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How Bauer, Clevinger forged a funky friendship

MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- Mike Clevinger compared their relationship to that of brothers. In many ways, Trevor Bauer and Clevinger are nothing alike, but there is a competitive fire that unites them and has helped forge a friendship that would seem improbable on the surface.

"He wants to throw harder, better, sharper every day. And that's what I want to do," Clevinger said. "Hold on ..."

CLEVELAND -- Mike Clevinger compared their relationship to that of brothers. In many ways, Trevor Bauer and Clevinger are nothing alike, but there is a competitive fire that unites them and has helped forge a friendship that would seem improbable on the surface.

"He wants to throw harder, better, sharper every day. And that's what I want to do," Clevinger said. "Hold on ..."

The Indians pitcher stopped mid-thought on Wednesday morning and grabbed his wallet from a ledge near his locker inside Cleveland's clubhouse at Progressive Field. He opened the large pocket and pulled out a worn and wrinkled $100 bill that has been stuffed in the folded leather for the better part of two years now.

"We can put this on record now," Clevinger said.

Two springs ago, Clevinger and Bauer made a simple bet: $100 to the pitcher who had the highest fastball velocity reading in their first live batting-practice session. Bauer rolled his eyes when noting that Clevinger came out on top by "point two or something," but that was enough. So he retrieved the bill, grabbed a Sharpie, wrote, "To Daddy Velo, you win," to the right of Benjamin Franklin's image, and sealed it with an autograph.

Clevinger smiled while examining the note again, still savoring the annoyance Bauer must have felt at the time.

"I keep that on me everywhere," Clevinger said. "If he ever wants to chirp, I've got that in my back pocket -- literally."

Video: CWS@CLE: Bauer strikes out 8 in 7 scoreless innings

For the bulk of Bauer's career in Cleveland, the right-hander has seemingly trained in isolation. Tribe starters have monitored each other's bullpen sessions for instant feedback sessions for a couple of years now, but the day-to-day work for Bauer has typically been on his own. Since Clevinger has come into the fold, Bauer has gained a regular training partner.

Part of that is schedule-based -- their place in the rotation and between-start routines align well for long-toss sessions, weighted-ball work and regular catch -- but it is also due to their growing bond built upon brotherly competitiveness. Clevinger was among the people in Bauer's ear last season about adding a slider. Bauer has helped Clevinger fine-tune his mechanics and throwing program.

"I'm actually encouraged to talk to my teammates and share information this year," Bauer said. "That had been discouraged in the past at times. That's been super refreshing this year."

In the process, both Bauer and Clevinger have been enjoying breakout seasons.

Bauer has a 2.50 ERA with a team-leading 129 strikeouts in 100 2/3 innings, and currently ranks fifth in the Majors with 3.6 WAR (per Fangraphs). Clevinger, who opened the season in the Indians' rotation for the first time this year, has a 3.00 ERA in 99 innings while ranking 11th overall in pitcher WAR (2.3). Bauer (109.3) and Clevinger (104.1) rank first and third, respectively, in the Majors in pitches per game.

"They talk, probably more those two than the other guys and I think it's a good thing," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I think it's a good thing if they can feed off each other. They can learn and that's important."

On Tuesday night, Clevinger was not feeling right on the mound early on in his outing against the White Sox. When he headed back into the Tribe dugout after a tough first inning, he checked in with Bauer.

"He told me, 'You're sitting on the rubber. You're just sitting there. You're not moving,'" Clevinger recalled. "He's like, 'Don't think about other [stuff]. Don't think about your arm. You need to move to the plate. Everything's in the right spot. You just need to move faster to the plate. You're being sluggish.'"

The White Sox went 3-for-23 the rest of the way against Clevinger, who picked up the win.

Video: CWS@CLE: Clevinger K's 10, allows 1 run over 7 2/3

"A little key like that," Clevinger said, "a little direction and that turned that start around for me completely. He's done that with me probably two or three starts this year. Some little key and ..."

Clevinger snapped his fingers.

"Next thing you know it's like, 'Bam, bam, bam.'"

Looking at Bauer and Clevinger, it would be hard to envision them as fast friends.

Clevinger's hair is wild and to his shoulders. Bauer's close-crop cut is the low-maintenance look of someone with other things to worry about. Clevinger looks like someone who traveled through time from the '60s with his colorful tattoos, creative outfits and affinity for Jimi Hendrix. Bauer often sports a plain T-shirt and jeans. Clevinger pitches like a wild horse trying to be restrained. Every movement by Bauer seems calculated.

Still, there is actually common ground that exists there.

"I know for a fact there's judgment on both of us from outside sources," Bauer said, "based on how he lives his life or what I choose to say or what I do or what he whatever. It's both probably cases of judging a book by its cover before you get to know us and understand what makes us tick. I'm not about that and he's not, either. So it's easy. It makes for an easy connection."

There is also a shared love for science -- just in different capacities.

"I wanted to be a biologist. That was my thing," Clevinger said. "I love facts that can help answer why life revolves, evolves, et cetera. I like those facts. He likes facts and numbers, the science behind pitching with numbers and statistics. And then we both just have that competitive nature."

That common trait lends itself to some brotherly feuds, too.

This past spring, some of Bauer's weighted baseballs kept going missing from his locker. He discovered that Clevinger kept borrowing the training tools, but the righty would forget to put them back. In retaliation, Bauer went into Clevinger's locker and took his hacky sack.

"He was all mad and wouldn't talk to me," Bauer said.

Clevinger fought back.

"He had two books shipped to my locker," Bauer said with a smirk. "One was like, 'It's not all about me,' and the other one was, 'How to Be a Good Teammate,' or something."

Bauer then ordered a weighted-ball set and left that on Clevinger's chair as a truce.

"There's times I want to wring him up by the neck and I'm sure he feels the same way about me," Clevinger said with a laugh. "There's times we've yelled at each other, gotten in each other's face. And there's times we've hugged it out and laughed about it. It's been like a tug-o-war, but it's just that competitive nature."

The $100 bill is evidence to that end, though Bauer notes that Clevinger would not participate in a similar bet this past spring.

"I tried to. He said no," Bauer said. "He knows that I throw harder than he does now."

