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Cleveland Indians Sunday News and Notes: September 21, 2014

One week from today the season ends. Or will it?

If the Indians go 8-0 to finish the season, they'll have a chance to make the playoffs. Simple.
If the Indians go 8-0 to finish the season, they'll have a chance to make the playoffs. Simple.
Hannah Foslien

Last Night's Game

Indians beat Twins 7-3 as Yan Gomes has big night - Let's Go Tribe

Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins - September 20, 2014 | MLB.com CLE Recap

Yan Gomes homers as Cleveland Indians beat Twins to move within 3 1/2 games of wild card | cleveland.com

The past three weeks the Indians have had to make their own off days, in that they would have to blow out an opponents for their relievers to be able to sit. Unfortunately, those artificial off days have been few and far between, as their offense has made sure that there would be few winning blowouts, and the starting pitching has ensured that there would be few losing blowouts. Scrabble was used (and actually picked up the save), but in a semi-long relief role. Zach McAllister, who in the last week-plus of the season will be used as a reliever, pitched a two excellent innings, especially consider that he came into the game with two on and nobody out.

Everyone in front of the Indians lost last night, so they're not dead and buried just yet. I tried to come up with a scenario in which the Indians would make up 3.5 games on Kansas City and 3.0 games on Seattle over the last eight days of the season. Kansas City is pretty cut-and-dry: they just have to sweep the four games (the conclusion of the suspended game and the three regularly-scheduled games) they have with them starting on Monday. Catching Seattle (or Oakland I suppose) is going to be the difficult part , because they'll have to rely on either club falling on their face over the last week of the season:

To clinch second Wild Card:

Cleveland 8-0 (1-0 @ MIN, 4-0 KC, 3-0 TB)

Kansas City 4-5 (1-0 DET, 0-4 @ CLE, 3-1 @ CHW)

Seattle: 4-4 (0-1 @ HOU, 2-2 @TOR, 2-1 LAA)

Besides the winning their last eight games part, the rest isn't insanely unlikely, which makes Friday night's loss so maddening. The clubs in front of the Indians have been stumbling down the stretch, otherwise the Indians would have been all but eliminated by now.

Indians News

Francona being cautious with Kipnis' hamstring | indians.com

Jason Kipnis has been playing most of the season injured with an oblique strain, and now he has a sore hamstring which has led to him being out of the lineup the last several games. Mike Aviles has filled in admirably. One thing to remember: for the suspended game, Mike Aviles cannot play, as he was taken out of the lineup, so Justin Sellers might have to play there if Kipnis isn't ready to go by then.

Also in that article is a little blurb on how the Indians will manage the suspended game. Because the Indians had already used Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw in that game, they can't pitch the bottom of the tenth. One creative solution would be to use Carlos Carrasco, who is slated to start the regularly-scheduled game to pitch the tenth, then "start" the next game, though there is a risk there if the Royals tie the game. Or Francona could go the safe route by using Scott Atchison (or Kyle Crockett plus Scott Atchison) in the tenth.

Latest 25-man/40-man roster

Sept_21_2014_medium

No real changes. Ryan Raburn is done for the season because of knee surgery, but this time of year clubs do not use the Disabled List because the active roster limits are removed for the month of September.

AL Central News

Tigers 3, Royals 2: Salvador Perez's base-running gaffe comes back to haunt KC - Bless You Boys

Baserunning gaffe hurts Royals as they fall 3-2 to the Tigers - Royals Review

The defining play of yesterday's game came in the bottom of the sixth when Omar Infante lined out to the second baseman with runners at second and third. Ian Kinsler threw towards second in an attempt to double up the runner at second, but the throw got past Eugenio Suarez (who was likely not expecting it) and Salvador Perez, the runner at third, ran home. The only problem: Perez didn't re-touch third base before he headed home. The play for whatever reason could not be reviewed, but the umpires huddled together and decided that Perez had not tagged up (I'm sure none of them looked at the play on the big video screen in the outfield), costing the Royals a run and perhaps a win, as they would lose 3-2.

Minnesota Twins Preview New 2015 Slogan: At Least We're Not The Vikings - Twinkie Town

Paul Konerko playable, but not in lineup tonight - South Side Sox

Konerko should get a chance to appear at some point in the last week of the season, as he's been cleared to play.