#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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Welcome to the Confusing Football League

drewzuhoskydaily:

The pursuit of Weston Dressler by CFL teams remains an enigma.

Originally posted on Ottawa Citizen:

From somebody foreign to the scene, the Canadian Football League can seem like an odd place indeed.

Consider the initial reactions of Redblacks practice roster wide receiver Eddie Poole, a Florida native trying to get his feet wet at TD Place after picking up his passport and arriving in Canada for the first time late last week. He might have wondered whether CFL stood for Confusing Football League.

There are the complexities of import/non-import quotas, single points for missed field goals, the overwhelming size of the field compared to the NFL (“seems like heaven to me, so much space,” he says) and the real head-scratcher — trying to get up to speed on how it’s mathematically possible for a pair of 1-7 teams to be playing each other for a playoff spot this weekend.

“It’s confusing, to say the least,” Poole said of Friday’s pivotal game between the Redblacks and…

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Detroit bowl game gets a new title sponsor too

drewzuhoskydaily:

R.I.P., Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Originally posted on CollegeFootballTalk:

The Bahamas Bowl was not the only bowl game to receive a new title sponsor today. The new bowl game in Detroit, not to be confused with the bowl game previously held in the Motor City, received a new title sponsor as well. Say hello to the Quick Lane Bowl.

The Detroit Lions are organizing the new bowl game in Detroit, which replaces the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Having a local industry partner was important for the Lions. Staying true to the roots of the old Motor City Bowl, a partner in the auto industry seemed like a logical choice from the start.

“With a national platform to showcase the city of Detroit as well as Southeast Michigan football tradition, it was important for us to partner with an organization like Quick Lane who has a strong local and national presence,” said Detroit Lions President Tom Lewand, per…

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Bahamas Bowl orders fried chicken title sponsor

drewzuhoskydaily:

Two new title sponsors. One is a food brand, the other, a bowling alley.

Originally posted on CollegeFootballTalk:

The brand new bowl game this college football season being played in the Bahamas will have a hint of southeastern seasoning in the air. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has been named the brand new title sponsor for the Bahamas Bowl.

“Popeyes is honored to partner with the Bahamas Bowl to bring this historic bowl game to college football fans everywhere,” said Hector Munoz, Vice President of Marketing for Popeyes via press release. “Like college football, Popeyes enjoys a rich tradition and passionate fans, and we look forward to a great game and a lot of fun in the Bahamas.”

This is the first time Popeyes has been a corporate title sponsor for a bowl game. The restaurant chain can be found in 27 countries including Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Costa Rica, but not in the Bahamas (yet).

The Popeyes Bahamas Bowl will be played on December 24 with conference…

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Dodger reality for the young and/or delusional

drewzuhoskydaily:

Good thoughts.

Originally posted on Dodger Therapy:

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Note to the delusional or just very young Dodger fans that can use that as an excuse for not knowing better…

The Dodgers will win the West. They have as good a chance as any to win it all. They have three very strong starters (assuming Ryu comes back healthy and Greinke shakes off his recent malaise (for him anyway), so that means they can beat anyone the days they pitch. They have superstars up and down the roster, most of who have underachieved in 2014 but could wake up in the post-season. The team has won in spite of never truly being hot. They’ve won with subpar years from many. They’ve won with Donnie. They’ve won with a partial bullpen. They’ve won with no offense at all from catcher. They’ve won with poor defense. They’ve won even though they’re 0-44 in games they’ve trailed through 7 innings…

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