CLEVELAND — The Indians are well acquainted with late-season surges after going 21-8 last year to make the postseason. This year’s final stretch though will be more challenging.
That stretch begins Tuesday night in Chicago and sees the Tribe playing 30 games in 30 days. According to the Indians Baseball Information department, this will be their longest continuous stretch of games since they played 41 games in 38 days in 1968.
Of the 30 games, all but seven are against AL Central foes. The Indians are 25-26 against the division after going 44-32 last season.
It begins with a seven-game road trip to division rivals Chicago and Kansas City. After losing 20 of their first 29 away from Progressive Field, the Tribe is 18-18 since June 7 and 9-10 since the All-Star Break. However, they are a combined 2-11 at U.S. Cellular Field and Kaufmann Stadium this season.
If the road trip goes poorly, then September could be about just trying to finish above .500 while seeing some prospects.
Going into Tuesday’s action, the Indians trail the Royals by 5 1/2 games in the division and are 4 1/2 behind Seattle for the final Wild Card spot. The Tribe has won nine of its last 13 due to a starting rotation that has a 1.70 ERA. During the same stretch, the offense has scored three runs or fewer in nine games and is batting just .235,
Here is a look at the upcoming stretch:
Tuesday-Thursday at Chicago: After winning 9 of 10 at U.S. Cellular Field last season, The Cell has been a house of horrors for the Tribe this season as they have dropped six of seven, including two in the ninth inning. The White Sox have dropped six straight going into the series but hold an 8-5 advantage against the Indians this season. Rookie Jose Abreu, who leads the AL in RBI with 94, has five home runs against the Tribe. He is second in the league with 33 homers.
Friday-Sunday at Kansas City: The Royals, who lead the division by 1 1/2 games, are a major league-best 24-12 since the All-Star Break and won three of four from the Indians at Kaufman Stadium in late July. The Royals lead the season series 7-6.
Sept. 1-4 vs. Detroit: An 11-game homestand begins against the Tigers. Since the two teams met in Detroit in the first series after the All-Star break, the Indians have gone 16-15 while the Tigers are 15-18 and have fallen out of a playoff spot. Detroit is a game behind Seattle for the final Wild Card spot. The Tribe swept the Tigers in Cleveland in May but Detroit answered a month later with a sweep of its own. After going 4-15 against Detroit last season, the Indians are 7-5 so far.
Sept. 5-7 vs. Chicago: The Indians have won four of the six meetings at Progressive Field.
Sept. 8 vs. LA Angels: This is a makeup from the June 18 rainout and was originally an off day for both teams. It will start at 1:35 p.m.
Sept. 9-11 vs. Minnesota: The Indians have a 4-3 advantage in games played at Cleveland are 7-6 overall against the Twins.
Sept. 12-14 at Detroit: The final road trip of the season, which will be 10 games, begins in the Motor City where the Tribe is 4-2 this season. Last season the Indians didn’t face the Tigers after Labor Day. This year they meet them seven times.
Sept. 15-19 at Houston: The Indians took two of three from the Astros this past weekend and are 8-2 against them since Houston joined the American League.
Sept. 20-22 vs. Kansas City: The Tribe have a 5-2 edge in games at Progressive Field.