#Indians 2014: My Personal Thoughts

Well, here I sit at my laptop on this, the night of the last Cleveland Indians game of the 2014 season. Six months ago, when the season started, I had high hopes for the team. Frankly, so did a number of the team’s fans.

I thought these guys were going to go to the playoffs again this season. Frankly, so did many of the team’s fans.

While most baseball writers thought otherwise,  Jeff Bennett of ESPN’s statistics and information department predicted that the Indians were going to emerge as the world champions of baseball this year.

(For the record, Bennett also thought that the Boston Red Sox would repeat as champions of the American League Eastern Division, and that the Dodgers would win the National League Wild Card Game and parlay that into the National League championship.)

After 162 games, the 2014 Cleveland Indians are done, gone, finished, out the door, whatever expression you want to choose. While some fans are upset that the season is over too soon, I am not one of them.

I feel that despite the loss of several key players on the team, such as Justin Masterson and Asdrubal Cabrera from last year, there’s so much for fans to be proud of.

The fact that Terry Francona’s Indians were mathematically in contention for a postseason berth until as recently as this past Friday night– 160 games into the season– is absolutely incredible given all the trouble the team had gone through this season. In a word, it’s amazing.

I’m proud of what the team was able to do this season even with everything that happened over the course of the last six months.

An 85-77 record this season may not have gotten the Indians into the playoffs, but I still feel that it is a successful season by and large. The Indians exited the clubhouse on this last day of business in the 2014 season in third place in the American League Central Division, five games back of the four-time division champion Detroit Tigers.

364 days ago, the Indians flew back home from Minneapolis with a 92-70 record, second place in the division, one game back of Detroit. They were getting ready for the American League Wild Card Game against the Rays, a game which they dropped 4-0.

This year ended with the same opponent, but with much lower stakes and a different result. The Indians took 2-of-3 to end the second year of the Terry Francona era of Cleveland Indians baseball on a high note.

A postseason berth isn’t everything. I’m still quite happy with the way the Indians performed over the course of the year. The future looks bright for the Indians, a team which has only two players from this season’s roster not under a guaranteed contract for next season.

To quote singer Dr. John in the opening theme song to the early 1990’s teen sitcom Blossom:

“In my opinionation, the sun is gonna surely shine!”

A full recap of the 2014 Cleveland Indians season will be up on this blog in a few weeks’ time. Next Indians game: Monday, April 6 (just 190 days from now, kids) at the Houston Astros.

 

Postseason scenarios: What needs to happen for CLE to get in

drewzuhoskydaily:

Detailed Indians playoff picture.

Originally posted on TribeVibe:

Mob2

The scenarios for the Indians forcing an American League Wild Card tiebreak have become simpler:

  • The Indians must sweep Tampa Bay this weekend, with Corey Kluber — #CyKluber — (Friday), Carlos Carrasco (Saturday) and Danny Salazar (Sunday) pitching
  • The Rangers must win their next three games against the A’s; Texas won, 2-1, on Thursday on Adrian Beltre’s walk-off homer. The Rangers have won 12 of their last 13 games.
  • Seattle must lose at least one of its final three games vs. the Angels

If Texas sweeps Oakland and Seattle goes 2-1 against the Angels — and the Indians sweep Tampa Bay — we have a three-way tie for the second Wild Card spot. The three teams then would be given A, B and C designations. Details:

Determining A, B, C Designations in Three-Team Tiebreakers (When Three Clubs Do Not Have Identical Records Against One Another)

• If Club 1…

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#Indians Still Not Eliminated Yet

The Cleveland Indians have had a rough go of things to begin the final week of an up-and-down 2014 regular season.

After finishing off the Kansas City Royals in the bottom of the 10th inning of their suspended August 31 game Monday evening,  the Tribe were held scoreless during the originally-scheduled game, which began about 45 minutes later.

This scoreless streak continued well into Tuesday night’s game against Kansas City. In the eighth inning, J.B. Shuck plated the Indians’ only run of the ballgame at the expense of a double play which retired David Murphy and Carlos Santana.

