With Indians pulling out all of the stops, AL Central poke shall be epic – ESPN
10:36 PM ETDavid SchoenfieldESPN Senior Writer CloseSenior writer of SweetSpot baseball blog Former deputy editor of Page 2 Been with ESPN.com since 1995Things are getting serious, my friends. Citi Field was rocking and shaking; the Milwaukee Brewers drew more than 121,000 fans for a three-game series against the Texas Rangers; Yordan Alvarez is still mashing;…
10:36 PM ET

  • David SchoenfieldESPN Senior Writer


    • Senior writer of SweetSpot baseball blog
    • Outdated skool deputy editor of Net page 2
    • Been with ESPN.com since 1995

Issues are getting severe, my chums. Citi Enviornment changed into once rocking and shaking; the Milwaukee Brewers drew more than 121,000 followers for a three-game sequence against the Texas Rangers; Yordan Alvarez is peaceable mashing; Aristides Aquino is making us be taught his title; and Hyun-Jin Ryu keeps rolling along.

Nowhere changed into once the baseball more intense this weekend, on the opposite hand, than at Aim Enviornment, the set up the Cleveland Indians went into Minneapolis and took three of four from the Minnesota Twins, turning a two-game deficit proper into a ineffective warmth atop the American League Central with 44 video games remaining. Every teams are Seventy one-forty seven, on tempo for Ninety seven victories. It would possibly perhaps perhaps actually most likely presumably admire more than that to remove the division.

Sunday’s contest changed into once the most easy of the sequence, a 7-three remove for Cleveland in 10 innings, as Carlos Santana belted a sail-ahead wide slam off grand lefty Taylor Rogers. Nonetheless if the Indians remove this division by a game, every person will take note Francisco Lindor‘s game-saving relay throw in the bottom of the ninth.

Let’s set up of dwelling the stage:

Cleveland led three-1 coming into the bottom of the ninth with closer Brad Hand on the mound. Eddie Rosario doubled. Mitch Garver fanned on a three-2 slider as Hand came assist from a three-zero depend. (Garver would possibly perhaps perhaps presumably need wished he had swung at the three-zero pitch.) Luis Arraez singled previous Jason Kipnis, scoring Rosario to to find it three-2. C.J. Cron battled Hand for 10 pitches sooner than lacing a 106 mph rocket into left-center to position runners in the launch and second. Hand wasn’t fooling any one. He had given up seven hits to lefties all season coming into the inning and gave up two this inning.

That introduced up Marwin Gonzalez. He hit four fouls, then this came about on the fifth pitch:



Marwin Gonzalez doubles to ranking the tying dash, nevertheless Ehire Adrianza is tagged out at the plate courtesy of a superior throw from Francisco Lindor.

It changed into once an aggressive ship by Twins 1/three-unfavorable coach Tony Diaz with one out, nevertheless it took a beautifully accomplished relay from Tyler Naquin and Lindor to nail pinch runner Ehire Adrianza. Lindor changed into once lightning rapidly with his protect and release and threw a strike to catcher Kevin Plawecki:

Tyler Naquin and Francisco Lindor combined for a superior relay to throw out the stroll-off dash at the plate and ship Indians-Twins to extras. The Statcast…

Naquin to Lindor: ninety one.9 mph, 161 ft, 1.07 second alternate ➡️

Lindor to the plate: ninety.6 mph, 166 ft, zero.60 second alternate pic.twitter.com/huPOuplrns

— David Adler (@_dadler) August eleven, 2019

Of us recount the triple is the most fun play in baseball. I will sail along with a superior relay at the plate — three fielders in brotherly love, showcasing the intricacies of properly-accomplished defense. That relay changed into once the inequity between a two-game deficit and the tie we admire. How superior is baseball?

The principle for Cleveland remains getting stable work from the assist of its rotation — and the front place of job clearly had confidence in these guys when it traded Trevor Bauer. Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber obtained the first two video games of the sequence, as they are the aces in the absence of Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. Adam Plutko had a stable effort in a four-1 loss Saturday. Nonetheless rookie Aaron Civale, making his 1/three profession launch, shut down the high-powered Twins offense Sunday; he gave up one dash and four hits in six innings.

