In 2015, SI boldly picked the Cleveland Indians to win the AL Central. Instead, not only did the Indians miss the postseason, but their AL Central rival Kansas City Royals went on to win the World Series.
2016 however, has been the year of Cleveland sports (except for the Browns).
The Indians were put in a tough spot after the Cavaliers ended the 52-year championship drought in a city that desperately needed a championship. The Indians in the midst of a pennant race, were able to provide an encore.
Last Monday, the Indians clinched their first AL Central title since 2007 in a 7-4 victory over their division rival Detroit Tigers who fell short of the last wild card spot.
This division title though was unexpected with the likes of having the reigning World Series Champions back, the Tigers adding Justin Upton and Jordan Zimmerman and the White Sox acquired Todd Frazier made it seem a long shot for the Indians to win such a competitive division.
But what makes this title so impressive is not the players the Indians have gained, but what they have been through to get to this point. They have been without All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley for all but a mere 11 games this season.
The Indians have been able to adjust to the absence of their catalyst in the middle of the order. SS Francisco Lindor built off his superb rookie year as he was named to his first all-star game this year and has been instrumental in replacing Brantley’s production in the middle of the order.
Free agent pick up Mike Napoli has proven to pay dividends as he tied with Carlos Santana for the team lead in home runs with 34 and lead the club in RBI’s (101).
Napoli, who has only been with the team for one year and just started experiencing the Cleveland culture and fans, still wanted to win the title crown in the 316.
“It was awesome, especially that last inning when they’re all chanting, going crazy. Obviously, we wanted to do it at home, but to be able to come here, play Detroit, a team that we can get it done against. It’s nice.”
However, it’s not Napoli who is earning the highest recognition for the Tribe’s success this year. Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto considers the Tribe’s MVP of the year to be 3B/OF Jose Ramirez. Pluto praised Ramirez in his article about the Indians clinching the AL Central.
“When the Indians needed a left fielder early in the season to replace Brantley, Ramirez played left field. When the Indians needed a third baseman to take over when Juan Uribe failed, Ramirez moved to that position in July. When the Indians needed someone to bat fifth and drive in runs, Ramirez did that,” Pluto said of the 24-year-old budding superstar.
Ramirez’s .313 BA and 75 RBI’s out of the 5-hole helped him earn the nickname Mr.Clutch, because time after time, Ramirez delivered for an offense that lacks extreme firepower from 1 through 9.
The Tribe have also had to deal with losing his top three starting pitchers at different stints over the course of this past month. Danny Salazar went down with an elbow injury early in the month, Carlos Carassco was hit in the hand by a line drive by Ian Kinsler at home against the Tigers and ace Corey Kluber left Monday’s title clinching win after 4 innings with a groin injury.
Francona has already ruled out Carassco for the remainder of the season, including the postseason. For Salazar however there is more optimism, as MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reported Thursday that Salazar threw a 30-plus pitches off a mound last Wednesday, and appears on track to be available out of the bullpen in the ALDS.
Francona was asked about Kluber’s status after Monday’s game and Francona and the Indians have now confirmed that Kluber will be the starter for Game 2 of the ALDS against the Red Sox.
“He’s good, but he has a groin thing that he’s fighting. It started getting him in the third and again in the fourth, so I grabbed him. I told him we need to find a way to win a game, but we aren’t going far without him, so we need to get him healthy and let him do what he does.”
The Indians, Francona in particular, understands how difficult is it achieve success over a 162-game regular season and that it’s important to remember the season doesn’t end here.
“It’s hard, man. It is so hard to explain how hard winning is. We’ve had some challenges thrown our way, but so has everyone else. We managed to get this far, and now we get to play more baseball.”
More baseball indeed is coming the Tribes way. With the Blue Jays defeating the Red Sox to clinch their own playoff birth Sunday in Fenway, the Indians will have home-field advantage for their ALDS clash with the Red Sox.
Trevor Bauer will take the hill first for the Tribe on Thursday with ace Corey Kluber to follow on Friday. First pitch for Thursday’s Game 1 at Progressive Field will be at 8:08 PM ET with Friday’s Game 2 being at 4:38 PM ET
Red Sox Take Game 2 in 2018 MLB World Series
Last night in the 2018 MLB World Series, it was game 2 between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. After 9 1/2 innings, the Boston Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2.
it was David Price (BOS) going up against Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) on the pitching mound.
In six innings of the world series, David Price had an ERA of 3.00 with 3 hits and 2 runs and zero home runs.
