Though it was pretty much a foregone conclusion, the Indians went a long way to wrapping up their third straight Central Division title this week, taking three of four from second-place Minnesota at Progressive Field on Monday through Thursday.
The series win extended Cleveland’s lead to 11 games through Thursday with less than two months remaining in the regular season.
Of the three victories over the Twins, two came in dramatic fashion, with the Indians notching back-to-back walk-off wins Wednesday and Thursday -- the first on All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor’s two-out, three-run home run, and the second on a one-out single from All-Star left fielder Michael Brantley.
That meant the celebratory baby-powder dousing returned to Cleveland, where the Indians had produced only two walk-off wins prior to this week.
Left-hander Andrew Miller was activated from the disabled list last Friday and continued to feel his way back with no issues after missing over two months with a right knee injury.
Miller’s fastball velocity was down over his first few appearances, but he had it up closer to his normal 94-96 mph range in his last outing.
It wasn’t all positive for the Indians, who placed newly-acquired center fielder Leonys Martin on the 10-day DL with a non-baseball related injury.
Manager Terry Francona said Martin was dealing with “intestinal turmoil,” and team president Chris Antonetti told reporters Thursday that doctors were still trying to determine a diagnosis.
With Martin sidelined, it likely means more opportunities for Brandon Guyer, who made his Indians debut in center field in place of Martin on Wednesday.
It also means the Indians will likely ramp up their efforts to acquire an outfielder in an August waiver-wire trade -- something they were expected to do even before Martin went down.
Possible targets include San Francisco’s Andrew McCutcheon, Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton and Baltimore’s Adam Jones.