Last Night's Game
This one wasn't completely easy, as if not for Scott Kazmir's gem this one would have been a nail-biter like Friday/Saturday night's games. But again, you don't get extra style points for a blowout or ones taken away for winning close games. The important thing is that the Indians are 3-0 this series, and have an opportunity to sweep yet another 4-game series this afternoon.
Although the Indians have a half-game lead, technically they are tied with the Rangers because the two teams have the same amount of losses. If the Indians, Rays, and Rangers all win out, the Indians and Rangers will play a tiebreaker game to determine the club that will travel to Tampa Bay for the Wild Card team.
So it's extremely crowded at the top of the Wild Card board, but there's now a decreasing chance that the three other teams will get in. There's now a 2.5 game gap between the Rangers and the rest of the contenders, and with just 7 or 8 games to play, that's a big deficit to make up. Of the bottom three team, the Yankees have the best chance of getting back into the race, as they host Tampa Bay starting on Tuesday. The Orioles have to win today's game and Monday's game against the Rays and hope that the Yankees sweep Tampa Bay. The Royals with last night's loss to Texas are pretty much done.
American League Wild Card Standings
Justin Masterson's last bullpen session went very well, to the point where he will pitch at some point next week. He's not stretched out enough to start, but he could pitch out of the bullpen piggy-backing with someone late in the week, perhaps Zach McAllister. The rotation through the end of the regular season:
- Sunday, Sep 22: Corey Kluber
- Monday, Sep 23: Off day
- Tuesday, Sep 24: Ubaldo Jimenez (on regular rest)
- Wednesday, Sep 25: Danny Salazar (5 days' rest)
- Thursday, Sep 26: Zach McAllister (5 days' rest)
- Friday, Sep 27: Scott Kazmir (5 day's rest)
- Saturday, Sep 28: Corey Kluber (5 days' rest)
- Sunday, Sep 29: Ubaldo Jimenez (if needed)
The Wild Card game will be played on Wednesday, October 2nd, so that would mean Salazar, McAllister, or Kazmir could be options. Or Justin Masterson, assuming he pitches on Thursday or Friday. which is why I think he'll pitch on one of those two days. Or it could be Ubaldo Jimenez if the Indians have locked in one of the spots (either first or second) on Sunday.
The Indians are the subject of this week's "Mission October," which will air at 7:30 PM Monday night on Fox Sports 1. It's a quick turnaround, as the MLB production crew is getting content this weekend.
Hoynes talks with Dennis Martinez, who had a late-career resurgence with the Indians.
AL Central News
You think the Ubaldo trade was a big controversy back in the day? Think about what the Shields-for-Myers deal is right now among Kansas City fans.
Rosario was moved to second base in an attempt to fill an organizational hole (much like the Indians did when they moved Jason Kipnis there), but apparently the move hasn't worked out.
An odd time to make a trade, but the Rays needed a spot to activate Jesse Crain from the 60-day DL.
Today's Classic Clip
The first night game played at Wrigley Field, August 8, 1988