"I called J.B. [Jason Bere] down there and said, 'Tell them to put their seat belts on,'" Francona said, "'because they're all going to pitch and we're going to win.'"
First, the good news. The Indians pulled off one of their best wins of the year, given the circumstances. The bullpen, called upon in the first inning, was magnificent, holding the Tigers scoreless over 10 innings of work. As noted in the indians.com recap, yesterday marked the most pitchers used in a shutout...ever. Nine pitchers, including eight relievers, held the Tigers scoreless in a game Detroit was desperately trying to win.
And a big thank you to Brad Ausmus, who with runners on the corners with one out walked Mike Napoli, who was both a good strikeout and double play candidate, to face Jose Ramirez, who was neither of those.
Jose Ramirez (@MrLapara) September 18, 2016
Ok, I've avoided the bad news for as long as possible. Carlos Carrasco, who would have started the second game of the ALDS, left after being struck by a ball up the middle. The ball struck Carrasco's pitching hand, and later x-rays revealed that he had suffered a fractured fifth metacarpal, which is one of the bones beneath the pinky finger. He's certainly out of the rest of the regular season, but more important, won't be able to pitch in the playoffs.
This injury, combined with Salazar's, is a big blow. Starting pitching becomes even more important to a team in the playoffs, and the Indians will be missing two of the pitchers who would started in the ALDS.
The injury seems even more gut-wrenching when you consider that with the win yesterday the Indians have all but clinched a division title. The Indians still need to officially clinch, then should have 10 days or so to figure out how they're going to deal with the rotation in the playoffs. Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer should start Games 1 and 2, but after that? Who knows.
Laurilia asks Carlos Santana if hitting tape-measure home runs
hits 30 homers feels as good as a line drive that barely clears the wall. Also! Andrew Miller and Mike Clevinger make appearances.
In other AL playoff news, the Red Sox seem to have taken control of the AL East thanks to three wins over the Yankees and the Orioles/Blue Jays scuffling of late. The Orioles and Blue Jays also are three games up on the Tigers/Astros/Mariners for the two Wild Card spots.
Kinsella's novel Shoeless Joe was adapted into the movie Field of Dreams. As with most book adaptations, the movie changed several plot elements, so the underlying book is worth a read even if you've seen the movie. Kinsella also wrote The Iowa Baseball Confederecy, which is also highly recommended for baseball readers.