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Indians and Blue Jays evenly-matched as ALCS kicks off

Morning news & notes for October 14, 2016

Cleveland Indians v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Tonight is the night. The night eyes across the nation turn once again to Cleveland and Toronto for late-round playoff action (but for the first time in baseball). The night the Tribe plays in its first ALCS since 2007. The night many of us here will be officially diagnosed with short-term hypertension. If you thought it was stressful watching the Dodgers try to put the Nats away last night, imagine that stress multiplied by, like, a huge number. It’s on, folks.

ALCS news & notes

But maybe ... the Indians' Andrew Miller has created a new position | - If you were one of the millions watching Kenley Janson throw 50+ pitches last night, you might not realize that this bullpen “revolution” started in Cleveland. Andrew Miller was the vanguard for what Dous Lesmirises suspects might be a new breed of pitching phenoms. Baseball players, pitchers especially, are creatures of habit, so maybe it’s worth creating a new named position for guys like Miller.

4 numbers that give the Cleveland Indians concern against the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS | - If the horrendous slugging potential in the Jays’ lineup doesn’t scare you, maybe the fact that their pitching staff led the league in ERA will strike fear into your heart. If that’s not enough, read the rest of this article full of numbers sure to make you feel terrible about the Tribe’s prospects in this series!

Blue Jays-Indians: A position-by-position ALCS look | - OK, once you’ve panicked adequately after reading the previous piece, take a look at this one for a more rational and measured look at both teams.

The Cleveland Indians versus Marco Estrada | Waiting for Next Year - Don’t let the high FIP fool you; Marco Estrada excels at inducing soft contact. What he and his battery mate don’t excel at, however, is stopping the run game. These two focus areas could be major factors in Game 1.

Trade acquisitions paying off in playoffs for Tribe | Did the Tribe Win Last Night? - Miller, Guyer, even Crisp - these guys are making big impacts on the biggest stage. The first guy maybe isn’t a huge surprise, but the latter two certainly are.

Cleveland Indians will be fine without Danny Salazar | Wahoo’s On First - The Dzar officially won’t be part of the ALCS roster, but that doesn’t mean the Indians are screwed.

Indians’ successful offense is a group effort | Today’s Knuckleball - Sure, they may not have an MVP candidate, but the Indians are a legitimate run-scoring team. They’ve done it with solid hitting from all slots in the lineup as well as exceptional baserunning.

NLCS news & notes

Capital gain: LA wins in DC, advances to NLCS | - Clayton Kershaw came in for the save on one day’s rest after Kenley Janses threw more than 50 pitches in a game that lasted well over four hours. LA punched their ticket to face the Cubs in an NLCS made in TV ratings heaven.

Clayton Kershaw eliminates the Nationals and a narrative | Fox Sports - Even after pre-game reports indicated he was “definitely not” going to make an appearance in Game 5, Kershaw made the heroic save while at the same time silencing the narrative that he hasn’t shown up for the playoffs.

LCS schedule announced: Cubs get primetime, the Jays and Indians get three day games | Hardball Talk - Shocking no one, the NLCS schedule was given the lion’s share of primetime TV even before the LA/DC series was decided. But hey, you can’t blame the networks for trying to maximize viewers, I suppose.

Ranking the Chicago Cubs' players this postseason | Fox Sports - Say what you will about the narrative, the Cubs have the talent to back up their campaign to end a 108-year drought.

Other baseball tidbits