Tribe eyes AL edge behind ace Kluber

Tribe eyes AL edge behind ace Kluber

Two of the hottest pitchers on their respective teams go toe to toe on Sunday, as Seattle's Mike Leake faces Cleveland's Corey Kluber to cap off a three-game series between the Mariners and the Indians at Safeco Field. The Tribe is 1 1/2 games ahead of the Astros for the best record in the American League and 1 1/2 games behind the Dodgers for the best record in baseball. The Mariners are six games back of the Twins for the AL's second Wild Card spot.

Kluber hasn't just been one of the best pitchers on his club, he's also been one of the most dominant in the game. The 31-year-old right-hander, pitching on six days' rest, has not allowed a run in 22 consecutive innings, and he has won five consecutive decisions. He owns a 1.52 ERA in 10 starts dating back to Aug. 3.

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Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tribe maintains home-field lead after W vs. M's

Tribe maintains home-field lead after W vs. M's

SEATTLE -- It's not like the Indians need a lot of help these days, but Cleveland took advantage of five Mariners errors and a five-run ninth on Saturday to roll to an 11-4 victory and even the series at Safeco Field.

Carlos Carrasco won his career-high 17th game, allowing one run and six hits over 5 2/3 innings, and the Indians blasted four home runs, including a pair by catcher Yan Gomes. Gomes went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and Jose Ramirez was 3-for-3 with a home run and another four RBIs as the Indians rebounded from a rare loss to win for the 28th time in their past 30 games.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lindor's 33rd HR sets Tribe middle-INF record

Dynamic shortstop 'not just a home run threat' in torrid 2017

Lindor's 33rd HR sets Tribe middle-INF record

SEATTLE -- As Francisco Lindor sprinted around third base, the Indians' shortstop turned to look at the third-base dugout at Safeco Field. While his teammates cheered and pounded the rail, Lindor's eyes went wide and he dropped his jaw. Maybe he is even surprised by what he is doing right now.

The leadoff home run that Lindor launched to open Saturday's game lit the spark on an 11-4 romp over the Mariners. The shortstop has been bursting with energy of late and setting a torrid tone atop the lineup, but manager Terry Francona has wanted to give him a breather. They compromised with a day spent as the designated hitter, and keeping his bat in the mix proved important once again.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Clevinger moving to 'pen for postseason

Tribe opting for four-man rotation for ALDS; Miller open to working in back-to-back games

Clevinger moving to 'pen for postseason

SEATTLE -- The Indians are leaning toward going with a four-man rotation for the American League Division Series, but Mike Clevinger will not be one of them. Manager Terry Francona announced Saturday that Clevinger will be moved to the bullpen with the hope of giving the Tribe another high-leverage arm.

"We told him that," Francona said. "He's not been banished to the bullpen. He's been sent to help us win, and he understands why. When we get into a playoff series, we value the innings of our bullpen."

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tribe's road streak interrupted by M's walk-off

Tribe's road streak interrupted by M's walk-off

SEATTLE -- It took a walk-off two-run blast by Nelson Cruz, but the Mariners found a way to derail the red-hot Indians on Friday night with a 3-1 win at Safeco Field and keep their fading postseason hopes alive in the process. The loss ended Cleveland's franchise-record road winning streak at 14 games.

Cruz homered for the third time in the past three games, this one a game-winner off Indians closer Cody Allen after Robinson Cano's leadoff single in the ninth. Cruz now has 36 home runs and an American League-leading 114 RBIs. Though he's hit 36-plus homers for four straight years, it was his first walk-off since 2010 while with Texas.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bauer continues rotation's dominant stretch

Bauer continues rotation's dominant stretch

SEATTLE -- Trevor Bauer's answers were short and his frustration apparent. The Indians pitcher felt out of rhythm at the outset of his outing on Friday night, but he did just enough to put his team in position to win. Cleveland did not win, though, so Bauer was not interested in silver linings.

"We had a lead, and I gave it up," Bauer said. "I didn't do my job."

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Q&A: O'Dowd reflects on '07 Rox, '97 Indians

Former executive came close to World Series title twice

Q&A: O'Dowd reflects on '07 Rox, '97 Indians

Twenty years ago, Dan O'Dowd was the director of baseball operations/assistant general manager for an Indians team that won its third consecutive American League Central title and advanced to the World Series for the second time in three years.