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.

Cleveland Indians, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger

The most pressing question facing Indians

Teams must decide whether to buy or sell with Deadline approaching
MLB.com @beckjason

The American League Central has become a curious case study, with one or two teams expected to emerge from the pack but no one playing quite to form. With trade season picking up, the buzz in the division should soon take on a different shape.

The Royals sending Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals on Monday for prospects is expected to be the first step in a busy summer for them and the rest of the division. Now that the Draft is over, the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline becomes the top priority for many organizations, regardless of whether they're making a postseason push. For scouts, midsummer travel often becomes a barnstorming tour to watch potential trade targets or evaluate prospects in the Minors. For general managers, the meetings become debates, from the club's direction to potential targets from scouts and analytics.

The American League Central has become a curious case study, with one or two teams expected to emerge from the pack but no one playing quite to form. With trade season picking up, the buzz in the division should soon take on a different shape.

The Royals sending Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals on Monday for prospects is expected to be the first step in a busy summer for them and the rest of the division. Now that the Draft is over, the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline becomes the top priority for many organizations, regardless of whether they're making a postseason push. For scouts, midsummer travel often becomes a barnstorming tour to watch potential trade targets or evaluate prospects in the Minors. For general managers, the meetings become debates, from the club's direction to potential targets from scouts and analytics.

• Non-waiver Trade Deadline explained

One AL Central team, the Indians, clearly are in position to contend. The rest are either rebuilding, retinkering or rethinking. Here's a team-by-team look at the pressing questions for each club.

INDIANS
The question: Will Cleveland acquire bullpen help?

Things went off the rails for the Indians' bullpen in May, when the group turned in an 8.01 ERA that sent its relief corps toward the bottom of the AL rankings. While lefty Andrew Miller has dealt with injuries, manager Terry Francona has struggled to find consistency with his bullpen, making relief help an obvious need as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline nears.

Over the past two weeks, the Tribe has taken strides toward improving its 'pen. Core arms like Zach McAllister and Dan Otero have performed better, while the acquisition of veteran lefty Oliver Perez and emergence of Neil Ramirez have also helped shore things up. Miller's eventual return should continue the upward trend, but Cleveland could still greatly benefit from adding a lockdown relief arm for the stretch run.

Video: MIN@CLE: Perez strikes out Mauer looking in the 6th

ROYALS
The question: How many players will general manager Dayton Moore move before the Trade Deadline?

Moore has said repeatedly he won't trade players for the sake of trading them, but he also is committed to restocking Kansas City's farm system. Trading Herrera and Jon Jay has already landed the Royals several prospects, and Moore has other attractive assets in third baseman Mike Moustakas and super utility man Whit Merrifield. Moore is hesitant to move his best asset, All-Star catcher Salvador Perez, because he doesn't think he'd get the return they'd expect. But the Royals will likely entertain offers on anyone else, from Danny Duffy to Jason Hammel to Justin Grimm and so on.

Video: Moore, Yost talk Kelvin Herrera trade

TIGERS
The question: Will GM Al Avila trade young stars Michael Fulmer, Matthew Boyd and Nicholas Castellanos, or will they become part of Detroit's rebuilding process?

Don't let the second-place standing fool you. The Tigers are still committed to rebuilding around young talent, and they will trade veterans for prospects to restock their farm system. Veterans like Francisco Liriano, Mike Fiers, Leonys Martin and Jose Iglesias are no-doubt conversation starters, but the most popular targets will be younger players like Fulmer, Boyd and Castellanos, all still in their 20s with club control and emerging talent.

Castellanos is a year and a half away from free agency, but he has made it clear he'd like to stay in Detroit. Fulmer and Boyd aren't even in their arbitration years yet, let alone free agency. Avila said last weekend that he'll listen to any deal that makes his team better in the long haul, but he doesn't have a mandate to trade players. He'll deal anyone if the offer is right, but don't expect the Tigers to even consider trading Fulmer -- an All-Star with four more years of control -- without a premium return. Detroit's top prospects are all starting pitchers, so the Tigers will have arms to step up when the time comes.

Video: Tigers GM Al Avila on team's surprising start

TWINS
The question: Can Minnesota stay alive in the division race?

It's still too early to know if the Twins will be buyers or sellers at the Trade Deadline, as it appears their best path to the postseason is winning the division given how far out they are of the AL Wild Card race. If they're buyers, they'll be looking for relief help and possibly a catcher. But if Minnesota is a seller, it will have several players in the final years of their contracts who could be moved, including Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, Lance Lynn, Zach Duke, Fernando Rodney and Logan Morrison. Last year, the Twins sold at the Deadline, but they ended up having an impressive August which led to the second AL Wild Card spot. So it shows how things can change in a hurry.

WHITE SOX
The question: Should they stay or should they go?

From July 13 to August 31 of last season, the White Sox traded nine players from their Major League roster and received 12 young players in return. General manager Rick Hahn already has acknowledged on numerous occasions the trade movement not expected to be as significant in 2018, with the rebuild focus falling more upon talent development, but there still could be some moves made.

James Shields has made 11 straight starts of at least six innings with a 4.13 ERA in that span, making him a possible back-end-of-the-rotation addition for a contender. Closer Joakim Soria entered play on Thursday with six saves and a .138 batting average against in June, while currently injured players, such as outfielders Avisail Garcia and Leury Garcia, reliever Nate Jones and starter Miguel Gonzalez, could draw some interest with a successful return when healthy.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals

Kluber teaches campers game's fundamentals

MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- From the parking lot of suburban Mentor High School, the cheers of nearly 300 children could be heard after they took direction from Indians ace Corey Kluber on Thursday morning.

Kluber, along with some of the area's top high school and college baseball coaches, led approximately 260 kids in grades 1-8 at the Corey Kluber Baseball ProCamp, an instructional clinic focused on the fundamentals of hitting, fielding and pitching at the high school.

CLEVELAND -- From the parking lot of suburban Mentor High School, the cheers of nearly 300 children could be heard after they took direction from Indians ace Corey Kluber on Thursday morning.

Kluber, along with some of the area's top high school and college baseball coaches, led approximately 260 kids in grades 1-8 at the Corey Kluber Baseball ProCamp, an instructional clinic focused on the fundamentals of hitting, fielding and pitching at the high school.

