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This week in 1995: Having already clinched, the Cleveland Indians play out the string

After clinching the AL Central with over 20 games to play, the Tribe only had one more thing to shoot for, the best record in the league. This week they play the hated Yankees and the Red Sox at the Jake. Plus, a review of the pitching against the AL Central.

Jose Mesa was fantastic against the AL Central in 1995
Jose Mesa was fantastic against the AL Central in 1995
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

With three full weeks left in the season, and the team having already clinched the AL Central, the Tribe had to balance keeping everyone fresh against also remaining focused. This week would not be an issue as potential match-ups in the postseason loomed, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Also, we review how the Tribe fared against the AL Central pitching wise.

September 11-13, 1995

September 11: Yankees 4, Indians 0

September 12: Yankees 9, Indians 2

September 13: Yankees 0, Indians 5

The Yankees had been relegated to the Wild Card chase with the loser of the AL West battle at this point in time. In the opener, Jack McDowell took on Dennis Martinez. Manager Mike Hargrove stuck to his normal lineup but it didn't do him much good as McDowell was fantastic. He only allowed four hits and four walks while striking out eight in a complete game shutout. The Tribe only really threatened in the fifth and sixth innings with two baserunners. Martinez was pretty good, but not as good. Bernie Williams singled in one run in the third and Darryl Strawberry one in the sixth. Don Mattingly had a sacrifice fly in the sixth and Tony Fernandez had one in the ninth off Paul Assenmacher.

With Scott Kamieniecki on the mound for Tuesday, Hargrove played Wayne Kirby in right and Alvaro Espinosa at short. The Yankees struck first with a run in the third, but a two run shot by Kenny Lofton got the lead right back. Randy Velarde tied it with a single in the sixth off Ken Hill. And the Yankees took the lead in the seventh after a double by Bernie Williams, a single by Paul O'Neill and a fly ball by Ruben Sierra off Alan Embree. The Tribe couldn't muster any offense against the bullpen (including Bob Wickman) and the Yankees blew it open in the ninth against Julian Tavarez. He gave up six runs on five hits, two errors and a walk with the big blast being a two run homer by O'Neill.

Carlos Baerga was the only regular to take off the finale. He wouldn't be needed as the Tribe salvaged one win with Charles Nagy being completely dominant. He only gave up three hits and two walks with five strikeouts in a shutout. The Indians scored one in the first when Lofton walked, stole second and third and scored on Omar Vizquel's double off David Cone, with Omar scoring later on a Manny Ramirez single. Albert Belle added a solo shot in the fifth and Omar drove in two more with a base knock in the sixth.

September 14-17, 1995

September 14: Red Sox 3, Indians 5

September 15: Red Sox 6, Indians 3

September 16: Red Sox 5, Indians 6

September 17: Red Sox 9, Indians 6

This was the first game where Hargrove started playing most of his bench as four regular starters were on the bench. It didn't matter much in the beginning as Herb Perry and Manny Ramirez each had an RBI in the first. The Tribe went up 3-1 in the fifth on a Sandy Alomar single. Ramirez and Vizquel added a RBI each in the sixth and seventh. Orel Hershiser almost had a complete game, but Mike Greenwell crushed a two run shot in the ninth. That forced Jose Mesa into the game for his 43rd save.

Chad Ogea duled Erik Hanson on Friday night. The game was scoreless until the fourth when Belle hit a leadoff homer. The Sox tied in the seventh on an RBI double by Mike McFarlane. Embree started the eighth ad promptly walked a pair before Mo Vaughn crushed one to right. After two more scored off Jim Poole, the lead was 6-1. The Inidnas made it interesting in the ninth as Belle and Murray hit back to back shots to open the frame, but the winning run never got up to bat.

The Tribe's bench mob got to Roger Clemens early on Saturday afternoon as Perry, Jesse Levis and Alvaro Espinoza all had RBIs in the second. But the Red Sox scored four off Mark Clark in the third to take a 4-3 lead. Jim Thome got the lead right back with a two run blast, scoring Brian Giles. Espinoza added an insurance run in the sixth, which proved useful as the Sox tacked one on in the eighth. But Mesa had a perfect ninth.

On Sunday, Dennis Martinez only pitched the first and allowed two runs. John Farrell relieved him and was doing alright until the sixth. By the end of that inning, it was now 6-1. Billy Ripken hit an RBI single and Thome hammered one to deep left off Mike Maddux with two aboard to make it 6-5 Sox. Manny tied it with a singled off Joe Hudson. But the bullpen couldn't hold as the Red Sox scored twice in the eighth and once in the ninth.

Pitching: AL Central Splits Review

G

ERA

IP

HR

WHIP

K/9

Dennis Martinez

12

4.20

79.1

9

1.16

4.7

Charles Nagy

10

4.99

61.1

7

1.57

6.2

Mark Clark

8

4.00

45.0

2

1.36

4.6

Orel Hershiser

6

2.95

42.2

5

1.08

4.6

Ken Hill

6

3.12

34.2

2

1.33

6.2

Julian Tavarez

19

2.45

29.1

3

1.16

7.4

Eric Plunk

22

1.65

27.1

2

0.95

10.2

Chad Ogea

7

4.00

27.0

4

1.30

6.7

Jose Mesa

21

0.39

23.0

0

0.74

9.0

Bud Black

5

6.23

21.2

3

1.85

6.6

Jim Poole

18

3.37

18.2

1

1.18

5.8

Jason Grimsley

6

4.91

14.2

1

1.71

5.5

Paul Assenmacher

17

4.40

14.1

2

1.33

8.8

Joe Roa

1

6.00

6.0

1

1.83

0.0

Dennis Cook

6

3.60

5.0

0

2.00

16.2

Alan Embree

5

18.00

3.0

0

3.67

3.0

Albie Lopez

1

1.93

4.2

0

1.07

9.6

Paul Shuey

3

5.42

1.2

0

1.20

5.4

Gregg Olson

2

16.17

1.2

0

3.59

0.0

Total

51

3.85

461.0

42

1.31

6.2

A few of the starters really inflated their win totals against the division rivals. Martinez made 12 starts and was 5-2. Clark was also 5-2 but in just 7 starts. Hershiser was 5-1 in his six starts and Nagy was 5-3 in 10 starts. Mesa tallied 15 saves and allowed just one run.

Summary

The Tribe took the foot off the gas a little and had their first losing week in a long time. The Indians need just two more wins to clinch the AL's best record. And luckily the lowly White Sox and Royals were on next week's schedule.

Standings

W

L

Pct

GB

RS

RA

Pythag

Cleveland Indians

91

41

689

-

750

556

634

Kansas City Royals

67

63

515

23.0

575

601

480

Milwaukee Brewers

62

69

473

28.5

686

670

511

Chicago White Sox

60

70

462

30.0

695

702

495

Minnesota Twins

48

81

372

41.5

617

800

383