Tonight's starting pitcher was also emblematic of the now fear-year playoff drought. Huff was the Indians' first round pick in 2006, one of a string of top draft picks that didn't work out for the Indians. When the Indians started to lose stars to free agency in 2008/2009, there was no wave of prospects to take their places. David Huff did symbolically take CC Sabathia's spot in the rotation, but in the five seasons since he arrived in Cleveland, Huff hasn't come close to equaling the production that Sabathia had given the Indians. Since drafting Sabathia in 1998, no team-drafted starting pitcher has posted more than a 100 ERA+ and started 20 or more games in a season.
The White Sox faded down the stretch, but in their last series, they just about dominated the Indians. If not for the late-inning heroics in the ninth inning last night, the White Sox would have limited the Indians to 1 run over the three-game set. Tonight it was Gavin Floyd who blanked the Indians; Floyd has had an up-and-down season, with the second half being mostly down, but tonight he was dominant, holding the Indians to three hits in seven shutout innings.
Travis Hafner was in the lineup for what could have been his final game as an Indian. The Indians will not pick up his 2013 option, making him a free agent. Hafner has been a part of every Indians club since 2003, and while he's been hurt quite a bit over the last 4-5 years, he's continued to be a productive hitter even while struggling to stay in the lineup. If this is it, he'll have finished his Cleveland career with a 138 OPS+; only 9 Indians in franchise history have a higher mark.
Many thanks to all of you who have read these recaps, even up to the bitter end of a very bitter season. The interactions with you have helped serve as a sort of catharsis for what at times was a difficult summer, a summer of historic losing streaks, organizational turmoil, and finally organizational change. I wish I could say that the groundwork is being laid for a successful 2013 and beyond, but it's way too early to even predict what the next week will bring. But whatever comes, I look forward to sharing it with you.