The Indians dropped a frustrating game in Oakland Friday night, losing to 3-2 to the Athletics after going just 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and leaving 13 runners on base. The game ended on a hard-hit ball by Asdrubal Cabrera, which momentarily looked like it might tie the game, but instead turned into a double play. Justin Masterson pitched 7.2 innings, allowing only 3 runs, but the effort was wasted. The Tribe finds itself 4.5 games back of the second wildcard spot, which is a big hole to climb out of. They almost have to win at least one of the next two (better: win both) to remain in contention.
Other Indians notes and links:
Bastian's daily notes at MLB.com include word that Corey Kluber is "flying through" his rehab, Carlos Carrasco is being moved to the bullpen, Carlos Santana is going to be batting cleanup for the time being, and Terry Francona is in favor of the decision to move towards expanded replay, but would prefer a fifth umpire be in place to determine when there should be a review.
Also at MLB.com, Mark Emery looks at the sprained finger that's sidetracked both Zach McAllister and Corey Kluber this season. It's similar to what derailed former top prospect Adam Miller's career, but the good news is the team was extra-cautious with McAllister and Kluber's injury is said to be less severe.
LGFT manager Charlie Manuel is no longer at the helm of the Phillies. They apparently told him they weren't going to renew his contract for 2014 and he decided he'd rather not finish out 2013 in that case. Ryne Sandberg takes over as interim manager, and I expect he'll be a candidate for the job next year too. Manuel won 220 games as manager of the Indians from 2000-2002 and then 780 games with the Phillies, dating back to 2005. That gives him an even 1,000 victories. The Indians made the playoffs once under Manuel and the Phillies got there five times, and won the 2008 World Series.
Maybe the biggest story in baseball this week was the announcement that instant replay is going to be expanded. I'm in favor of that, but I don't like the new system, in which managers will have 'challenge flags,' as coaches in the NFL have for some years now. Joe Posnanski doesn't like the new plan either. Hardball Talk's Craig Calcaterra also made a good point when he speculated that players might really control the new system, not managers.
Another major story from Friday was a 60 Minutes report that Alex Rodriguez's camp leaked word of Ryan Braun and other players' involvement in the BioGenesis scandal to the press, in order to draw attention from Rodriguez himself (an accusation Rodriguez strongly denied when asked about it).
At Sports Illustrated, Cliff Corcoran examines the tight spot this puts the MLBPA in.
At Sports on Earth, Will Leitch observes that this could make for an awkward Yankees clubhouse, since teammate Francisco Cervelli was among the names leaked to the media. This is the angle that first occurred to me when I heard about the 60 Minutes report, because throwing other players under the bus (especially a teammate) to save your own skin seems likely to be a pretty unforgivable sin in the eyes of many other players.
On the lighter side...
Craig Robinson runs Flip Flop Fly Ball, which houses "baseball infographics and other visual treats." As that description implies, Robinson creates a lot of things that are great fun to look at. He's put together a very cool series of pixilated baseball cards, they look like shots from an old Nintendo game (I'm talking original NES). Anyway, they're great fun. Only one Indian is included in the set, but he's a keeper (and there are a few former/future Indians included too). Other personal favorites include the Bo Jackson, Andre Dawson, and Larry Bernandez entries.
It's been a month or so since I listed any movies. I'm on to the 1980s, specifically the decade's first half. As we get into years I've seen more movies from, it gets harder and harder to limit myself to six choices. The notion that I have to stick to six is entirely self-created and merely an attempt to tie into the "six pack" gimmick, but I stubbornly stand by it. I'm going to cheat this week by counting Harrison Ford's movies as a separate category.
Top 6 Harrison Ford movies of the early-1980s:
6) Witness - I could go for a good barn-raising...
5) Blade Runner - I have no idea which version I'm familiar with (there have been roughly half a dozen different edits of this one through the years).
4) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - This movie led to the creation of the PG-13 rating, presumably after children were terrified by the sight of a man ripping people's hearts out.
3) Return of the Jedi - The Rebel Alliance's mission to save Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt really put a lot of their top people at risk. Didn't they have some sort of SWAT team that could have gone instead? I guess the rancor would have killed them all.
2) The Empire Strikes Back - The movie that gave me my profile picture. If anybody has a line on these shoes in a size 10 or 10.5, or this jacket in a medium, my birthday is in January. Even without Boba Fett, this would have been one of the greatest movies ever made.
1) Raiders of the Lost Ark - Few movies (if any) are as purely enjoyable as the original Indiana Jones.
Those are also the ONLY movies Ford made in that time period, which is a pretty impressive (and unblemished) run.