For Kluber, the chance to teach Cleveland's youth on his day off brings back childhood memories of his own.

"You just get to go out and have a good time and play some baseball," Kluber said.

The camp helped kids learn a variety of skills, drills and games, and all campers received a camp T-shirt and a team photo signed by Kluber.

"You want them to be versatile, but more importantly, you want them to fall in love with the game," said Patrick Conway of Willoughby, Ohio, a parent to one of the campers. "It looked like [Kluber] was at every station with the kids. He was here early."

Aside from all of the lessons, Conway said that seeing the kids beam at the sight of a superstar pitcher is motivating.

"He's got pictures of Corey in his room and we have a signed jersey, so this was a dream come true for my son," Conway said. "He was pretty stoked."

A similar sentiment was shared by Tabatha Luzar, a parent of another camper from nearby Kirtland, Ohio.

"My kid plays baseball every day," she Luzar. "If he doesn't have a game, he's playing catch or he's getting the neighbors to come over, or he's playing catch in the pool. Whatever he does, he has to have a ball in his hand."

Kluber was in charge of most of the pitching drills. The right-hander said the most important advice he offered to the campers wasn't a physical technique but the value of the mental side of the game.

"Somebody asked me, 'You can hit buckets and buckets of balls, but you can't make 500 throws in a day, so how do you practice pitching?' And I told them you try to make every pitch count," Kluber said. "You only have a certain number of throws you can make in a day, or otherwise your arm might fall off, but try to have a goal and try to improve with each pitch."

Kluber was typically dominant on Wednesday afternoon, holding the White Sox to one hit across seven scoreless innings while striking out seven. The effort improved Kluber to 11-3 with a 2.10 ERA.

Kluber, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, preached that the campers should focus on perfecting fundamentals while enjoying their time on the field.

"We have an opportunity as members of the Indians to do different things throughout the year to bring joy," Kluber said. "I think it's something that gives an opportunity to get kids out here and give them a chance to have some fun."

Casey Harrison is reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Cleveland Indians, Corey Kluber

Morgan nearly perfect for HIllcats

MLB.com @GoldenSombrero

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Thursday.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Thursday.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Making his sixth start for Class A Advanced Lynchburg, Eli Morgan turned in the best outing of his young career.

Morgan, the Indians' No. 28 prospect, did not allow a hit over six dominant innings, issuing one walk and matching his career high with nine strikeouts as he and a trio of Hillcats relievers combined to fire a one-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory against Myrtle Beach. He threw a season-high 91 pitches in the outing, 59 for strikes.

After retiring the first eight batters of the game, Morgan issued a two-out walk in the third inning that ended his bid at perfection. It was the only blemish on his performance, as the 22-year-old righty proceeded to set down the final 10 batters en route to facing one over the minimum.

Morgan has proved to be one of the biggest 2017 Draft steals in his first full season. The eighth-round selection out of Gonzaga has pitched to a 2.62 ERA with a 0.79 WHIP and 40-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 34 1/3 innings (six starts) with Lynchburg after a dominant start to his season at Class A Lake County, where he logged a 1.83 ERA with 56 strikeouts and eight walks in 44 1/3 innings.

Overall, Morgan owns a 2.17 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 14 starts this season across the two levels. He's held opposing hitters to a paltry .186 average in that span while compiling 96 strikeouts and 14 walks in 78 2/3 innings.

Right-handed reliever James Karinchak (No. 22) locked down his seventh save of the season to seal the Hillcats' combined one-hitter. Another steal from the 2017 Draft, when he was a ninth-round pick out of Bryant University, Karinchak has dominated to the tune of a 0.68 ERA with a .180 opponents' average and 47 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings (20 appearances) this season between Lake County and Lynchburg.

Offensively, Mitch Longo (No. 27) provided all the run support the Lynchburg hurlers would need when he led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run. The 23-year-old outfielder finished the game 1-for-2, also reaching base via a walk and a hit-by-pitch. He's hitting .289/.340/.417 with four home runs in 60 games this season -- matching the exact total he produced over 60 contests between Lake County and Lynchburg in 2017.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Thursday

No. 6 overall prospect Nick Senzel (Reds' No. 1) hit a solo homer and later added a two-run shot to account for all of Triple-A Louisville's offense in a 13-3 loss against Durham. The multihomer performance, the third of Senzel's career, gives him six homers on the season and also pushed his hitting streak to 11 games, during which he's raised his average from .256 to .310 while recording nine multihit efforts.

Senzel's second homer

• No. 10 overall prospect Kyle Tucker (Astros' No. 1) is halfway to his second straight 20-homer, 20-stolen base season after recording his 10th home run and 12th stolen base in a 3-for-5 game for Triple-A Fresno. He's hitting .306 for the season, thanks largely to a 10-game hitting streak during which he owns a .449 average (22-for-44) with three homers, 10 RBIs and 11 runs scored.

• No. 13 overall prospect Royce Lewis (Twins' No. 1) hit a three-run homer in the third inning that proved the difference in Class A Cedar Rapids' 5-4 win over Wisconsin. He finished 2-for-4 at the plate in what was his fourth straight multihit game for the Kernels. The 19-year-old shortstop has been remarkable in his first full season, hitting .305/.347/.469 with 23 extra-base hits (7 HR), 40 RBIs and 16 steals in 56 games.

Lewis goes yard

• No. 27 overall prospect Kyle Wright (Braves' No. 3) struck out eight batters over seven innings, matching his career-best marks in both categories, as Double-A Mississippi downed Jacksonville, 11-2. He allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits, throwing 67 of his 97 pitches for strikes, and did not issue a walk for the first time in 15 starts this season. It was the best home start of 2018 for the 22-year-old righty, who sports a 1.91 ERA (42 1/3 IP) on the road compared to a 6.82 ERA (34 1/3 IP) in Mississippi. Alex Jackson (No. 14) paced the M-Braves offensively by going 4-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI.