On the LA Dodgers side, Hyun-Jin Ryu was the pitcher for the Dodgers. He only lasted 4.2 innings with 6 hits and 4 runs but zero home runs.
Game 3 is set for Friday, October 26, 2018 at 8:06 on Fox
Yankees, Red Sox Negotiating London 2-Game Series
The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox are closing in on an agreement to play a two-game series in London in June 2019, according to Bloomberg’s Janet Perkins and Scott Soshnick.
Reportedly the games will be held at London Stadium, which played host to several events at the 2012 Summer Olympics, if a deal is made official.
The stadium can hold up to 65,000 fans for sporting events and if a deal is made official it will continue MLB’s trend of playing regular season games in other countries such as Japan, Mexico, Australia and Puerto Rico over the years.
The Yankees and Red Sox are easily among the top MLB franchises in terms of global recognition and their storied rivalry and rosters of elite players will be an easy draw for the series as MLB looks to penetrate the European market.
It could also present quite the online betting opportunity for both US and European betting sites, especially as the series kicks off. When it does, this LVbet bonus code could come in handy, especially if it will be the first time you try your hand at something like this.
“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make,” Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.
Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics. MLB has not played any games in Europe before, however, the Red Sox have played overseas in the past, including to Japan before the 2008 season.
“It’s a shorter trip than to California, right?” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone, who has never been to London, commented. “Let’s get the royal family out there. Maybe the queen can make an appearance.”
“It’s following the leader — the N.F.L.,” said Allen Adamson, a branding expert and an adjunct professor at N.Y.U. “It’s good for the Yankees, it’s good for Boston, and an attempt to inject some topspin into the sport, but I don’t think it mitigates the need to revitalize baseball in the United States.”
Adamson added: “It would be more interesting to play in Havana.”
The Yankees are in a business partnership with Manchester City F.C, so they are very familiar with the European sports landscape and the audience, and fans, that attend events across the pond.
MLB is trying to follow in the NFL’s footsteps, as both are chasing the NBA who have spearheaded the efforts to globalize their game.
The Waiting Game Continues For The Red Sox And JD Martinez
The Boston Red Sox haven’t made any significant roster moves this offseason with Spring Training less than a month away. Sure, they’ve revamped their coaching staff and have a new manager, but as far as players go? No new names; essentially the same roster as 2017.
A good way to describe Boston’s offseason would be the sound of crickets chirping.
However, things could change at any moment for the Red Sox and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. He’s waited this long; he can wait a little longer. Everyone knows that there’s only one man Dombrowski’s after; and that is- of course- free agent slugger JD Martinez.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney this afternoon, the Red Sox have offered Martinez a deal “in the range” of five years at $100 million.
Source: Boston's offer to J.D. Martinez is in the range of five years, $100 million.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 17, 2018
At the start of the offseason, Martinez’s asking price was reportedly in the range of $200 million; Boston’s offer is half of that.
Boston needs a power bat in their lineup, and Martinez fills that void. The Red Sox finished fourth-to-last in the majors and last in the American League with 168 homers in 2017, a year that saw MLB set a new record with 6,105 dingers; it was also the first time since 1993 that the Red Sox finished last in the AL in homers. A total power outage!
Long story short, Dombrowski needs to acquire Martinez. Considering he’s yet to make a move to respond to the New York Yankees landing Giancarlo Stanton, the pressure is starting to build up for Dombrowski to show Martinez the money.
Martinez, 30, recently said he’s willing to wait until Spring Training to sign a deal with a new club.
The 6’3” Martinez bashed 45 homers in just 432 at-bats in 2017- one every less than 10 at-bats to go along with 104 RBIs. Not even a full season! His slash line was .303/.376/.690 split between the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. Had Martinez finished with enough plate appearances to qualify, he all but certainly would’ve finished first in MLB in slugging percentage and OPS.
Those type of numbers in a contract year? Nothing but basic economics; that’s how you get PAID!
If Dombrowski doesn’t land Martinez- and assuming no blockbuster trade will be made before the season starts- it will be a wasted offseason for the Red Sox. They’ll have the same mediocre lineup which isn’t good enough to win in October. There will be no Stanton, no Carlos Santana, or no Eric Hosmer for that matter. Those three weren’t good enough for Dombrowski this offseason, and so Martinez is what’s left- not counting other current free agents like Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Todd Frazier- none of whom are on Dombrowski’s radar.
The time is now for Dombrowski to make a move. And by move, I mean sign Martinez. He’s in the prime of his career, made for Fenway Park, and made to give a lackluster Red Sox offense a spark that it so badly needs.
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