So far this has been the worst week of the season for the Cleveland Indians, who've been hammered by the last-place Minnesota Twins three nights in a row, and have seen their five-game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central shrink to just two games.
On Monday Danny Salazar was pulled before recording an out in the third inning. He gave up six runs, all of them earned.
On Tuesday Carlos Carrasco lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up eight runs, all of them earned.
On Wednesday Trevor Bauer made it just 2.2 innings, allowing eight runs, seven of them earned.
That's three games in a row the Tribe's starting pitcher failed to last even four full innings, and gave up at least six earned runs. Prior to the last three days, there had been five instances in the last decade when the Indians had three starts like that in an entire calendar month, much less on three consecutive days.
It was April of 2007 the last time the Indians had even two games like that (fewer than four innings, 6+ runs allowed) in a row, when Jake Westbrook and Jeremy Sowers turned in back-to-back duds against the Yankees.
The last time the Indians had three starts like that in a row was in June of 1961, when Gary Bell and Wynn Hawkins each got walloped in the two games of a doubleheader against the White Sox, and then Jim Perry got the same treatment in the team's next game, against Detroit. In two of those three games though, there were multiple unearned runs, and so only Perry was actually charged with six runs.
To find the last time three Indians starters in a row gave up 6+ earned runs, we've got to go back another three decades, to June of 1930, when Jake Miller, Willis Hudlin, and Clint Brown each got knocked around by the Yankees. The baseball gods had the decent to give the Tribe a day off between the second and third of those two games, so if you want to know about something like this happening in three consecutive games on three consecutive days, well that's something the Indians had never experienced before.
The Yankees teams that did the damage in 2007 and 1930, and the White Sox and Tigers in 1961, those were all good teams. The 2016 Twins, on the other hand, have been in last place most of the season. Even after the last three days, they have the worst record in the American League.
Some of the Tribe pitchers from those earlier games were having pretty solid seasons, but some of them sure weren't, whereas Salazar, Carrasco, and Bauer had all been among the 20 or so best starters in the American League this season.
You can't predict baseball.
Salazar's outing was so bad the team decided to have an MRI done, and he's landed on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. Mike Clevinger has been called up to fill the vacancy in the rotation, and he'll start today's series finale. One can only hope that by not having been with the team in recent days, he avoided whatever hex was put upon the rotation.