However, the Indians could not win their first World Series championship since 1948, losing a ninth-inning lead in Game 7 as the Marlins became the first expansion team to win a World Series title.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Before they were postseason bound: Indians

Before they were postseason bound: Indians

The defending American League champions are back in the postseason with much of the same team that brought them within a run of their first World Series title in over a half century last season. Here's the skinny on each of the players the Indians send back to the postseason.

Cody Allen, RHP
Born: Orlando, Fla.
DOB: 11/20/1988
HS: William R. Boone (Fla.) High School
College: High Point University, St. Petersburg College
Minors: Mahoning Valley (A-), Lake County (A), Kinston (A+), Carolina (A+), Akron (AA), Columbus (AAA)
• Allen was an All-Conference selection all four years at Boone High School and was the starting pitcher as a sophomore in the state championship title game. He was listed as the top underclassman in the 2005 Academic Showcase by Perfect Game USA, both as a third baseman and a pitcher. Allen also played four years at quarterback and led his team to the Class 6A state semifinals in 2006. He became only the second player from High Point to ever reach the Majors, following in the footsteps of Dick Culler, who played shortstop with the Athletics, White Sox, Braves, Cubs, and Giants from 1936 to 1949.

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Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter at @benweinrib. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Communication with Tito crucial to bullpen

Communication with Tito crucial to bullpen

SEATTLE -- The Indians expect to have closer Cody Allen and relief ace Andrew Miller shoulder important innings in October, when the American League Central champs will attempt to return to the World Series. With that in mind, manager Terry Francona appreciates the honesty that Allen displayed this week.

After Allen felt some mild soreness after his outing on Tuesday against the Angels, the closer looped in Francona, who decided to rest the right-hander for the next two games in Anaheim. Allen returned to the mound in the ninth inning on Friday, but yielded a two-run walk-off homer to Nelson Cruz in the Tribe's 3-1 loss to the Mariners.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fantasy411 Podcast: Ranking Corey Kluber

Fantasy411 Podcast: Ranking Corey Kluber

The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's Fantasy411 podcast, hosted by MLB.com lead fantasy writer Fred Zinkie and national editor Matthew Leach. To hear the rest of their discussion, subscribe to the Fantasy411 podcast by clicking here.

Matthew Leach: We move on to starting pitchers. We both sounded a little bit of a note of caution on Corey Kluber coming into the year, because of how deep he went into last season, and because it's not unheard of for guys to go deep, deep into the postseason and then show some ill effects. Well, Kluber spent some time on the DL this year. He missed a few starts. And still: 191 innings, 17 wins, 2.35 ERA, 252 strikeouts, 0.850 WHIP. His FIP is 2.49. He's having a ludicrous year.

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Tribe wins 27th of past 28, sweeps Angels

Tribe wins 27th of past 28, sweeps Angels

ANAHEIM -- For the second consecutive day, Francisco Lindor helped sink the Angels with a tiebreaking home run, launching a three-run, go-ahead shot to complete the Indians' three-game sweep with a 4-1 victory in Thursday afternoon's series finale at Angel Stadium.

The Indians, who have now won 27 of their last 28 games, extended their road winning streak to a franchise-record 14 games and remain one game back of the Dodgers for the best record in the Majors. They join the 1916 Giants for the most wins in a 28-game span since the 1884 Providence Grays, who went on to win 28 out of 29, per the Elias Sports Bureau.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Urgency factor favors Indians in postseason

Franchise determined to end World Series drought after close call in '16

Urgency factor favors Indians in postseason

Sometimes a "Team of Destiny" wins the World Series, like the 83-win Cardinals did in 2006. Sometimes the champion is a "Team of Manifest Destiny," like the Yankees in the Derek Jeter era and the Giants on their every-other-year run.

But most recently, the title has belonged to a "Team With a Sense of Urgency."

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prepping for October, Miller passes key test

Relief ace readying for high-leverage postseason innings, escapes bases-loaded jam vs. Angels

Prepping for October, Miller passes key test

ANAHEIM -- In a burst of six pitches, Andrew Miller looked like himself again. That was arguably the most important takeaway from Thursday afternoon at Angel Stadium, where the Indians continued their march to the postseason with yet another victory in this remarkable run.

