The Indians won their first game since Sunday on the strength of Justin Masterson's best performance of the season yet, a five-hit, complete game shutout which ended on a Nick Swisher hit that scored Michael Bourn (viva free agency!). After two awful losses to New York and the deluge that postponed the last two games of that series, it was a treat to watch Masterson work, even if the offense still seemed rained out.
Find more coverage of the game in:
Our game thread (join us this afternoon!)
The box score (so many zeros)
In other baseball news from Friday night:
All four of the other AL Central teams lost!
Jose Reyes severely sprained his ankle on an awkward slide into second base and will miss anywhere from one to three months, dealing the Blue Jays another blow in what many expected to be their best season in twenty years.
Carlos Quentin was given an eight-game suspension for his roll in the incident between Padres and Dodgers Thursday night that left All-Star pitcher Zack Greinke with a broken collarbone expected to keep him sidelined for close to eight weeks.
Via NBC Hardball talk comes this clip from MLB Network's new show, "MLB Now," in which Brian Kenny slowly gets infuriated with co-host Harold Reynolds and various figures from around the league. In this installment, you hear Harrelson's take on sabermetrics, "It didn't work." I'm not sure what sabermetrics even means in Hawk's mind (a dark place to which I dare not venture), but he adds "give me some guys who want to win a baseball game." Game over.
Emma Span of Sports on Earth wrote about the Twins' (quickly cancelled) plan to charge interested fans $15 to watch the Twins take batting practice (the home team is often finished with batting practice before gates are opened at most parks):
The idea seems to have tapped into deeper resentment and concerns about fan treatment, the cost of games, and, I would argue, the increasing class division at a lot of stadiums... Increasingly,ballgames feel like airlines: they have a clearly defined caste system. People willing to pay extra get an entirely different experience than the rest of us.
Many of you make it to far more games at Progressive than I do, is this something you connect with, in your experiences in attending games in Cleveland?
Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated wrote about the collision that knocked Lou Marson out of last Saturday's game, and home plate collisions in general. His take is that such collisions should be banned, just as they are at every other base (remember the fuss when Albert Belle ran into Fernando Vina between the bases?).
Verducci runs through the most famous collisions that ended with severely-injured catchers, and talks with prominent former catchers. Mike Matheny, known for his own toughness, is on record as wanting the rules changed, but I suspect we're a ways away from that (unless Posey, a reigning MVP, is injured again).
Finally, "42" hits theaters this weekend. The new biopic about Jackie Robinson has been heavily promoted during baseball broadcasts for the last month and received mostly positive reviews. I was able to see a test screening months ago, here's my quick take: It dulls Robinson's edges a bit (though it doesn't pull all its punches, one scene in particular will be tough for some audience members to watch), but the baseball action is well done, the leads (Chadwick Boseman as Robinson and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey) both give strong performances, and it's ultimately an enjoyable film.
I look forward to the arguments, because few things divide baseball fans like baseball films.
My Favorite Baseball Movies:
6) Eight Men Out - A majority of the films on this came out in the late 1980s. That was a great time for baseball on film.
5) The Natural - Perhaps the most iconic baseball move ever, it certainly contains the most iconic (albeit completely over the top) baseball imagery.
4) The Bad News Bears - The original (in case there was any doubt). This and the three that follow are my trues loves (I enjoy the other two, but there's a jump between them and this one).
3) Major League - Is it a crime not to list this at #1 on an Indians blog???
2) Bull Durham - It's somewhat hard to believe that Crash Davis wouldn't have gotten more of a shot at the Major Leagues over the course of his career. He could hit well and called a good game. Who was blocking him?
1) Field of Dreams - Baseball, Iowa, and my dad were three of the most significant parts of my childhood, so I don't mind if Shoeless Joe is batting from the wrong side of the plate.