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The Stage Is Set

The Indians took care of business at home, and end the homestand in sole possession of the Wild Card lead and within striking distance of the White Sox.

In my mind, the Wild Card is still the main avenue for getting into the playoffs. Even if the Indians take two of three from the White Sox, they'll be 2.5 games out with 10 games to play. So unless the Indians sweep the upcoming series, the division probably won't be in play. But stranger things have happened.

Two Indians got their first major-league at-bats today, the first two to do so for Cleveland this season. And both figure to be important pieces down the road. Ryan Garko may make Ben Broussard expendable in the offseason; he's blocked at catcher, so the Indians have been breaking him in at first base since July. His .303/.384/.498 line with Buffalo tells me that his bat is major-league ready, but he needs to find a position.

Franklin Gutierrez, the other player to make his first major-league plate appearance today, has the opposite problem. He could start in center field right now for the Indians, but his bat isn't ready. Gutierrez is probably the best defensive outfielder in the system, and could fit well in either center or right field. But he had a disappointing year in a level (AA) he played in last season. He did finish well, hitting .254/.320/.403 in a limited stretch at Buffalo, but he needs more seasoning.