After the 7-1 loss to Kansas City, the math was simple heading into Wednesday night’s game, a game that would eliminate the Indians from playoff contention with a loss.

Wednesday, the team responded with their backs against the wall in a big way, winning 6-4. The Tribe got on the board in the home half of the first inning with catcher Yan Gomes’ 2-out 3-run homer, his 21st on the year.

Cleveland kept the shutout going until the top of the fourth inning, when Billy Butler got the Royals on the board with an RBI single. Butler had a 2-run double an inning later after an Eric Hosmer RBI single, giving KC a 4-3 lead.

Jose Ramirez tied the ballgame at 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth inning with an RBI double scoring Michael Bourn. In the sixth, the Indians put the game away when Carlos Santana’s fielder’s choice plated Ramirez to give the Indians the lead to stay.

So, with the win, the Indians are still mathematically alive for postseason contention. To quote Jim Carrey in the 1994 buddy comedy Dumb & Dumber:

“So you’re tellin’ me there’s a chance…”

Yes, there’s still a chance that the Indians could theoretically hook up with the Royals one final time in Kansas City this Monday for the American League Wild Card Tie-Breaker Game (first pitch would be at 8:07 p.m. Eastern Time Monday night.)

According to Major League Baseball, this is the scenario that would need to unfold for the Indians to play game #163:

  • Cleveland would need to sweep Tampa Bay in the final three games of the season this weekend at home.
  • The Kansas City Royals OR the Oakland Athletics would need to lose every single game of their respective series, starting tomorrow (the Indians’ final off day of the regular season.)
  • The Seattle Mariners would need to lose one of their last four games versus Toronto (tomorrow) or Los Angeles (Friday through Sunday.)

If even one of those variables goes the other way, the Indians will be eliminated. Indians fans just have to hope for the best these last four days.

 

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Melissa Mack is married! Congratulations!

drewzuhoskydaily:

Congratulations to Melissa Mack!

Originally posted on fox8.com:

[ooyala code="tqcGFscDqGoyQOalazeA7cT14_5vGWdm" player_id="b248f00b9d6e4d7ba21cbc796a85f61c"]

Fox 8 meteorologist Melissa Mack is officially married!

Melissa announced on Fox 8 News at 4 p.m. back in July that she was engaged to her boyfriend, Ryan. He shocked her with a surprise vacation, where he proposed.

The couple got married Saturday surrounded by their on-air Fox 8 family with beautiful skies and perfect weather! Fox 8’s own meteorologist Andre Bernier officiated.

Congratulations!

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#Indians May Fall Short of Postseason Expectations, but Better Chance Next Year

After an amazing 92-70 regular season last season,  fans of the Cleveland Indians had a fair amount of hope that their team may be back in October baseball this season.

Baseball analysts, columnists, and prognosticators, however, painted a bleaker picture. It was widely expected that the Indians  would experience a period of regression this season.

With the 2014 Major League Baseball regular season entering its final week and a half,  the Tribe are not even close to the team they were a year ago.

It’s because several key pieces to the team’s memorable run to the postseason (even though it was only a one-night stay) aren’t there anymore.

Entering 2014, the Indians had a pair of key players in their respective contract seasons, right-handed pitcher Justin Masterson and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera.

Both stumbled this season. Cabrera only batted .247 with nine home runs and 40 RBI before being traded away to the Washington Nationals an hour before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.  Since Cabrera’s trade to the Nationals, his batting average has fallen to .229, making his overall batting average .241.

As for Masterson,  he wasn’t the ace pitcher that Indians fans had grown accustomed to seeing. Before he was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals on July 30, he had gone 4-6 with a 7.53 earned run average, along with 23 strikeouts over 98 innings pitched.

Since that time, Masterson has thrown 28.2 innings for St. Louis with 116 strikeouts, six wins, and an ERA of 5.97.

Hitting the ball has been somewhat problematic for the Indians, as well. Second baseman Jason Kipnis, who batted .284 with 17 home runs, 84 RBI, and 160 hits (34 doubles) in 2013, has basically been in a slump since the Tribe broke camp back in March in Arizona.