• No. 37 overall prospect Jesus Sanchez (Rays' No. 4) blasted a grand slam and went 3-for-4 to help power Class A Advanced Charlotte past Palm Beach, 10-1. The 20-year-old outfielder has homered nine times in 59 games and ranks among the Florida State League leaders with a .328 average (third), 124 total bases (first) and 45 RBIs (tied, first).

• No. 54 overall prospect Yordan Alvarez (Astros' No. 3) stayed red hot with a 3-for-4 performance that included a two-run homer in Double-A Corpus Christi's 4-2 win over Frisco. In five games since coming off the disabled list, the 20-year-old outfielder is hitting .478 with three home runs, 10 RBIs and four multihit performances. For the season, Alvarez owns a .331/.390/.608 batting line with nine homers and 36 RBIs in 32 games.

• Making his Triple-A debut, No. 96 overall prospect Griffin Canning (Angels' No. 5) posted zeros for the ninth time in 13 starts this season, tossing four scoreless frames in Salt Lake's win over Tacoma. He mixed two hits with three walks and six strikeouts while throwing 51 of his 87 pitches for strikes over four innings. Canning, a 2017 second-rounder, has been sensational in his first full season, pitching to a 1.54 ERA with 67 strikeouts and 33 hits allowed in 58 1/3 innings across three levels.

Blue Jays No. 12 prospect Miguel Hiraldo recorded his third four-hit performance in 16 games for Toronto's Dominican Summer League affiliate. He reached base in all five plate appearances, going 4-for-4 with a walk, two RBIs and a stolen base. The 17-year-old shortstop, signed for $750,000 a little more than a year ago, is slashing .429/.493/.667 with 10 extra-base hits and eight multihit efforts in 16 games to begin his career.

Royals No. 3 prospect Seuly Matias connected on his Minor League-leading 23rd home run, a two-run shot, in the sixth inning of Class A Lexington's 9-8 loss against Charleston. He reached base three times in the contest, finishing 1-for-2 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. The 19-year-old slugger has gone deep nine times in 20 games this month after homering seven times in each of the season's first two months.

Royals No. 6 prospect Nicky Lopez hit for the cycle in order, tallying a single, double, triple and home run in the first six innings of Double-A Northwest Arkansas' 17-3 rout of Tulsa. He finished 5-for-6 with two RBIs and four runs scored out of the leadoff spot. The 23-year-old middle infielder is raking in the Texas League, as Thursday's performance gives him a .332/.398/.420 batting line and 91 hits through 71 games.

Lopez hits for the cycle

Tigers No. 11 prospect Mike Gerber went 2-for-5 with a pair of two-run homers as Triple-A Toledo fell to Gwinnett, 7-6. It was the 25-year-old outfielder's first multi-homer performance this season and fifth of his career. He owns a .220 average with seven homers in 37 games this season.

Twins No. 11 prospect Lewis Thorpe racked up a career-high 12 strikeouts and carried a no-hit bid into the fifth inning before completing seven scoreless innings of one-hit, one-walk ball in Double-A Chattanooga's 12-2 win over Biloxi. The 22-year-old left-hander faced two over the minimum in the outing, permitting a two-out single in the fifth and a one-out walk in the following frame. He recorded at least two strikeouts in each of the first five innings and ultimately threw 60 of his 84 pitches for strikes in the season-long outing. Thorpe has 86 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings on the year to go along with a 4.26 ERA.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Kluber first to 11 wins as Tribe routs White Sox

Ramirez, Kipnis hit 3-run homers to back ace's 7 scoreless, 1-hit innings
MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- For one outing, Corey Kluber looked human and red flags were raised. Heaven forbid he allow four whole runs or walk a batter. Against the White Sox on Wednesday afternoon, the Indians' ace showed everyone that there is nothing to worry about.

In an 12-0 romp over Chicago at Progressive Field, Kluber cruised through seven brilliant innings, relinquishing just one single and slicing his way through the final 16 batters he faced without allowing a hit. The end result -- helped by home runs from Jose Ramirez and Jason Kipnis -- was Kluber reaching 11 wins before any other pitcher in baseball this year.

View Full Game Coverage

CLEVELAND -- For one outing, Corey Kluber looked human and red flags were raised. Heaven forbid he allow four whole runs or walk a batter. Against the White Sox on Wednesday afternoon, the Indians' ace showed everyone that there is nothing to worry about.

In an 12-0 romp over Chicago at Progressive Field, Kluber cruised through seven brilliant innings, relinquishing just one single and slicing his way through the final 16 batters he faced without allowing a hit. The end result -- helped by home runs from Jose Ramirez and Jason Kipnis -- was Kluber reaching 11 wins before any other pitcher in baseball this year.

View Full Game Coverage

"I think he's all right," Indians manager Terry Francona said with a laugh. "Boy, I mean, it seems like every five days you try to come up with maybe something different to say, but my goodness. His level of consistency is so high that, man, it's just fun to watch."

Kluber struck out seven, issued one walk and only flinched once in the third, when Omar Narvaez delivered a two-out single that led to nothing. With the victory, Kluber improved to 11-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.10, which is currently the fifth-lowest mark in MLB.

• Davis uses HBP to show off his cartwheel skills

Video: CWS@CLE: Kluber, Alonso talk win over the White Sox

Combined with the work of Trevor Bauer and Mike Clevinger in the previous two wins, Cleveland's rotation limited the White Sox to one run over 21 2/3 innings in the three-game brooming.

"Our pitching staff has been really consistent throughout the whole year," said Indians first baseman Yonder Alonso, who had three hits, including an RBI double. "And, obviously, when you have a horse like that in Corey going out there and doing his thing, that's a plus."

Indians fans are probably breathing a little easier, given how things went last time out for Kluber, who is like the pitching equivalent of a metronome when it comes to the lines he methodically produces every five games. On Friday, Kluber was pulled after only 65 pitches in a loss to the Twins.

Video: CWS@CLE: Alonso rips an RBI double to right field

In that last outing, Kluber issued a walk to end a career-best streak of 46 1/3 consecutive innings without a free pass. He gave up four runs, ending a string of 14 straight quality starts and snapping his American League-record run of 26 consecutive starts with no more than three runs allowed. Those setbacks, combined with the early exit, made it fair to wonder if something was wrong with the leader of Cleveland's staff.

