The 2015 Cleveland Indians season was the 115th season for the franchise. The team played its 22nd season at Progressive Field. The team looked to improve upon their 85–77 record and third-place divisional finish from the previous season; however, the Indians finished in third place in the AL Central with an 81–80 record and missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season and the seventh time in the last eight seasons.
|2015 Cleveland Indians|
|Major League affiliations|
|General manager(s)||Chris Antonetti|
|Local television||SportsTime Ohio · WKYC|
(Matt Underwood, Rick Manning)
|Local radio||WTAM · WMMS|
Cleveland Indians Radio Network
(Tom Hamilton, Jim Rosenhaus)
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October 30: Jason Giambi becomes a free agent. He later retires.
November 6-November 18: Signed 5 players to a minor league contract and invited 3, including Shaun Marcum to Spring training.
November 20: Promoted 5 players from the minors.
December 2: Signed Destin Hood to a minor league contract and invited him to Spring training.
December 7: Signed Adam Moore to a minor league contract and invited him to Spring training.
December 12-December 15: Signed 5 players to a minor league contract and invited 3 of them to Spring training.
December 18-December 20: Signed 3 players to a minor league contract and invited 2 of them to Spring training.
January 6-January 26: Released Tyler Cloyd and signed 5 players to a minor league contract, inviting 3 to Spring training.
January 27: Invited 7 non-roster players to Spring training.
SP Corey Kluber
The Indians opened the season on April 6 against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Despite a strong pitching performance by reigning Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, the Indians failed to score against Dallas Keuchel and the Asros' pitching staff en route to a 2-0 loss. The Indians would bounce back and win the next two games over the Astros as Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer would combine to pitch 14 1⁄3 shutout innings. Indians pitchers recorded 36 strikeouts over the first three games. On April 9, the Indians came within 2 outs of their first no-hitter since Len Barker's perfect game in 1981. Bauer and relievers, Kyle Crockett, Scott Atchison, and Nick Hagadone combined to hold the Houston Astros hitless through the first 8 ⅓ innings. Jed Lowrie broke up the no-hit bid with a home run. Bauer is the first pitcher since 1914 to have at least 11 strikeouts and allow no hits in 6 innings or less.
The Indians' first game at the newly renovated Progressive Field was on April 10, an 8-4 loss to the rival Detroit Tigers. The Indians would struggle to a 7-14 record in April putting them at the bottom of the AL Central. The vast majority of their games were played against division rivals. Reigning Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber failed to record a win in five starts in April, posting a record of 0-3.
The Indians' early struggles continued into the first two weeks of May. On May 14, the team was 12-21, which was the worst record in the American League. The Indians had gone over a month without winning consecutive games, the last time they had done so was the second and third games of the season. The Indians broke that streak by winning two games over the Texas Rangers on May 15 and 16, before winning six straight games from May 19–24. This streak included a sweep over their interleague rivals, the Cincinnati Reds. The Indians won 12 of their last 17 games in May, to climb to within two games of .500.
On May 13, Corey Kluber struck out 18 St. Louis Cardinals batters in 8 innings pitched. He became the first pitcher since Randy Johnson in 2004 to strike out that many in one game, the first American League pitcher with at least 18 strikeouts in a game since Roger Clemens did in 1998, and also tied the franchise record for strikeouts in a game set by Bob Feller in 1938.
Offensively, the Indians were led by second baseman Jason Kipnis, who was named the American League Player of the Month. During May, Kipnis hit .429 with 51 hits and 15 doubles, both of which are the most by any MLB player in a month since 2009. He also had an on-base percentage of .511.
The Indians struggled to an 11-15 record during the month of June. The team won 3 of its first 5 games of the month to climb to within a game of .500, but would then lose 13 of its next 19 games to fall to 33-41 and last place in the AL Central. Kluber failed to record a win for the second month this season, and his record fell to 3-9 by month's end. The Indians' struggles were shown most clearly during a double header in Baltimore on June 28. The Tribe lost both games, 4-0 and 8-0, marking the first time since 1975 that the Indians were shut out in both games of a doubleheader.
One bright spot for the Indians was the emergence of SP Cody Anderson. In two starts in June, Anderson went 15 2⁄3 innings, giving up only one earned run. Anderson's second start on June 29 was the first of three consecutive starts in which an Indians' pitcher took a perfect game into at least the 6th inning.
