Last night's game
After struggling through most of September, Corey Kluber finished his season with a flourish. Last night Kluber shut down a really good Boston lineup, striking out nine in eight shutout innings. Kluber ends 2015 with a very similar statistical total to his Cy Young-winning 2014 - all except the win-loss record, but that's not relevant:
"We'd take five of him and be happy as [heck]," Francona said. "Tonight showed you his professionalism. There's nothing more on the line, except playing to compete because you care."
If Kluber had pitched in front of a competent defense in the first half, his numbers might have been even better than what he ended up with (222.0 IP, 3.49 ERA (122 ERA+), 9.9 SO/9, 1.8 BB/9, 7.7 H/9).
As of now, the Indians have six pitchers for five spots in the rotation for 2016, which is a good problem to have.
As good as Allen has been, I'm leery about giving any relief pitcher a long-term deal. If the Indians do strike a deal with Allen, I'd say two years with an option should be the maximum length. If the option would be picked up, then that would Allen to free agency, at which point you say goodbye and go with someone else that you have in the organization.
Down four in the 9th, the Angels scored five runs off Texas relievers to take the lead, and LGFT Joe Smith got the save to extend LA's season to at least today. Because the Astros won last night, the Angels still do not control their destiny; however, from a baseball fan's perspective, you'll be rooting for the Angels this afternoon, for if they win, a one-game playoff will be taking place tomorrow. If the Angels win and Astros lose to Arizona, the Angels and Astros will play to determine the second wild card. If the Angels and Astros win, then the Astros will play the Rangers to determine the AL West champ (with the loser playing the Yankees in the wild card game).
Max Scherzer became the sixth pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the same season, and posted the highest Game Score (a stat developed to measure a pitcher's performance) in a no-hitter. He struck out 17 batters without walking a batter. Only Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game in 1998 topped Scherzer's performance as far as Game Scores are concerned.
I know it's Sunday, the day when the NFL rules all, but you might want to clear out a couple hours to watch some baseball. Every game (with the exception of the Cardinals-Braves doubleheader) starts at 3 PM Eastern, which will make for some great channel-flipping. MLB.tv is free today, so you can use that service to flip between games, or just watch the MLB Network, which will flip for you.
Here's the relevant games:
(all games start at 3:xx PM Eastern)
LA Angels at Texas
Houston at Arizona
New York Yankees at Baltimore
If Texas wins, they win the AL West, and will eliminate LA from the playoffs (Houston is wild card)
If LA wins and Houston wins, Texas and Houston play on Monday to determine AL West (loser is wild card)
If LA wins and Houston loses, LA and Houston play on Monday to determine who plays NY in wild card game
If Texas wins, Houston wins, and New York loses, then Houston hosts New York in wild card game
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee
If Pittsburgh wins, they host the Cubs in Wednesday's wild card game
If Pittsburgh loses and Cubs win, the Cubs host the Pirates on Wednesday
Kansas City at Minnesota
Toronto at Tampa Bay
If Kansas City wins, they have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and will play the wild card winner in the ALDS
If Toronto wins and Kansas City loses, they will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and will play the wild card winner in the ALDS
Latest 25-man/40-man roster
Francisco Lindor has overtaken Jason Kipnis for highest WAR on the club, and that's quite impressive, for Jason Kipnis isn't exactly a slouch. Lindor's 1.7 defensive WAR ranks 10th in the AL and first among shortstops, though he is ineligible for the Gold Glove because he was called up too late in the season.
Take a look at that pitching staff. The Indians almost had six starting pitchers reach the 2.0 wins mark, and might have 10 pitchers reach the 1.0 win mark, which is incredible in itself. Mickey Callaway deserves whatever raise he's going to get this winter.