Kluber appears to be just fine in his pursuit of a third career AL Cy Young Award.

"For the middle innings, I kind felt off again," Kluber said. "But I think I just did a better job of adjusting to it and figuring out how to work through it than I did last time. Last time, I couldn't make that adjustment. I made some bad pitches and it hurt me.

"Today, I was able to kind of work through it and adjust some things from pitch to pitch. I think when you can make those adjustments quicker, even if things do feel off, you can kind of try and find that new normal."

Video: CWS@CLE: Encarnacion rips 2-run double to left field

The Indians' lineup did its part in support of Kluber, churning out five runs (four earned) against starter Reynaldo Lopez and piling more as the game wore on. Ramirez launched a three-run shot in the first inning for his 22nd homer of the season, moving him one behind MLB leader Mike Trout. Kipnis highlighted a six-run sixth with a three-run blast of his own.

When Kluber took the mound for the seventh, he was armed with an 11-0 lead and on his way to the win column again.

"I would be willing to bet every pitcher would like to pitch with a lead like that," Francona said. "He just pitches his game. He may throw a few more first-pitch fastball strikes because of the scoreboard, but he just pitches his game. It's nice."

Video: CWS@CLE: Davis knocks an RBI single to left field

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Yes way, Jose: In his first four seasons in the big leagues, Ramirez managed 19 home runs overall. The switch-hitter then broke out with a career-best 29 shots last season, ending as a finalist for the AL MVP Award. Ramirez is on pace to shatter that total this year. In the first inning, the Tribe third baseman belted a 1-0 fastball from Lopez out to center for a three-run homer to spot Kluber a quick lead.

Ramirez's 22 home runs are tied for the fourth-highest total by an Indians batter through the first 73 team games of a season. Al Rosen (25 in 1950) and Albert Belle (25 in '96) hold the record, with Rocky Colavito (23 in '59) coming in second. Belle ('94) and Jim Thome ('97) also had 22. More >

Video: CWS@CLE: Ramirez crushes a 3-run home run to center

Kip caps rally: White Sox reliever Bruce Rondon labored through a 35-pitch sixth inning that helped the Indians turn the win into a rout. After a wild pitch allowed Ramirez to score from third, Rondon then served up a three-run homer to Kipnis to punctuate a six-run outburst in the frame. Over his past four games, Kipnis has gone 6-for-16 (.375) with two homers, four runs scored and five RBIs.

"He's taking more good swings," Francona said. "Even the lineout today before the home run. I think there's more good swings. I think he looks more confident. It looks like when he swings now there's more conviction in going to get the ball. I think he'll be just fine."

Video: CWS@CLE: Kipnis crushes 3-run homer to right-center

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Indians nearly pulled off a double steal in the third inning with Michael Brantley (third base) and Edwin Encarnacion (second), but the White Sox challenged the safe call at third. The ruling was overturned after it was determined that third baseman Yolmer Sanchez applied the tag on Brantley in time. That snapped a streak of 23 successful steals in a row for the Indians, dating back to May 23. That marked the longest such streak in Cleveland history since caught-stealing became an official statistic in 1920.

Video: CWS@CLE: Narvaez nabs Ramirez after review in the 3rd

HE SAID IT
"You know, he's just a baseball player. When you give guys contracts and things, I don't know that Jose really ever [cared]. He just likes to play. Even when we told him today we'd give him a couple innings off. He kind of thought about it a little bit. He just likes to play baseball, and he's really good." -- Francona, on Ramirez

"At the end of the day, Kluber attacks and keeps you off the bases and always, when a club is not scoring any runs, not on the bases, you always look flat. That's not necessarily the case." -- White Sox manager Rick Renteria

UP NEXT
Following a team off-day on Thursday, right-hander Shane Bieber (1-0, 3.97 ERA) will take the mound for the Indians in a 7:10 p.m. ET clash against the Tigers on Friday at Progressive Field. Bieber picked up his first career MLB win on Sunday against the Twins. Detroit will counter with righty Mike Fiers (5-3, 4.09 ERA).

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.

Cleveland Indians, Corey Kluber

Ramirez hot on Trout's tail with 22nd homer

Slugger putting together historic first half for Indians player
MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- If Mike Trout is playing baseball on another planet, Jose Ramirez is on a mission to find it.

In the first inning of Wednesday's 12-0 win against the White Sox, Ramirez launched a fastball out to center field for his 22nd home run of the season for the Indians. The drive pulled the dynamic Tribe third baseman within one shot of Trout for the Major League lead in homers. Boston slugger J.D. Martinez also has 22 on the season.

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CLEVELAND -- If Mike Trout is playing baseball on another planet, Jose Ramirez is on a mission to find it.

In the first inning of Wednesday's 12-0 win against the White Sox, Ramirez launched a fastball out to center field for his 22nd home run of the season for the Indians. The drive pulled the dynamic Tribe third baseman within one shot of Trout for the Major League lead in homers. Boston slugger J.D. Martinez also has 22 on the season.

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"Jose never gives away an at-bat," Chris Antonetti, the Indians' president of baseball operations, said prior to Wednesday's game. "Every single at-bat that he's up there, he is competing and finding a way to try to get a pitch to hit and hit it hard somewhere.

"And some of the skills that we had seen in the Minor Leagues with him -- just a good ability to put the ball in play, manage the strike zone, when he swings, he very rarely misses -- those same attributes are now playing out at the Major League level with more power behind it."

Ramirez's latest blast came on a 1-0 fastball from White Sox righty Reynaldo Lopez, who watched it rocket out to center for a three-run home run. Leading up to the blast, Lopez walked Francisco Lindor to open the inning before second baseman Yoan Moncada booted a grounder from Michael Brantley to put two runners aboard.

Ramirez is tied for fourth in Indians history for the most home runs through the team's first 73 games of a season. Albert Belle (1994) and Jim Thome ('97) also had 22, while Rocky Colavito had 23 in '59, Belle launched 25 in '96 and Al Rosen belted 25 in '50.

Ramirez's shot armed ace Corey Kluber with a quick 3-0 advantage, which ballooned into an 11-0 lead for the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner by the seventh. Before the day was through, Ramirez added a single, drew a pair of walks (one intentional), stole a base and crossed the plate three times.