This season, Kipnis only has an average of .243 with six home runs and 43 RBI. One can hope that Kipnis rebounds and has a solid season with numbers more characteristic of what he’s capable of next year.

First baseman Nick Swisher led the Indians in home runs last season with 27, and he complimented that with a batting average of .246, missing only 16 games because of injuries or personal matters over the course of the season.

This year was a different story for him. Both knees bothered Swisher this season, limiting him to a .208 average with eight home runs and 42 RBI. After being placed on the 15-day disabled list August 9 with a knee injury, Swisher underwent surgery on both knees August 21.

He is recovering now and is expected back for Spring Training next season, but time is beginning to run out on his playing career.

He’s logged 11 years already, and will turn 34 years old in November right before Thanksgiving.  He may retire after his contract with the Indians lapses in two years.

Jason Giambi’s been bit by the injury bug, as well. He’s only played 22 games this year due to injury, batting .143 with two home runs and five RBI. Last year,  he appeared in 71 games, hitting nine home runs and 31 RBI,  batting .182.

Giambi is turning 44 years old a week after New Year’s Day, and his best playing days are long behind him. He’ll probably retire this winter after 20 years.

The cupboard is full for next season. Corey Kluber has won 16 games this season with a 2.54 ERA and 244 strikeouts. He needs just two more strikeouts in his next start, which would be Sunday, to get into the top 10 for strikeouts for a single season.

Michael Brantley leads the team in every significant batting category (batting average: .321, RBI: 94, on-base percentage: .380, hits: 183) except for home runs, led by Carlos Santana with 27.

Kluber is projected to be the Indians’ top starter in their pitching rotation next season, and Brantley and Santana will probably continue their hot streaks. If Kipnis rebounds and Swisher returns to form, this team will be a serious playoff contender next season.

With the Detroit Tigers at the end of their run as the team to beat in the American League Central Division (and with several of their key players expected to test free agency this winter), the division is basically up for grabs in 2015.

Sure, the Tribe may have not met the high expectations their fans held them to this season, but next year should be very exciting and interesting.

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BTN announces 2014-15 Big Ten men’s basketball coverage

drewzuhoskydaily:

Big Ten Network’s eighth year of conference play in men’s hoops begins on New Year’s Eve.

Originally posted on Big Ten Network:

CHICAGO – On the heels of three Big Ten teams reaching the Elite Eight in last year’s NCAA Tournament, BTN will televise a record number of men’s conference basketball games this season. The slate features 77 conference matchups, including 10 straight weeks of “Super Wednesdays,” presented by Buffalo Wild Wings, and five Big Ten Tournament games for the first time in BTN history.

“The network is happy to welcome Maryland and Rutgers to an already incredible basketball conference, and we’re excited for another competitive season,” said BTN President Mark Silverman.

BTN’s non-conference schedule will feature several key matchups including Iowa State at Iowa, Creighton at Nebraska, Southern Methodist at Indiana, George Washington at Rutgers, Cincinnati at Nebraska, Oregon vs. Illinois at the United Center in Chicago and Notre Dame vs. Purdue at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Big Ten Conference play tips off with a special “Super Wednesday,” a New…

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Saved by the Bell’s Dustin Diamond Seeking Redemption in Bell Biopic

Originally posted on TIME:

Dustin Diamond, best known for role as Saved by the Bell’s “Screech,” doesn’t understand why he has such a bad reputation.

Like why fans believe he’s actually the aggressive guy they saw on reality show Celebrity Fit Club. (“It was scripted on my end,” the 37-year-old tells TIME. “I had to outdo Gary Busey! I didn’t think the fans would think of everything being real.”)

Or why they were turned off by his self-released and allegedly staged adult film, pleasantly titled Screeched — Saved by the Smell. (“Paris Hilton made $14 million for her sex tape . . . As an opportunist, I thought I could easily fake it and get a stunt double,” he said. “But people just ran with it. Everyone has a sex tape, but I was making porn. And I wasn’t, it wasn’t me. My conscience is clear.”)

And then there was his…

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