Last night's game
The Indians are in a similar spot right now to where they were a year ago: still in the race, though with several teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race. On August 17, 2013, the Indians were 6 games behind the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central, and 4 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second Wild Card spot. As we start play today, the Indians are 5 games behind the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central and 4.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers for the second wild card. It looks very much like the Angels (or A's, if the Angels catch them) have an iron grip on the first Wild Card spot.
So there's still a chance, though a small one, that the Indians can once again sneak into the playoffs. To do that, they'll need to have a string of pitching performances like they had a year ago. In the past 8 days (6 games), the Indians have allowed just 5 runs, and they've won 5 out of those 6 games. They'll need continue that trend, with Carlos Carrasco hopefully continuing to pitch like he did last night.
In Friday night's game, Buck Showalter tried to upset Corey Kluber's timing in the eighth inning. He utilized the new challenge system to question whether Adam Jones attempted to bunt at a pitch. The whole process took 10-15 minutes, and Kluber was forced to throw some warmup pitches to stay loose. When we talk about speeding up the game, things like that should be a major part of it. Pitching coaches stalling for time in the guise of discussing strategy, and endless trips to the mound by the catcher are things that MLB should look at eliminating.
Kluber will be pushed back a day because of Monday's off day. His last outing (in which he threw 116 pitches) probably had something to with that, and given that him being pushed back a day will not take a potential start away from him, it's the smart thing to do.
Latest 25-man/40-man Roster
(click to embiggen)
For now the Indians have a 6-man rotation with the swap of Danny Salazar for Tyler Holt. Eventually a starter will be optioned down in favor of a reliever, and we'll be back to the status quo (3 bench players, 8 relievers).
AL Central News
With the Royals finally losing....
...and the Tigers winning, once again Kansas City leads the AL Central will just a half-game. If the season would end today, the Royals would win the division, and the Tigers would travel LA to face the Angels in the Wild Card game.
Initially thought to be out of the season because of a torn labrum in his left shoulder, Avisail Garcia was activated from the DL yesterday.
"I really enjoy bossa nova music. It's soothing, and helps me chuck heaters."