The Indians began July right where they ended June, with a dominant pitching performance. On July 1, SP Carlos Carrasco would come within one out of a no-hitter in an 8-1 win over the Houston Astros, marking the third consecutive start in which an Indians' pitcher took a perfect game into at least the 6th inning.
The Indians' inconsistent play continued throughout July, as they would have several winning and losing streaks of at least three games. Shortly after the All-Star Break, the Indians had a major set-back as they would get swept in four games by the Chicago White Sox at home, part of a 1-6 home stand. This moved the Indians back into last place in the division, and seemingly out of the playoff race.
The Indians would make several trades before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. They sent OF David Murphy to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for AA infielder Eric Stamets. They traded 1B/OF Brandon Moss to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitching prospect and 2013 first round draft pick Rob Kaminsky. Lastly, they traded RP Marc Rzepczynski to the San Diego Padres for AAA OF Abraham Almonte.
Despite these struggles, the Indians would go on to win the final three games of the month to finish July at 13-13.
The Indians struggles continued, as they would lose five of their first six games of the month, falling ten games below .500 on August 7. On that day, they traded CF Michael Bourn and 1B/OF Nick Swisher and $10 million in cash considerations to the Atlanta Braves for 1B Chris Johnson. The team would bring up OF Abraham Almonte from AAA Columbus after the trade.
The Tribe began a turnaround on August 8, as they would win their next four games, and close out the month winning 15 of 23, including 9 of 10 home games. During this stretch, the Indians recorded 10 base hits in 10 consecutive games, something the Indians had not accomplished since 1936. At the end of the month, the Indians had climbed to within two games of .500 at 64-66, and four games behind the Texas Rangers for the second wild card spot.
The Indians played the majority of the season's final month against their Central Division rivals. The Indians lost 3 of their first 4 games of the month while Kluber suffered a hamstring injury, causing him to miss 12 days. The Indians then won five of their next six games between September 6 and 13, improving their record to 70–70 and marking the first time the Indians were .500 since they were 2–2. The Indians would also be 71-71, 72-72, 73-73, and 74-74, but lost the following game each time. They briefly made it over the .500 mark at 77–76 on September 26, but went on to lose three in a row.
The Indians spent much of September 3–5 games behind the Texas Rangers or Houston Astros for the second wild card spot in the American League. They remained mathematically in the playoff race until the final week of the season, when they lost three out of four to the Minnesota Twins, another one of the teams in the hunt for the last playoff spot. The Indians were officially eliminated from the wild card race during this series on September 30. The Tribe however went on to sweep the Boston Red Sox in their final series of the season, to finish the season at 81–80. This marked the third straight season that the Indians finished above .500, which had not happened since 1999 through 2001.
|Kansas City Royals||95||67||0.586||—||51–30||44–37|
|Chicago White Sox||76||86||0.469||19||40–41||36–45|
|Kansas City Royals||95||67||0.586|
|Toronto Blue Jays||93||69||0.574|
|Wild Card teams
(Top 2 qualify for 1-game playoff)
|New York Yankees||87||75||0.537||+1|
|Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||85||77||0.525||1|
|Tampa Bay Rays||80||82||0.494||6|
|Boston Red Sox||78||84||0.481||8|
|Chicago White Sox||76||86||0.469||10|
2015 AL Records
Source: AL Standings Head-to-Head
(End of regular season)
|2015 Game Log|
|Legend: = Win = Loss = Postponement|
Bold = Indians team member
|T. J. House||0||4||13.15||4||4||0||13.0||19||19||12||7|
|2015 Cleveland Indians|
|AAA||Columbus Clippers||International League||Chris Tremie|
|AA||Akron RubberDucks||Eastern League||Dave Wallace|
|A-Advanced||Lynchburg Hillcats||Carolina League||Mark Budzinski|
|A||Lake County Captains||Midwest League||Shaun Larkin|
|A-Short Season||Mahoning Valley Scrappers||New York–Penn League||Travis Fryman|
|Rookie||AZL Indians||Arizona League||Anthony Medrano|
|Rookie||DSL Indians||Dominican Summer League||Jose Mejia|
LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Columbus
2015 MLB season by team
|Culture and lore|
|Postseason appearances (14)|
|Division championships (10)|
|American League pennants (6)|
|World Series championships (2)|
|Hall of Fame inductees|