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The Indians shut out the Orioles to win 16 straight

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If you haven’t noticed by now, the Indians are on something of a roll. They cruised to their 15th consecutive win on Thursday, defeating the White Sox 11-2 thanks to Corey Kluber‘s 13-strikeout performance and a veritable hit parade. On Friday, they did one better, shutting the Orioles out 5-0 to take their 16th straight win.

Mike Clevinger led the way, holding the Orioles scoreless through six and striking out seven of 23 batters to extend his scoreless streak to 18 consecutive innings. He was backed by a stellar effort from Cleveland’s bullpen, who clinched the win with three innings of one-hit ball by Tyler Olson, Bryan Shaw and Nick Goody.

While the Indians didn’t run away with the game in double-digit fashion this time, they provided a comfortable five-run backing to stay ahead of the Orioles. Edwin Encarnacion posted a mammoth three-run shot to center field in the first inning, his 34th of the year:

Carlos Santana tacked on a bonus RBI in the sixth, just brushing fair of the first base line for a ground-rule double to score Yandy Diaz. In the seventh, with the bases loaded and two outs, a wild pitch from Richard Bleier gave Francisco Lindor a brief window to score the fifth and final run of the evening.

As for the streak, the Indians’ 16 wins tied an AL Expansion Era record first set by the Royals in 1977, though they’re still four games away from tying the 2002 Athletics’ record of 20 straight wins. They’ll need to sweep both the Orioles and Tigers to beat that streak with 21 consecutive victories — no small feat, as the Orioles have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games and are hot on the heels of the Twins, Angels and Rangers for the second wild card spot. Josh Tomlin is scheduled to face off against Baltimore righty Gabriel Ynoa on Saturday, when the Indians try for No. 17 at 1:05 ET.

Astros greeted with boos in first spring training game

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The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.

Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.

There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.

That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.

The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.

One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.

Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.

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