first but then retired the Indians with relative ease. Olivares staked Singer to a 4-0 lead in the sixth with his third homer, a shot into the empty bleachers in left field. Indians: Open key three-game series at Minnesota with ace Shane Bieber (7-0, 1.25 ERA) starting against Twins right-hander Kenta Maeda (4-1, 2,77).
Wainwright throws CG on 39th birthday, Cards top Indians 7-2
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright delivers during the first inning of a baseball game Cleveland Indians, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)ST. LOUIS Adam Wainwright turned back the clock with a complete game on his 39th birthday as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cleveland Indians 7-2 Sunday. St. Louis had mustered just three runs in the past 28 innings before the outburst. He was very sharp.PITCHING CYCLEWith the start against the Indians, Wainwright has made at least one versus every team except the Cardinals. Cardinals: RHP Dakota Hudson (0-2, 3.32 ERA) begins a three-game series in Cincinnati when he faces RHP Anthony DeSclafani (1-1, 5.71) on Monday night.
LEADING OFF: Yankees set to play 3 doubleheaders in 5 days
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)TRIPLE DOUBLESAaron Judge has rejoined the Yankees just in time for the teams rugged patch -- three doubleheaders in a span of five days. New Yorks game against the Braves was rained out Tuesday, creating a twinbill in Atlanta. That will be followed by doubleheaders Friday and Sunday vs. the Mets at Yankee Stadium. The 28-year-old righty is supposedly attracting interest from the Yankees as the Aug. 31 trade deadline nears. Kershaw, who was scratched from an opening day start at Dodger Stadium against the Giants, lost to them on Aug. 8.
LEADING OFF: Virus, Gulf Coast storm force sked shuffling
The Washington Nationals play the New York Mets during the third inning of a baseball game at Citi Field Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, in New York. Michael Conforto and the Mets will start making up the misses this week. The Astros, meanwhile, have reshuffled their series against Mike Trout and the Angels because of Tropical Storm Laura. Chatwood is lined up to start the game at Detroit and Quintana will begin his return in the bullpen. Their weekend series at Citi Field was wiped out when two members of the Mets organization tested positive for the virus.
Fresh start: Clevinger back with Indians after demotion
CLEVELAND The Indians are ready to give starter Mike Clevinger another chance and the ball. President of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said Indians players were consulted before the team decided to bring back Clevinger. When the Indians were informed Plesac had broken curfew, the team had him driven back to Cleveland by a car service. The Indians have dealt with some nagging injuries, an inconsistent offense and the Clevinger-Plesac affair threatened to undermine the season. Afterward, the team optioned Clevinger and Plesac to the club's alternate training site in Eastlake, Ohio.