Video: CWS@CLE: Ramirez scores on Rondon's wild pitch

With that showing, Ramirez now has a .291/.391/.611 slash line to go with 43 extra-base hits, 50 RBIs, 50 runs scored and 10 steals. Ramirez's 4.8 WAR (per FanGraphs) ranks second to only Trout (6.3, entering Wednesday) in MLB.

Ramirez is the first player in Indians history to have at least 10 steals, 20 doubles, 20 homers and 50 RBIs in a first-half since 1908. He is the first AL hitter to achieve that feat since Trout did it for the Angels in 2014. Trout is closing in on reaching those plateaus again in this season's incredible first half for the superstar.

"You know, he's just a baseball player," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Ramirez. "When you give guys contracts and things, I don't know that Jose really ever [cared]. He just likes to play. Even when we told him today we'd give him a couple innings off, he kind of thought about it a little bit. He just likes to play baseball, and he's really good."

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.

Cleveland Indians, Jose Ramirez

Rajai turns HBP into cartwheel

Usually, hit-by-pitches are not fun times. Fastballs hitting your body at 95-mph will not make you smile or cause you to say, "Hey, that was great! Let's do it again!"

But during the Indians' 12-0 win over the White Sox on Wednesday, Rajai Davis helped make light of getting plunked by Juan Minaya when he spun his body around into a fairly impressive cartwheel.

Antonetti talks Tribe's needs ahead of Deadline

Indians 'aggressive in looking for ways to improve the team,' with bullpen top priority
MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- When the Nationals acquired closer Kelvin Herrera from the Royals earlier this week, Washington reeled in the kind of impact arm the Indians could use to stabilize their bullpen.

Given how much sense Herrera made for Cleveland, know that the Indians inquired about his availability with Kansas City. Over the next six weeks leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Tribe's decision-makers plan on leaving no stones unturned in their search for reinforcements for the stretch run to October.

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CLEVELAND -- When the Nationals acquired closer Kelvin Herrera from the Royals earlier this week, Washington reeled in the kind of impact arm the Indians could use to stabilize their bullpen.

Given how much sense Herrera made for Cleveland, know that the Indians inquired about his availability with Kansas City. Over the next six weeks leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Tribe's decision-makers plan on leaving no stones unturned in their search for reinforcements for the stretch run to October.

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"I won't get into specific guys," Chris Antonetti, the Indians' president of baseball operations, said when asked about Herrera on Wednesday morning. "But I think it's safe to say that we've been aggressive in looking for ways to improve the team. And, if there are guys that are out there that might be available, we're exploring it."

Antonetti noted that the Indians could benefit from more consistency in center and right field, but the bullpen remains the main area of need for the American League Central leaders. After a disastrous May (8.01 ERA) for the relief corps, things have been better in June (3.35 ERA, entering Wednesday), but the recent strides have not calmed Cleveland's search for potential help.

Entering Wednesday, the Tribe bullpen ranked 28th in MLB in ERA (5.47) and 29th in Fielding Independent Pitching (4.70).

Video: CWS@CLE: Marshall exits with right elbow soreness

With Andrew Miller, Cody Allen and Zach McAllister among the potential free-agents for the Indians next offseason, Cleveland will cast a wide net for controllable options and rentals. Antonetti cited the 2016 Trade Deadline, when the club acquired Miller and outfielder Brandon Guyer, who both came with multiple years of control, as an example.

"We try to take a multi-year approach," Antonetti said. "It was evident in our trades in 2016. We targeted players that could have an impact beyond just that season. Now, sometimes those players aren't available and you can't align on value and you end up trading for guys like we did last year with Joe Smith or getting Jay Bruce late. That's just the opportunity that was available to us. We'll explore both."

And the Indians have started to ramp up that process.

"In the years in which we're in contention, I think that's been the way we've operated," Antonetti said. "And that's how we've continued to operate this year. Really, since the day after the Draft, the intensity and frequency of trade conversations have picked up and we're actively seeking ways where we can improve the team."

Worth noting

• There remains no clear timetable for return for Miller (10-day disabled list, right knee), but he will continue to work through bullpen sessions leading up to game activity. Antonetti noted Wednesday that Miller will take part in a Minor League rehab assignment before rejoining the Indians.

• Heading into Wednesday's game, Cleveland's rotation ranked second in the Majors with an average of 99 pitches per game. Only the Astros (100.1) ranked higher. Said Antonetti: "Our guys condition to do that. So, they're in a good spot, but it's something we'll continue to be mindful of as we go through the season."

Video: CWS@CLE: Antonetti on monitoring starting pitchers

• Antonetti noted that Carlos Carrasco (10-day DL) is doing well, but said the pitcher still needs to get some of the swelling down in his right elbow before resuming a throwing program. Carrasco was hit on the arm by a line drive on Saturday against the Twins.

• Outfielder Bradley Zimmer (Minor League DL, right shoulder) underwent an MRI exam on Wednesday morning to gather more information about the nature of his injury. Antonetti said the team is still awaiting the results of the tests.

• Outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall was scratched from Wednesday's lineup with bilateral calf soreness, per the Indians.

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.

Cleveland Indians

Clevinger K's 10 to stay hot as Tribe beats Sox

Lindor's single caps four-run inning to back Indians right-hander
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Walking White Sox outfielder Daniel Palka wasn't the ideal ending for Mike Clevinger's outing, but everything else up to that point warranted a standing ovation. And that's exactly what the Indians right-hander received from fans at Progressive Field on Tuesday night after another solid showing.

It was a performance similar to teammate Trevor Bauer's from the day before, which saw Bauer allow three hits and strike out eight over seven scoreless innings. Clevinger struck out 10 over 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball to help the Indians to a 6-3 victory, their third straight.

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CLEVELAND -- Walking White Sox outfielder Daniel Palka wasn't the ideal ending for Mike Clevinger's outing, but everything else up to that point warranted a standing ovation. And that's exactly what the Indians right-hander received from fans at Progressive Field on Tuesday night after another solid showing.

It was a performance similar to teammate Trevor Bauer's from the day before, which saw Bauer allow three hits and strike out eight over seven scoreless innings. Clevinger struck out 10 over 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball to help the Indians to a 6-3 victory, their third straight.

