Last Night's Game
If the Indians win this afternoon, they'll have gone 5-4 on the homestand, but that won't be enough to make headway in the Wild Card race, a race that doesn't have much time left. The loss ended with a pickoff of Abraham Almonte, but that final ignominy wasn't the only reason the team fell short. A key error, several missed opportunities with men on base, and a sacrifice bunt by one of the best offensive players in the league played just as much a role in the 4-3 loss.
The defeat, along with Houston's come-from-behind victory, mean that the Indians begin play today 4 games behind Houston, and 2.5 games behind the Angels. Because the Angels and Astros play a series starting on Monday, losing ground to both teams is critical with just over two weeks to play. Now, instead of concentrating on catching one team (the Astros), the Indians have to hope that the Astros sweep the Angels, only to get swept by the Rangers.
The infield defense will suffer because of this, and probably the offense as well. Urshela has hit .222/.278/.327 (63 OPS+), but Mike Aviles, his replacement, hasn't hit much better this season.
Speaking of rookies, Cody Anderson's 2015 season has been rather amazing given how his 2014 campaign went. He went from the periphery of prospectdom to a key starter on a playoff contender, and has a leg up on a spot in the rotation next season.
With David Ortiz reaching 500 home runs, there's a been a lot of noise about his Hall of Fame prospects. I'm not usually a follower of the "if Player X goes, it should be after Player Y" line of thinking, but in this case I think it's apt. Barring Ortiz playing 3-4 more years at a high level, Edgar Martinez will continue to be the best DH not in the Hall of Fame. Martinez, who played 17 seasons, has a career 68.3 WAR, while Ortiz, who is finishing up his 19th campaign, has accrued 49.8 WAR.
Jung Ho Kang's injury may do to collisions at second base what Buster Posey's injury in 2011 did for home plate collisions. By definition Chris Coghlan's slide was not illegal or even "dirty" in today's moral framework, but that doesn't mean it will remain that way. The hard slide into second base is the only play in baseball (now that home plate collisions have been legislated out) where collision between players are common. The current rule is that as long a player can touch the base with either hand, his slide is legal. I would guess a new rule would contain some kind of language about a player's body (rather than the hand) in line with the base for the slide.
Latest 25-man/40-man roster
With Urshela limited by a sore shoulder, I'd expect Mike Aviles or perhaps Chris Johnson to play third. With Bauer pitching out of the bullpen, the Indians are once again using a five-man rotation, though if the Indians are eliminated, Bauer may get a start in the final week of the season.
After the Clippers return from El Paso, I'd expect Tyler Holt and Jesus Aguilar to be added to the roster. If Michael Clevinger was on the 40-man roster he'd be getting the call, but I don't think they'll add him at this point. CC Lee would be the other possibility to come to Cleveland; he's in real danger of losing his roster spot this winter.