The set up accomplish the Indians build discovering these guys? Civale changed into once Cleveland’s No. 15 prospect sooner than the season, in response to Baseball America, and changed into once a 1/three-round protect in 2016 out of Northeastern. Zach Plesac wasn’t even in the head 30, a 12th-rounder the identical year out of Ball Utter. Credit rating to Cleveland’s scouting department — Civale wasn’t even a starter unless his junior season — and the participant fashion staff for getting these two to the majors so snappy. They’ve given Cleveland sixteen noteworthy-wanted objective correct begins thus a ways and helped the Indians to a 37-14 file since June 14 as they clawed assist from eleven video games out.

Civale isn’t any longer overpowering, with a two-seamer that sits in the low 90s. Early on against the Twins, he relied on that sinker plus a slider and cutter. The second time throughout the reveal he jumbled in an occasional changeup and curveball to present the Twins any other detect. Most important, he throws strikes and adjustments velocity. Gaze at one sequence versus Arraez in the fifth inning:

Sinker: ninety two mph

Cutter: 88 mph

Curveball: ninety two mph

Sinker: ninety three mph

Sinker: ninety three mph

Sinker: ninety four mph

Changeup: 86 mph

Arraez sooner or later flied out.

Is Civale the following Bieber? I don’t be taught about that, nevertheless there’s some similarity in their pedigrees and minor league numbers. And there’s absolute confidence that the Indians salvage a means to to find the most out of their initiating pitchers. The Indians are eight-three since Aug. 1 — Yasiel Puig has hit .357/.413/.571 in eleven video games, though Franmil Reyes is hitting .111 — they most continuously’re doing it the manner they’ve accomplished all of it season: with objective correct pitching. This poke is going all of the manner down to the wire.

The second Carlos Santana’s wide slam sailed over the fence, Francisco Lindor jumped up and down. He stared at the Indians’ dugout and pumped his fist his whole manner to the plate. An unlimited swing of the bat.

— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) August eleven, 2019

Showdown of the season: So this changed into once, with Yankees up 1-zero in the bottom of the ninth against the Blue Jays, trying to to find a split of the four-game sequence. After Brandon Drury led off with a unfavorable hit against Aroldis Chapman, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. came up as a pinch hitter. It grew to change into in an epic Thirteen-pitch duel, the longest of Chapman’s profession:

#VladJr fouled off SEVEN pitches on this Thirteen-pitch warfare vs. Aroldis Chapman.

Nonetheless advantage: Chapman. pic.twitter.com/2PtIOKPoP6

— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) August eleven, 2019

Chapman sooner or later bought the double play — it is miles a going to be massive harmful for Guerrero, as he already has grounded into 14 double plays — nevertheless Bo Bichette then singled on a three-2 slider and Cavan Biggio worked Chapman to a three-2 depend sooner than sooner or later placing out to total it, a tricky 27-pitch set up for Chapman.

Upset of the … decade? The Astros had correct beat the Orioles 23-2 on Saturday. The Orioles had been 1-5 on the week and had served up 22 dwelling runs in these five losses. Oh, and Justin Verlander changed into once initiating Sunday for Houston. That made the Astros a massive popular in Las Vegas. They closed at -460 at Caesars Sportsbook, correct the ninth popular of minus-four hundred or greater since 2005. Simplest the Dodgers at minus-485 for a game against the Braves in 2016 had been a bigger popular.

So it wasn’t a shock when the Astros scored three runs in the head of the ninth to amass a 7-5 lead. Nonetheless miracle of miracles, the Astros couldn’t to find the final three outs. With two out and one on, Rio Ruiz came up against closer Roberto Osuna and did this:



Rio Ruiz crushes a two-dash dwelling dash into the stands because the Orioles beat the Astros eight-7 in a wild game in Baltimore.

Handsome for the Orioles! Corrupt for Caesars. The associated rate on the Astros’ money line unnerved away many bettors at Caesars as Ninety seven% of the money changed into once on Baltimore. Ouch.

Nationals chilly down purple-scorching Mets: After a demoralizing loss in the ninth inning Friday when the Mets scored four runs off Sean Doolittle, then any other bitter defeat Saturday when the Mets beat Fernando Rodney in the eighth, it is appropriate to tell the Nationals wanted a victory Sunday. No easy job provided that Jacob deGrom started for the Mets.

The principle play in actual fact came in the head of the first, with bases loaded and two out after an infield hit, a single and a stroll. Pete Alonso made a diving cessation on Asdrubal Cabrera‘s grounder, nevertheless then threw the ball away — as all three baserunners came around to ranking. The throw changed into once objective a miniature high, nevertheless deGrom additionally hesitated as he came to first unfavorable and the ball glanced off his glove and rolled to the backstop. DeGrom in actual fact needed to scuttle it down, and the Mets must admire gotten Juan Soto for the 1/three out, nevertheless Wilson Ramos dropped that throw. Gruesome play.