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"I think it's a good thing if they can feed off each other," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said of the relationship between Clevinger and Bauer. "They can learn and that's important. They all go out together and watch their [bullpen sessions] and things like that so they can collaborate a little bit and also hold each other accountable."

In games that Clevinger follows Bauer and faces the same opponent, he's 4-0 with a 2.20 ERA in 65 1/3 innings. In those starts he's allowed 17 runs (16 earned) with a 58-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

"I watch [Bauer's] sequencing a lot," Clevinger said. "I mean, we're different pitchers. We have similar arsenals, so I'll watch how he tunnels certain pitches with certain hitters and the way he attacks them, more so from the first and then the third time through [the lineup]."

Video: CWS@CLE: Clevinger strikes out Moncada, side in 5th

The start also marks the second straight outing Clevinger has dominated the White Sox. He struck out 11 over seven innings while allowing one earned run against them last Thursday.

"He was commanding all of his pitches," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "His fastball had really good life. He was keeping the ball down below the zone. You saw him get a lot of checked swings on some of his breaking pitches. … He's got a pretty good repertoire and was able to command in the zone consistently throughout the whole ballgame."

Clevinger settled in after giving up his only run in the first. Yoan Moncada led the game off with a double and later scored on a Jose Abreu single. After giving up a one-out single to Charlie Tilson in the second inning, Clevinger retired 13 straight.

"When you're in that, that's probably the small amount of time you don't have to think about much besides the pitch that's being called," Clevinger said. "So once I kind of found my mechanics and I was moving well, it was kind of unconscious at that point when it comes to mechanical adjustments.

"That's the funnest way to play. It's so hard to get to that spot and very rarely do you actually feel that way. But when you find that little tunnel and you can just focus on the game, it's a lot easier."

Clevinger didn't issue a walk until the eighth inning, to Yolmer Sanchez, and he walked Palka two batters later. Neil Ramirez picked up the slack and retired the side after facing one batter. After Zach McAllister allowed two runs on a Moncada double in the ninth, Cody Allen came on and retired Abreu for his 15th save.

Video: CWS@CLE: Allen earns the save, seals the victory

The decision to send Clevinger out for the eighth was an easy one for Francona, and it's a decision the skipper said is well-deserved.

"He's earned it, every bit of it," Francona said. "He's doing everything you would ever ask of any guy. He works hard. He's prepared. He competes like crazy. He's got three good pitches that seem to be getting better.

"We're looking always for reasons to have the glass be half full. He gives you a lot of reason to feel that way."

Video: CWS@CLE: Francona on Clevinger's start

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cleveland strikes for four: The Indians posted four runs in the second inning after White Sox starter Carlos Rodon allowed the first four batters to reach base. Yonder Alonso drove in Edwin Encarnacion on a single, and Brandon Guyer scored on a wild pitch. Francisco Lindor capped the big frame by driving in Alonso and Yan Gomes with a single.

Though Cleveland knocked out Rodon after 6 1/3 innings, the rally was especially pleasing for Francona because of the White Sox left-hander's previous success against the Tribe. Rodon entered the game with a 2.43 ERA in 11 career appearances against the Indians with 68 strikeouts over 66 2/3 innings.

"[Rodon] was fighting his command, but I thought we earned some of the fastballs we got to," Francona said. "Laying off some of those breaking balls isn't very easy to do. Yonder did it and then got a fastball he could handle. Because his stuff is really good. That breaking ball spins -- you could see it from the dugout -- especially to the left-handed hitters."

Video: CWS@CLE: Lindor plates 2 with single to right-center

The Indians tacked on two more in the seventh after Rodon left the game. Rajai Davis singled off White Sox reliever Bruce Rondon and came around on a double off the center-field wall by Michael Brantley, who scored on an Encarnacion single.

Video: CWS@CLE: Brantley mashes an RBI double to center

SOUND SMART
With stolen bases from Guyer and Davis. The Indians have 23 consecutive successful steals, marking their longest streak since 1974. The Brewers are the last team to have a similar streak, which ended at 24 in 2016. The two stolen bases also moved the Indians into fifth in the Majors with 48 this season.

Video: CWS@CLE: Davis swipe second base in the 7th

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
For a moment, it looked like Abreu had his 12th home run of the season. In the third inning, he lined a 1-1 changeup from Clevinger down the left-field line over the 19-foot wall. It was initially ruled a fair ball and home run, but Francona chatted with second-base umpire Ted Barrett, prompting a crew chief review. After a 44-second replay review, the call was overturned. Abreu returned to the batter's box, and Clevinger proceeded to strike him out.

Video: CWS@CLE: Umpires overturn the call on Abreu's homer

UP NEXT
Right-hander Corey Kluber (10-3, 2.24 ERA) is scheduled to take the ball on Wednesday, when the Indians host the White Sox in a 1:10 p.m. ET tilt at Progressive Field. On Friday, Kluber exited after giving up a season-high four runs over a season-low five innings against the Twins. That snapped Kluber's quality start streak at 14 outings. It also ended his American League-record run of 26 consecutive starts of allowing three or fewer runs. Chicago will send Reynaldo Lopez (2-4, 3.35) to the hill in the finale of the three-game set.

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Cleveland Indians, Mike Clevinger

Tribe 'pen takes another blow: Marshall hits DL

Right-hander Kontos called up from Triple-A; Indians sign two Draft picks
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- The Indians have not installed a revolving door at the entrance to their bullpen. It just feels that way.

Prior to Tuesday's game against the White Sox, Cleveland's ever-changing relief corps lost Evan Marshall to the 10-day disabled list due to inflammation in his right elbow. The reliever is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday to gather more information. To replace Marshall in the bullpen, the Indians purchased the contract of righty George Kontos from Triple-A Columbus.

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CLEVELAND -- The Indians have not installed a revolving door at the entrance to their bullpen. It just feels that way.

Prior to Tuesday's game against the White Sox, Cleveland's ever-changing relief corps lost Evan Marshall to the 10-day disabled list due to inflammation in his right elbow. The reliever is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday to gather more information. To replace Marshall in the bullpen, the Indians purchased the contract of righty George Kontos from Triple-A Columbus.

