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Game Thread: Hey Kluber, what's the Magic Number?

Kluber duels Buck Farmer in an attempt to clinch the AL Central title.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Indians @ Detroit Tigers

September 26, 2016, 7:10 PM ET. Progressive Field
TV: Not ESPN, because Red Sox - Yankees is way more important
Radio: WTAM. Nothing snarky to say here.



NAP LAJOIE and TY COBB work through piles of opposition research papers; stand at podiums, taking questions from various staffers; toil until 4am ensuring that their delivery is perfect. NAP works with a calm confidence, while TY invokes hellfire with his energy and determination. Finally, they dress in their finest suits on the night of the big debate and walk out on stage to face each other. They wave to the crowd together and smile. TY whispers something into NAP's ear, then walks toward his podium. NAP rolls his eyes and strides toward his.

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the first posthumous major league baseball debate, featuring --

Shut the hell up.

Mr. Cobb, that's not --

I'd actually like to concede this first argument to my opponent, as it is flawless.

A standing ovation from the audience. CY YOUNG hits CHALMERS in the back of the head with a baseball from the back row of the balcony. CHALMERS falls to pieces at the moderator desk like many of his namesake cars.

Now we can actually start talking about the things that matter to these people. There's a game today. You might know that already, but our teams are playing more than 100 years after you bunted your way to the batting title. You played twice that last day. There's an advantage in playing twice. But I felt good. I got a car. I got the crowds. I certainly got the girls. I mean, you never saw enthusiasm like that at an Indians game. You still don't! People are falling asleep.

If I remember correctly, you sat out the last two games of the season with an "eye ailment", because as we all know 23-year-olds suffer from the worst vision issues.

You don't know me. You don't know my life. I take my health very seriously and I'm in fantastic health, by the way. The greatest health. I was hugely disappointed to miss those last two games.

Right. Back to today's game, rather than those 106 years ago: my Indians -- by the way, feel free to name the team after me again -- can eliminate your poor kittens from playoff contention this week with a sweep.

Not going to happen. You're just not dealing in the real world there. And let it be known that I'm not comfortable with your baseball team coming to my city. When Cleveland sends people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you, they're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems with us. They're wearing backward caps. They're diving into first. They don't believe in sacrifice bunts. Some, I assume, are good people, but --

Yes, let's all take a moral lesson from the paragon of virtue himself. A lesson designed to pull attention from the fact that there is a meeting of the Corey Kluber Society tonight --

A cult!

NAP (Ignoring TY):
-- and the efforts of the man whose works and days are admired by many go up against those of one Buck Farmer.

Doesn't matter. We've got Verlander. We've got Fulmer. We've got Norris. We've got heart, and hustle, and grit, and know how to hit in the clutch, and that's America right there at the heart of it. These Tigers are going to win out, and your Indians are going to lose because they are losers, frankly, and you'll feel terrible, and we'll build a --

Whatever you want to tell yourself, that's fine. I'd probably be just as bitter if I lost the World Series to the Cubs. Twice.

Pandemonium inside the building as the audience clears and rushes the stage, baseballs flying left and right, while the following text is projected on a blank screen behind the podiums:

Today's Lineups

Carlos Santana - DH Ian Kinsler - 2B
Jason Kipnis - 2B Cameron Maybin - CF
Francisco Lindor - SS Miguel Cabrera - 1B
Mike Napoli - 1B Victor Martinez - DH
Jose Ramirez - 3B J.D. Martinez - RF
Lonnie Chisenhall - RF Justin Upton - LF
Coco Crisp - LF Erick Aybar - 3B
Tyler Naquin - CF James McCann - C
Roberto Perez - C Jose Iglesias - SS
Corey Kluber - RHP Buck Farmer - RHP