David Shovein

Baseball Daily Dose

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Daily Dose: Indians Heating Up

Saturday, September 2, 2017


 

The Cleveland Indians played their best baseball down the stretch in 2016 and rode that momentum to an American League pennant and nearly a World Series title before those pesky Cubs rallied from a 3-1 deficit to steal their glory.

 

As of June 25, the Indians were having a fairly ordinary season. They sat four games above the .500 mark at 39-35 and were a half a game behind the division-leading Twins.

 

Since that fateful day, the Tribe has gone 39-21 and has taken a commanding eight game lead over the Twins in the American League Central.

 

On Friday, they did something that was also a hallmark of their 2016 season, beating up on the Tigers.

 

The Indians got a tremendous pitching performance from Carlos Carrasco in the first game of Friday's doubleheader as the right-hander fanned eight over seven innings of one-run ball. The Tribe bats rallied late and the Indians walked away with a 3-2 victory, their eighth consecutive win.

 

They weren't finished though. In the nightcap, the bats came out firing early and often, crushing the Tigers' spirit with a 10-0 victory to run their winning streak to nine games. Mike Clevinger delivered a strong pitching performance in this one as well, firing six shutout innings while striking out six.

 

This is the time of year that teams hope to be firing on all cylinders as they get ready for the postseason. The way that the Indians are playing right now, they're a team that no other contender is hoping to see once the calendar flips to October.

 

Editor’s Note: Win a FREE trip to the World Series plus cash prizes!

 

 

Royal Treatment

 

The Kansas City Royals have been playing Major League Baseball since the 1969 season. Up until now, the most home runs that any member of the Royals had ever hit during a single season were the 36 big flies that Steve "Bye Bye" Balboni crushed during the 1985 season that saw the club take home their first World Series championship.

 

As of Friday night, Mr. Balboni has some company.

 

Mike Moustakas clobbered a three-run homer off of Dillon Gee during the third inning of Friday's victory over the Twins, tying him with Balboni for the club record. With a month of baseball still to play, he'll surely distance himself from Balboni and set a much higher mark for future Royals' to chase.

 

Until now, the Royals have had far and away the lowest single-season home run leader of any MLB franchise. It will still take Moustakas hitting another five homers to catch the next lowest team, which is the Mets at 41 homers.

 

Moustakas is putting together the finest offensive season of his career at precisely the right time as he's set to hit free agency following the conclusion of this season.

 

The 28-year-old slugger is hitting .275/.312/.545 with 36 homers, 70 runs scored and 81 RBI. He has called the Royals' organization home since they made him the second overall selection in the 2007 draft, and the type of season that he's having in 2017 is exactly what was expected out of him, so it's only fitting that he etches his name into the franchise record books before departing this winter.

 

 

Impressive Debut

 

The Marlins summoned 25-year-old southpaw Dillon Peters to the big leagues on Friday and threw him immediately into the fire with a start against the Phillies on Friday. The young man didn't disappoint in his major league debut.

 

Peters racked up eight strikeouts while scattering three hits and three walks over seven shutout innings in a no-decision. He departed in line to earn his first career victory, but Brad Ziegler suffered a blown save in the ninth inning to end that dream.

 

The eight strikeouts that he recorded match a franchise record for a player making his major league debut, joining Jose Fernandez who fanned eight over five innings in his debut in April of 2013.

 

The seven innings pitched also matched the franchise record for the longest start by a player making his major league debut.

 

Dominating on the hill is nothing new to Peters however, he has been doing so all season. Prior to his call-up, he compiled a 1.57 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 55/17 K/BB ratio across 63 innings in his 13 starts between the Marlins' Rookie League squad, High-A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville.

 

While there's no clear opening in the Marlins' rotation, you have to figure the club will want to get a good look at Peters against major league competition over the final month of the season to see if he's ready to open the 2018 campaign in the starting rotation. 

 

He's a very attractive commodity in NL-only formats and should be on the radar for deeper mixed leagues as well, especially for streaming at home and/or in terrific matchups.