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When Kontos throws a pitch for the Indians, he will become the 18th different player to make a relief appearance this season for the ballclub. That includes outfielder Brandon Guyer's first career pitching appearance on Saturday against the Twins. Only the Rays (21), Dodgers (19) and Marlins (19) have used more relievers this season than the Indians.

Indians manager Terry Francona said the high level of turnover creates challenges not only for the manager and his coaches, but for the pitchers involved.

"One, [you try to] get familiarity as quick as you can with what they do," Francona said. "The other thing is, it's easy for me to sit here and say, 'Hey, just go pitch and compete.' But, when guys are pitching or playing and when the inning's over, they're like, 'Oh, I got 'em out. I can stay here,' and they're pitching for their baseball life, it is hard for them. I get it.

"There's movement up and down. [Closer] Cody Allen knows when he has a bad inning, he's going to go out the next day and pitch if the situation calls for it. Other guys, sometimes there's a chance they're going to get sent down or designated. So, that makes it a little harder."

Marshall exited Monday's 6-2 win over the White Sox after throwing a 1-0 pitch to Jose Abreu in the eighth inning and now joins relievers Andrew Miller (right knee), Tyler Olson (left lat strain) and Nick Goody (right elbow) on the DL for Cleveland. On Tuesday, Marshall compared the sensation he experienced to slamming your funny bone on a table. That was followed by numbness in his arm and tingling in his fingers.

Video: SF@PIT: Kontos retires Cutch, strands bases loaded

Kontos, 33, signed a Minor League contract with the Indians after being released by the Pirates on May 28. The righty posted a 5.03 ERA in 21 appearances for Pittsburgh, but has since logged 7 2/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen for Triple-A Columbus.

In 343 career games, Kontos has a 3.11 ERA in parts of eight seasons between stints with the Yankees, Giants and Pirates. The right-hander relies on a sinker, cutter and slider mix and turned in a 2.76 ERA in 219 big league games across the 2014-17 seasons.

"Hopefully, he comes in and [helps us win]," Francona said. "We've all seen relievers that, they get a fresh start, they get on a roll, because of how volatile the relievers can be. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing him pitch."

Tribe signs two Draft picks
The Indians announced on Tuesday that they have signed Lenny Torres Jr., the No. 41 overall pick in the 2018 Draft.

Torres, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-hander from Beacon High School (New York), was selected in the Competitive Balance Round A. The Indians received the pick after Carlos Santana signed with the Phillies in free agency during the offseason. According to MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, Cleveland signed Torres for $1.35 million, below the $1,744,800 value assigned to the No. 41 pick.

"[He's] an impressive kid," Indians director of amateur scouting Scott Barnsby said. "We saw him several times last summer. ... Lenny's been up to 96 [mph], [has] life to the fastball. It's a really quick arm. His slider has really progressed. We feel like he's got a chance to have a solid average-to-plus slider. A developing feel for the changeup. Throws strikes. Looking to develop him as a starter."

Video: Draft 2018: Indians draft RHP Lenny Torres No. 41

Barnsby said when they got to No. 41 and Torres was available, he was an easy pick to make.

"We spent a lot of time with Lenny," Barnsby said. "Not only at some offseason meetings, but we also spent a lot of time with Lenny and his family this spring and feel really comfortable and excited about adding Lenny to the organization."

The Indians also signed seventh-round pick Cody Morris (No. 223 overall) on Tuesday.

Morris, a 6-foot-5, 222-pound right-hander from the University of South Carolina, led the Gamecocks with a 9-3 record and posted a 3.46 ERA in 83 1/3 innings this season.

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.

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Cleveland Indians, George Kontos, Evan Marshall

Ramirez leads AL 3Bs; other Indians in ASG mix

Lindor, Brantley, Encarnacion, Gomes, Kipnis also on leaderboard for starting role
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- After jumping out to a strong lead last week, Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez remains the top vote-getter among  American League third basemen in the newest update of the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot, released Tuesday.

VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

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CLEVELAND -- After jumping out to a strong lead last week, Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez remains the top vote-getter among  American League third basemen in the newest update of the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot, released Tuesday.

VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

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Ramirez leads all AL third baseman with 893,530 fan votes, nearly 400,000 more than Miguel Andujar of the Yankees (509,188). The Astros' Alex Bregman (410,412), the Rangers' Adrian Beltre (249,080) and the Royals' Mike Moustakas (231,363) round out the top five.

Ramirez sits near the top of many AL offensive categories. His 21 home runs rank third in the Majors, his .604 slugging percentage ranks fourth and his 4.2 WAR ranks second only to the Angels' Mike Trout's 6.1.

Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot until Thursday, July 5, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour period, for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.

Following the announcement of this year's All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Final Vote for the final player on each league's roster. Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans may visit MLB.com to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

Ramirez broke out last season, and finished third in AL MVP Award voting. He set career highs with a .967 OPS and 29 home runs in 2017, and led MLB with 56 doubles.

Ramirez has continued to hit well this season, and is on pace to eclipse his home run total from last season. He is one of four players this year with an OPS above .975.

Several other Indians players appeared among the top vote-getters at their respective positions. Francisco Lindor (420,674) is third among shortstops, trailing the Orioles' Manny Machado (671,133) and the Astros' Carlos Correa (458,367). Michael Brantley (518,350) ranks fourth among outfielders, but trails third-place Yankees slugger Aaron Judge (1,061,370) by more than a half-million votes.

Video: CLE@CWS: Lindor belts his 15th homer to lead off game

Jason Kipnis (156,347) ranks fourth among second basemen, which is led by the AL's overall vote leader, Houston's Jose Altuve (1,572,101). Edwin Encarnacion (260,915) placed fifth among designated hitters, which is led by Boston's J.D. Martinez (1,119,263), while Yan Gomes (200,275) ranks fifth among catchers, led by the Rays' Wilson Ramos (678,159).

Casey Harrison is reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Cleveland Indians, Jose Ramirez

Bauer hurls 7 scoreless, strikes out 8 in win

Right-hander just misses historic feat of at least 10 K's in 5 straight starts
MLB.com