Anyway, that changed into once all deGrom would stop, nevertheless the Nationals worked him for one zero one pitches in precisely five innings. And since no starter is allowed by rule to throw more than A hundred and ten pitches now, that supposed four innings from the Mets’ bullpen, and the Nationals tacked on four runs for a 7-four victory, as Anthony Rendon went four-for-5 and raised his line to .320/.404/.607.

The loss snapped the Mets’ eight-game remove meander, nevertheless they’ve peaceable obtained 15 of 17. And they launch the week 1½ video games in the assist of the Nationals and one game in the assist of the Cardinals in the wild-card poke (with the Brewers a half of-game in the assist of St. Louis).

Shutout of the day: The Tampa Bay Rays done a three-game sweep in Seattle — two by one dash — with a 1-zero victory in the assist of worn Mariner Ryan Yarbrough, who pitched 8⅔ scoreless innings. Kevin Money pulled him with two out and nobody on the ninth. Curiously, 99 pitches changed into once his limit, though he had allowed correct three singles. Blueprint on, Kevin! (OK, credit rating to Money for no longer getting emotional about the shutout. The Mariners had a correct-hander up in Domingo Santana, so he introduced in Emilio Pagan. The Mariners did pinch hit Omar Narvaez, nevertheless he grounded out.)

With Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Yonny Chirinos on the injured checklist, Yarbrough has been massive for the Rays, working as each a starter and “bulk” man in the assist of the opener. He now would possibly perhaps perhaps presumably be eleven-three with a three.fifty six ERA. Batters are hitting a meager .211/.246/.349 against him. In actuality, he has been greater against righties than lefties:

Perfect-handed batters: .210/.243/.326

Left-handed batters: .213/.255/.415

That’s a testament to the quality of his changeup and curveball, since Yarbrough doesn’t smash ninety mph very in general with his fastball (88.2 mph on moderate). Nonetheless — explain Civale — he throws strikes and doesn’t beat himself.

Yarbrough additionally is any other testament to the Rays’ scouting and analytics department, which beloved him though he wasn’t a flamethrower. He came over in the first Mallex Smith alternate in alternate for Drew Smyly, who bought damage in spring training and by no procedure pitched for Seattle. Yarbrough is now 27-9 in his two seasons with Rays. Not spoiled for a man who changed into once accept as true with of the throw-in in that deal.

After the game, Yarbrough suggested journalists that he changed into once “obviously, objective a miniature offended” at getting the hook and lacking out on the shutout.

“Nonetheless I contain [Cash] would want me to be. I contain he would want me to deserve to lift out it. I don’t explain I in actual fact admire any unwell will about it or one thing,” Yarbrough mentioned. “Money simply went with what he conception changed into once the most easy matchup for the final out.”

Money offered his admire.

“Very grand determination, given obviously with what Yarbs provided for us. Nonetheless felt adore that changed into once to present us the most easy chance to remove,” Money mentioned.

Yes, that’s Jorge Soler with 35 dwelling runs: I do know, I do know, we would possibly perhaps perhaps presumably accomplish a loopy dwelling dash repeat every night. Nonetheless this one has accept as true with of come out of nowhere. Soler belted two dwelling runs in the Royals’ 10-2 remove over the Tigers, and he now would possibly perhaps perhaps presumably be to second to Mike Trout (39) in the AL in dwelling runs. Some notes:

• Soler is hitting .327/.455/.755 with 12 dwelling runs since the All-Superstar smash. It’s that .455 OBP that impresses me: He has 22 walks and 23 strikeouts, after being 28 and 108 in the first half of. He would possibly perhaps perhaps presumably be figuring issues out right here.

• The Royals’ team file for dwelling runs is 38 by Mike Moustakas, set up of dwelling in 2017, so Soler is going to cry previous that milestone.

• For the reason that Royals admire had few superior sluggers in their franchise story, and on memoir of Kauffman Stadium is a tricky dwelling dash park, they’ve by no procedure had a participant lead the American League in dwelling runs. Moustakas ranked fifth in 2017. Steve Balboni ranked 1/three in 1985 when he hit 36 and John Mayberry additionally ranked 1/three in 1975 when he hit 34, the very best finishes ever for a Royals participant.