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Game One Hundred Sixty-Two: Indians 4, Royals 2

Box Score
Win Probability Added @ Fangraphs

Highest WPA:

Aaron Laffey .184
Aaron Fultz .171
Travis Hafner .153

Lowest WPA:

Luis Rivas -.064
Ryan Garko -.051
Chris Gomez -.047

There will be a game One Hundred Sixty-Three, and happily so. This game saw the regulars that were in the lineup get a couple innings of play and exit the game quickly. Travis Hafner got his 100th RBI, but more importantly, finished the month of September with a more Pronk-like .313/.412/.542 line. Joe Borowski saved his 45th game of the year with his customary excitement.

The Red Sox have chosen to take the ALDS with the extra off-day, which changes the way the Indians will fill out their roster. Paul Byrd will be starting Game 4, and the Indians will need to carry 11 pitchers. By virtue of his late-season success, Laffey will be that 11th pitcher. The two spots up for grabs would be the sixth outfielder (most likely Nixon) and the sixth infielder (probably Barfield).

Here are the teams with higher payrolls that will be watching the Indians and their "bargain-basement" payroll participate in the playoffs:

New York Mets: $116M
Chicago White Sox: $109M
Los Angeles Dodgers: $108M
Seattle Mariners: $106M
Detroit Tigers: $95M
Baltimore Orioles: $95M
San Francisco Giants: $90M
St. Louis Cardinals: $90M
Atlanta Braves: $89M
Houston Astros: $87M
Oakland Athletics: $79M
Toronto Blue Jays: $79M
Milwaukee Brewers: $77M
Minnesota Twins: $71M
Cincinnati Reds: $69M
Texas Rangers: $68M
Kansas City Royals: $67M

Two teams with lower payrolls than the Indians (Arizona and San Diego/Colorado) will also make the playoffs. Time for some new talking points, Bud.

Next Up: Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday. Wang vs. Sabathia, time TBA.