Last Night's Game
This afternoon the Rangers will actually be a good team thanks to Yu Darvish, so last night's victory in what was essentially an even mound matchup was key. If the Indians have any hopes of making the one-game playoff (technically they are still in the division race, but it would take a miracle now to overtake the Tigers) they need to win almost every game against a non-contender.
TJ House may never be a front-of-the-rotation pitcher, but at least for this season he's been a pretty decent 5th starter, and that's been exactly what the team has needed. With Zach McAllister's demotion to the minors, he should get more chances to start thanks to outings like tonight. The Tribe bats were held scoreless by Rangers starter Miles Mikolas, and House matched him inning for inning. He probably could have gone longer than the 5+ innings he pitched if not for the scoreless game.
The ageless Scott Atchison might not have got the save tonight, but for all practical purposes he was the one most responsible for the Indians winning 2-0. He came into the game having to face Adrian Beltre with runners on first and second and two more batters with runners on second and third, and got out of the inning without allowing the Rangers to score. The Indians scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to provide the margin of victory.
Before the game the Indians honored Jim Thome with a statue just outside Heritage Park. It stands roughly where this 511-foot home run landed on July 3, 1999.
Speaking at the ceremony were Tom Hamilton (the emcee of the event) Mark Shapiro, Mike Hargrove, Charlie Manuel. At the ceremony were Thome's family, several of Thome's former teammates, former GM John Hart, and the current Indians team. In a parallel to another Cleveland athlete, the wounds left from Thome's departure have been healed thanks to the way he handled his return to the Indians. The trade that brought him back in 2011 allowed the fans an opportunity to put aside any lingering animosity, setting the stage for yesterday's ceremony.
Amazingly, the statute unveiling was only one of three big happenings before the game. During his remarks, Thome officially announced his retirement, and that he would be signing a one-day contract so that he would retired as an Indian. And after hearing Thome announce his retirement, current Indian Jason Giambi decided to give up his current number 25 jersey so that no Cleveland player would ever wear it again. In essence, number 25 has been officially retired. The official ceremony will happen when Thome enters Cooperstown, which hopefully isn't far away, but last night's gesture by Giambi was just as poignant. Jersey numbers are a big deal to players, and Giambi has worn 25 in most of his post-Oakland career.
On Jason Giambi giving up his number 25:
More on yesterday's ceremonies and announcements:
Latest 25-man/40-man Roster
The 40-man roster stands at 39, if you assume that for all intents and purposes Zach McAllister is still on the roster. The Indians will call up Josh Tomlin for Tuesday's game, giving them a 5-man rotation for the first time since before the All-Star Break. I would assume that Tyler Holt, who is up because of Chris Dickerson's injury, will return to AAA when Tomlin is added to the roster, giving the Indians once again a 3-man bench.
This week's video clips
The complete unveiling ceremony. From beginning to end, it was perfect.