The 4-1 win over the Angels marked the 27th win in a span of 28 games for Cleveland, which is trying to chase down the Dodgers for baseball's best record, but is also using these final regular-season games to prepare for October. One paramount goal down the stretch is getting Miller -- the postseason's most formidable weapon one year ago -- primed for as many high-leverage innings as possible en route to the World Series.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Shaw astounds Tribe with increased velocity

Reliever, coaches can't explain uptick in pitch speed down stretch

Shaw astounds Tribe with increased velocity

ANAHEIM -- Bryan Shaw punctuated a two-inning save for the Indians vs. the Angels on Wednesday night by firing a cutter past the potent bat of American League Most Valuable Player Award candidate Mike Trout. The pitch popped into the glove of catcher Roberto Perez at 97 mph, continuing a recent trend for Cleveland's setup man.

Shaw's fastball velocity has continuously ticked up as the days have been checked off. According to Statcast™, the right-hander averaged 93.9 mph on his cutter in June, but that rate has increased to 95.4 mph so far in September. Shaw hit 99 mph on the radar gun on Sunday, and eight of his 10 hardest pitches this year have come this month.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rookies dress up as superheroes for flight

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Rookies dress up as superheroes for flight

Nobody's doing better these days than the Cleveland Indians. Their 4-1 win over the Angels on Thursday was their 27th in 28 games, which is just ridiculous. That American League-record 22-game winning streak that ended last week was also quite an accomplishment.

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Lindor's Big A homer has Tribe on 26-1 run

Lindor's Big A homer has Tribe on 26-1 run

ANAHEIM -- Francisco Lindor crushed a two-run, tiebreaking home run off Yusmeiro Petit to help lift the Indians to a slim 6-5 win over the Angels on Wednesday night, putting the Tribe within one game of the Dodgers for the best record in the Major Leagues.

By winning 26 of their past 27 games, the Indians have all but erased the 20-game gap that was between them and the Dodgers as recently as Aug. 25. Cleveland's lead for the American League's best record remains 1 1/2 games, as Houston kept pace with a 4-3 win over the White Sox.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tribal leader? MLB's best record in reach

Tribal leader? MLB's best record in reach

ANAHEIM -- It really was not that all that long ago that this year's Dodgers were being lauded as a potentially all-time great team. They seemed destined for baseball's best record and would head into October as the heavy favorites to win it all, with home-field advantage in the World Series helping their cause.

This was before Cleveland went streaking.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brantley shut down, no timetable for return

All-Star outfielder out indefinitely after second opinion on ankle injury

Brantley shut down, no timetable for return

ANAHEIM -- Michael Brantley already beat the odds to return to the field in time for Opening Day. Now the All-Star left fielder will have to pull off another improbable comeback if he's going to help the Indians in the postseason.

On Wednesday, the Indians announced that Brantley sought a second opinion from foot and ankle specialist Dr. Thomas Clanton on Tuesday in Vail, Colo., and it was confirmed that the outfielder is dealing with a deltoid ligament sprain, along with right ankle synovitis. Brantley has been shut down from running for another week to 10 days, then he will be re-evaluated to determine his readiness.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Halos, Tribe thinking of families in Puerto Rico

Halos, Tribe thinking of families in Puerto Rico

ANAHEIM -- Martin Maldonado sat in front of his locker in the Angels' clubhouse on Wednesday afternoon and scrolled through his social-media feeds, his attention fixated on videos and photos of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Maria in his native Puerto Rico.

He had been unable to contact his family in Naguabo, a town located on the east coast of the island, as the storm had caused widespread power outages and severed lines of communication. Before taking the field for batting practice prior to the Angles' matchup with the Indians, Maldonado retrieved the blue and red cap Team Puerto Rico wore during the World Baseball Classic in March and wrote "Pray 4" next to the PR logo on the front.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Clevinger sends Tribe closer to AL's top seed

Clevinger sends Tribe closer to AL's top seed

ANAHEIM -- Mike Clevinger enjoyed some revenge against his former club on Tuesday night, tossing six innings of one-run ball to lead the Indians to a 6-3 win over the Angels in their series opener at Angel Stadium.

