How long since the Indians swept each of their AL rivals?

Lisa Blumenfeld

A look back at the last time the Tribe swept its American League rivals.

Last night the Indians finished off a sweep of the Angels, wrapping up a successful 6-3 road trip and pulling within 2.5 games of the second Wild Card spot. It was mentioned during the broadcast that this was the Tribe's first sweep in Anaheim (excuse me, their first sweep in Los Angeles of Anaheim) since 1999. That got me wondering about when the Indians last swept other teams, in other cities. I put on my detective hat (which does not exist) and went to find out. What follows is each American League team (not counting the Astros, on account of them being new in town), with the last time the Indians swept* them at home, and on the road. With one glaring exception, the findings are good.

*in a series with at least 3 games

Orioles

Last sweep in Cleveland: April 15-17, 2011

Last sweep in Baltimore: April 17-19, 2001

Travis Hafner had a pair of homers in that 2011 series, which was part of the Indians fantastic start that season, while Marty Cordova (remember him?) hit two in the finale of the 2001 sweep, which also featured a win from Dave Burba, which makes it feel like far more than 12 years ago to me.

Red Sox

Last sweep in Cleveland: April 5-7, 2011

Last sweep in Boston: April 12-15, 1996

That 2011 series included 7 shutout innings from Roberto "Fausto" Hernandez, in the best outing he had in his last two years with the Tribe. Boston is one of just two cities on this list the Indians haven't earned a sweep in during the 2000s, but that 1996 series was a 4-gamer, and included a 14-2 drubbing in which Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, and Albert Belle all homered, and a complete game shutout by Jack McDowell in the finale.

White Sox

Last sweep in Cleveland: July 29-August 1, 2013

Last sweep in Chicago: June 28-30, 2013

The one team the Indians have swept both at home and on the road already in 2013. If you think back all the way to three weeks ago, you may recall Jason Giambi and Carlos Santana hitting walk-off home runs in that home series, while the road one involved a doubleheader with a record 7 hours and 53 minutes of baseball without a single extra inning, on a day when Jason Kipnis reached base 8 times.

Tigers

Last sweep in Cleveland: May 22-24, 2012

Last sweep in Detroit: August 25-27, 2008

Justin Masterson out-dueled Justin Verlander in the finale of that 2012 series, which served as the high-water mark for the 2012 team, as it put them 8 games above .500 (with a 3.5 game lead in the Central). In that 2008 sweep, Grady Sizemore had a two-HR game and Cliff Lee picked up the 19th win of his Cy Young-winning campaign.

Royals

Last sweep in Cleveland: July 12-14, 2013

Last sweep in Kansas City: April 13-15, 2012

Kipnis and Santana each had 6 hits in that series last month, which also included Corey Kluber tossing 7.2 shutout innings while striking out 8 (come back soon, Corey!). The 2012 sweep featured Hafner's titanic home run to deep, deep right field at Kauffman Stadium.

Angels

Last sweep in Cleveland: August 4-6, 2000

Last sweep in "Los Angels": August 19-21, 2013

This week's sweep game at a good time, with the Tribe fighting to stay in the playoff hunt. It also included the longest game of the year for the Indians, Tuesday's 5:17, 14-inning affair. Thome and Roberto Alomar both homered twice during the 2000 sweep, while Alomar and Kenny Lofton each stole two bases.

Twins

Last sweep in Cleveland: September 15-17, 2008

Last sweep in Minnesota: September 16-18, 2011

Santana homered twice in the 2011 series and Thome hit his last ever long ball in an Indians road jersey. The 2008 sweep was part of the Tribe's late-season push that season, which already came up in the Detroit entry, and will be featured again twice more before this post ends.

Yankees

Last sweep in Cleveland: September 11-13, 1970

Last sweep in New York: April 7-9, 1989

Oof. It's hard to believe the Tribe hasn't swept even a 3-game series from them in over 24 years, meaning some of you have never been alive for such an event. The winning pitchers in 1989 were Rich Yett, Greg Swindell, and Tom Candiotti. In 1970 they were Mike Paul, Dean Chance, and Steve Hargan. If those names aren't familiar to you, ask your parents, or maybe your grandparents.

Athletics

Last sweep in Cleveland: May 6-9, 2013

Last sweep in Oakland: May 10-12, 2000

Kipnis, Nick Swisher, and Mark Reynolds each homered twice during the series this May. Jaret Wright pitched a complete game shutout in the finale of 2000's sweep, which took place during the second week of Charlie Manuel's managerial tenure.

Mariners

Last sweep in Cleveland: May 17-20, 2013

Last sweep in Seattle: April 8-10, 2011

The four-game series in May involved three walk-off victories, with the only exception being a 6-0 win in which Masterson went seven innings and the offense hit Felix Hernandez hard. The opener of that 2011 sweep included a 10-run 4th inning that saw Santana, Hafner, and Orlando Cabrera each collect two hits as the lineup batted through.

Rays

Last sweep in Cleveland: May 25-28, 2009

Last sweep in Tampa Bay: August 22-24, 2003

The Indians trailed 10-0 in the first game of the 2009 series, and were still down 10-5 with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, but a Ryan Garko home run, four consecutive walks, and a Victor Martinez single completed the comeback. The 2003 sweep included Cliff Lee going 8 innings for the first time in his career (he's since gone 8+ another 75 times).

Rangers

Last sweep in Cleveland: July 26-28, 2013

Last sweep in Texas: August 22-24, 2008

The July series had back-to-back shutouts, with Ubaldo Jimenez going 8 innings in the finale, allowing just 2 hits in his best performance as an Indian. Andy Marte had a hit in all three of the 2008 wins, at a time when most of us still had high hopes for him.

Blue Jays

Last sweep in Cleveland: June 28-July 1, 2010

Last sweep in Toronto: August 8-10, 2008

Speaking of prospects during better times, Matt LaPorta had a pair of home runs in that 2010 series, which also included Jake Westbrook's penultimate win as an Indian. Shin-Soo Choo had 7 hits in the 2008 sweep, which kicked off the Tribe's American League-best 32-17 finish that season.

In Closing...

The Indians have swept every other AL team (not counting Houston) at least once during the last five years, with the Yankees as the lone holdout (and good gravy is that ever a long holdout). More impressively, the Tribe has swept a series from four AL West teams in 2013 (and six AL teams altogether), with the only exception being the lowly Astros (if you must know, the Indians have never swept Houston in the seven series they've played over the years). That's tough to do, given that they play those teams just twice a year now. The Indians hadn't swept all four of those teams in the same season since 1980, when there were only 12 AL teams and they played one another more frequently. That's the only time it ever happened before.

The Indians first ever sweep of the Astros and first sweep of the Yankees since 1989 are the big things to keep an eye out for, and we can all hope they update their most-recent sweep against some of the teams they play again in 2013.

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