Well, it's all over. And what a long, strange trip it's been. Somehow, despite missing the playoffs, I'm pretty darn happy with the way this season went. As I sat through my annual end-of-season viewing of Major League, I reflected on just how much we've got to look forward to in 2015. Ricky Vaughn was a young hot-shot with tons of raw talent who developed into a dominant starter once he learned to harness his stuff - could Trevor Bauer follow suit? Watching Willie Mays Hayes slide into home, it was easy to imagine Jason Kipnis hustling in to score the championship-clinching run. I still get goosebumps at the climax of that scene but it just doesn't compare the feeling we'll all have when the real life Tribe finally makes it happen. I have a hunch that'll be sooner than we think.
Anyway, I guess there's real baseball to be addressed. Though the Tribe is done, ten teams are gearing up for what should be a fun playoff season, one mercifully devoid of teams from New York, Boston, and Chicago. Here's what's up:
The Tribe went out in style behind another solid start and bullpen effort. The offense woke up and put on a show for the respectable final day crowd, winning 7-2.
Indians news & notes
Indians statistical leaders for 2014 | Cleveland.com - It's a simple list full of "dummy" stats, but still kind of fun to see how many times Michael Brantley and Corey Kluber show up.
Hard to turn the engine off after the season | Cleveland.com - Most of the players are packed up and ready for a well-earned few months off. Trevor Bauer even packed up his shoulder tube, whatever that is. But Terry Francona is having none of it. He's already thinking about 2015, perhaps about how he can help Bryan Shaw break his own record for relief appearances in a season.
Giambi unsure of future | Indians.com - Grandpa Jason Giambi just completed his 20th season in the majors, but he's not sure exactly what his next step is. "Maybe somebody's looking for a broken-down 44-year-old..." mused Giambi. I know a good chunk of us here wouldn't mind seeing him back as a coach, but another year of him taking up a roster spot? I don't know if I could deal with that.
WAR Room: Lake County hitters | Indians Baseball Insider - IBI takes stock of the Captains' playoff-making offense. Clint Frazier had a tough start to the year but finished fourth on the team in overall WAR as one of the youngest players on the team.
Around the league
Zimmermann throws a no-no in final game | CBS Sports - Jordan Zimmermann closed the season with a bang, pitching a no-hitter that was saved on the last out by an outstanding catch by Steven Souza. It's the second time in two years the Marlins were involved in a final game no-hitter, only last year it was the Marlins' own Henderson Alvarez that did it. Alvarez was the opposing pitcher yesterday. Isn't baseball beautiful?
Sunday notes: looking back on predictions | FanGraphs - The FanGraphs staff revisits their pre-season picks, which always leads to some interesting insight. For example, who the hell expected Jhonny Peralta to be an MVP candidate?
Postseason power rankings | Sports On Earth - Anthony Castrovince ranks this years playoff-bound teams, putting the scrappy Nationals in the #1 spot. Of all the teams in the show, I think the Nats would be the least offensive champion, so I'll hitch my cart to their bandwagon. LGN!
Dunn finally reaches playoffs | CBS Sports - He's played over 2,000 games in the majors, but Tuesday will be his first ever playoff game. Dunn plans to retire after the season.
Altuve shines in Houston | Sports On Earth - Jose Altuve isn't just a batting champ, he's the face of a franchise that hasn't had one since Craig Biggio. He's meaningful to so many people for so many reasons.