Clevinger, whom the Angels traded to Cleveland in exchange for reliever Vinnie Pestano in 2014, held the Halos hitless through the first four innings before yielding a leadoff single to Kole Calhoun in the fifth. The right-hander conceded only three hits while walking two and striking out six, lowering his ERA to 0.61 over his last five starts.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Perez lauded for impact on Indians' run

Fellow catcher Gomes also recognized for work behind dish

Perez lauded for impact on Indians' run

CLEVELAND -- There is a critical element to success on a baseball diamond that often goes under the radar. When a team is playing well, statistics will fly that break down a staff's pitching prowess or an offense's overwhelming production. That was certainly the case during the historic winning streak the Indians recently enjoyed.

The element that exists outside the spotlight is the work of the catchers. Inside Cleveland's clubhouse, the pitchers do not underestimate the impacts that Roberto Perez and Yan Gomes have had on the American League Central champions, and that held true again on Tuesday night after Perez played a large role -- behind the plate and in the batter's box -- during a 6-3 victory over the Angels at Angel Stadium.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tribe prospects sample big league experience

Indians' budding stars attend Fall Developmental Program

Tribe prospects sample big league experience

CLEVELAND -- While Shane Bieber ran out of the center-field bullpen toward the mound at Progressive Field on Tuesday, his walkup music blared across the ballpark. When the right-handed starting pitcher looked up at the giant scoreboard in left field, he read his name and saw his picture.

The experience for Bieber (ranked by MLBPipeline.com as Cleveland's No. 11 prospect) was on hand as a part of the Indians' Fall Developmental Program. There were not any fans in attendance and the Indians were away in the midst of a six-game West Coast road trip through Anaheim and Seattle, but the magnitude of the experience was not lost on the club's budding stars.

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William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter @BillKosileski. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tribe's postgame clinch party a family, fan affair

Champagne flows, smiles abound as Cleveland celebrates AL Central division title

Tribe's postgame clinch party a family, fan affair

CLEVELAND -- While the party raged inside the Indians' home clubhouse on Sunday afternoon, players found moments to escape to the field. There, their families had their own celebration going, with kids running through the infield grass. Behind Cleveland's home dugout, rows of fans remained, refusing to find the stadium's exits.

This American League Central clinch was savored by the entire city.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scoreless streak wins Kluber AL Player of Week

Indians ace threw shutout, struck out 17 in two starts

Scoreless streak wins Kluber AL Player of Week

Corey Kluber continues to be automatic every five days for an Indians team that just went on a historic 22-game win streak, and after two more brilliant outings, the Cleveland ace took home the American League Player of the Week Award on Monday.

Kluber threw a five-hit shutout against the Tigers on Tuesday to help the Indians win their 20th straight game, tying the 2002 A's for the American League record. Then, after the Tribe clinched the AL Central title with a Twins loss on Saturday, Kluber punctuated it by beating the Royals on Sunday with seven more scoreless innings.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Petriello

Kipnis in center is smart risk behind strong staff

Indians' pitchers have highest strikeout rate in MLB history

Kipnis in center is smart risk behind strong staff

The Indians can get away with experimenting with longtime second baseman Jason Kipnis in center field for the same reason they got away with putting third baseman-turned-outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall there earlier this year and first baseman/designated hitter Carlos Santana in left field in the World Series last year: Because their dominant pitching staff allows Terry Francona the flexibility to do so.

That's another way of saying "if there aren't likely to be a large amount of competitive plays hit to a spot, you don't have to worry about defense so much," which mirrors the effect the infield shift has had on baseball's ongoing home run surge. Among many other reasons for more dingers, fewer difficult balls in play due to more strikeouts and better positioning has allowed power bats like Carlos Correa and Corey Seager to remain at shortstop, where a generation ago they'd likely be third basemen by now.

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rookies gaining experience while enjoying ride

Rookies gaining experience while enjoying ride

CLEVELAND -- While Edwin Encarnacion celebrated on Sunday afternoon, taking in the scene inside Cleveland's loud, plastic-wrapped and soaked clubhouse, rookie Francisco Mejia stood next to the slugger. Mejia looked like the superhero's sidekick, tagging along on this adventure.

Dress for October: Get AL Central champs gear

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook. MLB.com's Ben Weinrib contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.