 

 

No Rust Here

 

Clayton Kershaw returned from the disabled list to start against the Padres in San Diego on Friday and showed no signs of rust whatsoever, allowing just two measly singles while striking out seven over six scoreless innings in a victory.

 

The All-World left-hander now sits at 16-2 on the season to go along with a ridiculous 1.95 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 175/24 K/BB ratio across 147 1/3 innings on the season.

 

He also did what a true ace is supposed to do, which is stop losing streaks. The Dodgers entered play on Friday riding a season-worst five game losing skid and Kershaw was just the man to bring that to an end.

 

With the Dodgers holding a commanding lead over the rest of the baseball world, they'll make sure that Kershaw is fully healthy and performing at tip-top shape as they embark on their quest for a World Series title. If he continues to shine like he did on Friday, the rest of the National League is on notice.

 

 

American League Quick Hits: Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Justin Verlander will receive a full no-trade clause from the Astros and the club has agreed to void his vesting option for the 2020 season. Both were stipulated to in order for Verlander to approve Thursday's trade from the Tigers. He'll make his Astros' debut on Tuesday against the Mariners in Seattle... Garrett Richards (biceps) is expected to rejoin the Angels this weekend and could start as soon as Monday against the Athletics in Oakland... Jose Abreu missed his second straight game after tweaking his elbow on Wednesday... Justin Smoak missed his third consecutive start due to a calf injury. He's still considered day-to-day... The Royals released veteran right-hander Neftali Feliz... The Astros are hopeful that Carlos Correa (thumb) will be activated from the disabled list on Sunday... Derek Norris was suspended for the remainder of the 2017 season following an investigation into domestic violence allegations... Michael Fulmer will miss his next two starts and is scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews after a recurrence of ulnar neuritis in his pitching elbow... David Price (elbow) threw a successful bullpen session on Friday, throwing 29 pitches, all fastballs. He's still a few weeks away from a possible return... Paul Blackburn (hand) is unlikely to return this season... Kelvin Herrera was removed from a save situation due to a recurrence of his forearm soreness. He's considered day-to-day... Logan Morrison had three hits, including his 34th homer of the season, as the Rays beat the White Sox... Alex Colome recorded his league-leading 41st save in that victory... Joe Biagini struck out a career-high 10 batters over seven scoreless innings in a tough-luck no-decision against the Orioles... Kevin Gausman struck out eight over six-plus innings of shutout baseball on the other side of the diamond in that one... Jonathan Schoop delivered a walk-off RBI single in the 13th inning on Friday as the Orioles outlasted the Jays 1-0... Mike Leake was victorious in his Mariners' debut, striking out seven over seven innings of two-run ball against the Athletics... Doug Fister continued his resurgence with seven innings of one-run ball in a victory over the Yankees... Adrian Beltre could miss the remainder of the 2017 season after being diagnosed with a Grade 2 hamstring strain.

 

 

National League Quick Hits: Willson Contreras (hamstring) made it through baserunning drills without issue on Friday and is getting closer to rejoining the Cubs... Gregory Polanco (hamstring), Adam Frazier (hamstring) and Francisco Cervelli (quad) are all expected to return to the Pirates within the next week... Mark Melancon (elbow) is expected to be shut down soon to undergo elbow surgery. He'll be sidelined for 6-8 weeks but should be full healthy by spring training... Jarrett Parker was lifted from Friday's game with tightness in his left side. He's considered day-to-day... John Lackey fired seven shutout innings in a victory over the Braves... Jimmy Nelson delivered a spectacular performance in Friday's victory over the Nationals, striking out a career-high 11 batters over seven shutout frames... Tanner Roark fanned 10 over seven innings of one-run ball in a tough-luck loss on the other side... A precautionary MRI on the right elbow of Corey Seager revealed swelling and inflammation. He's expected to resume throwing on Monday... A.J. Pollock had two hits, scored twice and swiped his 18th base as the Diamondbacks beat the Rockies at Coors Field... Dinelson Lamet struck out 10 over six innings of one-run baseball in a losing effort against the Dodgers.



Dave Shovein is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveShovein.
Email :David Shovein



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