Last Night's Game
Oh, what can happen in the span of a week. Last week at this time the Indians were thinking of a four-game sweep in Detroit. Today they'll try to avoid getting a four-game sweep in Kansas City.
In the three games the Indians lost this weekend, each time they've either led the game outright or have had an excellent chance of winning it. Last night they jumped on Jeremy Guthrie for five runs, but never landed a knockout blow, and Zach McAllister then gave up a big inning of his own.
Beyond Corey Kluber, who has become one of the best pitchers in the game, and Trevor Bauer, the rotation has been revolving door of starters, with five pitchers filling those last three spots. If that continues, there's very little chance the Indians will do anything but perhaps stay around .500.
I think this past week was the last real opportunity for the Indians to get themselves back into the division race. Having taken three out of four in Detroit, they could have put a lot of distance between themselves and Kansas City. Now, with two clubs ahead of them, it's going to a hot streak of the kind we haven't seen since last September for that to happen. That makes this upcoming series with Seattle much more important, as it looks like that second Wild Card spot is the only viable way of the Indians making it into the playoffs.
Josh Tomlin had been in the rotation since the beginning of May, so yesterday's move was quite a surprise. Tomlin has struggled of late, but not to the point where you thought it was inevitable that he'd been shipped out. The way the off days work, I think McAllister will be optioned this Friday to make room for Justin Masterson, who set to be activated off the Disabled List.
Speaking of Masterson, he made another rehab start on Friday, throwing 108 pitches in 6.2 innings against Norfolk. Not exactly a comforting line score, though three of the five runs he was charged with scored after he left the game. Going into the season, we expected Masterson to have a great season, then leave via free agency. He'll probably still leave via free agency, but it certainly won't be with a great season under his belt.
Latest 25-man/40-man roster
I had to actually look at the official 25-man roster to figure out who the heck is in the rotation right now. Zach McAllister (who pitched last night) and Danny Salazar are the current two in the rotation, and with an off-day tomorrow, that means that the Indians won't need a fifth starter until Saturday, and that will probably be TJ House (as Tomlin has to stay in the minors 10 days barring an injury).
Asdrubal Cabrera may return to the lineup today, so I'd expect Jose Ramirez to go back to the minors soon, and a reliever to take his place on the roster.
AL Central News
The Tigers needed relief help, and they got it with Joakim Soria. They did pay a heavy price for him (Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel), but the Tigers are in win-now mode, and those two aren't helping them in 2014.
Today Frank Thomas enters the Baseball Hall of Fame. One of the best hitters of his generation, and probably the best American League hitter of the 1990s.
Some players who helped beat the Indians may not be around when the Indians next play the Twins. Kendry Morales has already been traded, and there's probably more to come by the deadline on Thursday.
This week's video clip
Hall of Famer Frank Thomas homers future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson