The Indians tied their season-high winning streak with an 8th consecutive victory Friday night. Unlike many of those wins, this time around the Tribe took a big lead early, and never had to sweat more than a moderate comeback, with the game ending 12-6. Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera each had 3 hits, including a pair of the extra-base variety. Carlos Santana hit two doubles and drew two walks. Drew Stubbs hit his 10th home run of the season; he's the 10th Indian to reach that (modest) milestone, which makes the 2013 Indians one of just 12 teams in history with so many double-figure home run hitters. Corey Kluber cruised early, then ran into a bit of trouble in the middle innings, but five relievers combined to pitch 3.2 shutout frames, including a 3-strikeout 8th by Justin Masterson.
Elsewhere, the Rays finally lost a game, dropping them into a tie with the Indians for the two Wild Card spots (should the teams finish in a two-way tie, Tampa Bay would host the play-in or Wild Card game, due to their superior head-to-head record. The Rangers won their 5th in a row, keeping them just one game behind the Indians and Rays.
AL Wild Card Standings
|Team||W-L||GB||FanGraphs WC Odds|
Other Tribe links:
Chris Perez has been relived of his 9th inning duties. The Indians will instead go to a 'closer by committee' setup, in which a number of different pitchers might be called on should a save situation arise.
Scott Kazmir got stuck in an elevator Thursday night. He was trapped inside one of the elevators at the team's hotel in Minneapolis for 90 minutes before finally being set free.
MLB has made official the AL Wild Card tiebreaker procedure. It is just as has been rumored for a week or so now: Because the Indians have the best combined record in games played between them, the Rays, and Rangers, should the teams end up in a three-way tie at the end of play on Sunday, the Indians would get to host Tampa Bay on Monday. The winner of that game would become Wild Card #1, while the loser would travel to Texas to play the Rangers on Tuesday, with the winner of that game becoming Wild Card #2 (and the loser sent packing).
LGFT Cliff Lee had quite a September, striking out 54 while walking just 1 in 39 innings. Those are not typos, though they do defy belief. If Clayton Kershaw weren't having one the finest pitching seasons of the 2000s, Lee would have a decent case for the NL Cy Young.
At Baseball Nation, Grant Brisbee wades into a debate we've had around these parts more than once in recent weeks: Does the Wild Card game qualify as a part of the playoffs??? As I've said before, I think it's semantics. I'll be happier looking back on this season if they make it into that game than if they don't, and I'll be even happier still if they make it beyond that game.
At SI's The Strike Zone, Cliff Corcoran investigates how big a deal a home-field advantage is (or isn't). The Indians have the worst road winning percentage of any team still in contention.
I wouldn't normally include anything positive about the Yankees, but with Yankee Death having already been celebrated, I think we can afford to be a bit more magnanimous towards them than usual, especially because this is Mariano RIvera we're talking about, someone I've always found it awfully difficult to hate. There have been a ton of words written about Rivera this week. Jonah Keri mentioned me on Baseball Tonight this week, so his look at Mo is the one I'm including here. It features a look at his final home game, some eye-popping statistics, and a really cool GIF of Rivera's cutter (arguably the greatest pitch in baseball history).
Lest you think me some sort of sympathizer, I'd better give you what we know to be Mariano's greatest moment:
My season-long, every couple weeks or so look back at my favorite movies enters the late 1990s, an era in which my friends and became old enough to drive, and saw whole lot of movies at the Lake, Hillside Square, and Yorktown Theaters.
Top Movies, 1995-1999:
6) Fargo - I might change my mind next week, but right now, by a very narrow margin, I'd pick this as my favorite Coen Brothers' film. FX (and the Coens) are currently in production in a ten-part miniseries based on the film, with Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins in 'The Hobbit') in the lead role. Intriguing.
5) Zero Effect - This might be my choice for most underrated movie ever. Just about no one saw it in theaters (but I did!), and not that many more have seen it on video, but I absolutely love it. It's the determining factor for my allegiance in the devastating Bill Pullman/Bill Paxton war that has troubled our nation for years.
4) Heat - One of the greatest crime pics in movie history, with a complex but never confusing storyline. The cast is top notch, giving fine performances across the board. The bake heist scene that spills onto the streets of downtown Los Angeles is so well done. I consider this to be director Michael Mann's masterpiece.
3) The Usual Suspects - Also one of the greatest crime pics in movie history (one spot higher than Heat on that list, I suppose. I saw this one with my dad, before it had gotten much attention, certainly before word of any twist ending had leaked out. I had to pee something fierce for the last 30 minutes, but refused to leave my seat.
2) Rushmore - I saw this while visiting my sister in L.A. during winter break of my freshman year of college. It was playing in just two theaters in the entire country at that point, and I remember returning to campus and telling anyone who would listen how great it was.
1) Seven - I love, love, love this movie. It seems as though either Fight Club or The Social Network is seen the David Fincher's film (and those are both great movies), but I think this, only his second feature film, is his best. Pitt and Freeman (especially) are both tremendous. Nearly flawless filmmaking.
As I did with the late 80s and early 90s, I'll drop a list for each individual year of this era into the comments throughout the day, because it's too hard to name just six from the entire stretch (choosing just six from a single year is tough in a couple cases).