Daily Dose: One Last Dose

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After six months and 130 columns, this is the final “Daily Dose” of the 2009 season, although Rotoworld’s baseball coverage is far from over. Our player news page has constant updates 365 days per year, so whether you want to keep up to speed on all the playoff action this month or get the latest rumors and transaction analysis during the offseason Rotoworld will have everything you need.
We’ll also be churning out all kinds of good content here at Circling the Bases, where Matthew Pouliot, Craig Calcaterra, Bob Harkins, D.J. Short, and Yours Truly blog all day every day. And if for some crazy reason Rotoworld and CTB aren’t enough to satiate the daily Gleeman fix that you’ve developed over the past six months, check out my personal blog at AaronGleeman.com and my Twitter updates.
Annoying plugs aside, I’d like to thank everyone who read this column throughout the season and offer a special thank you to those of you who sent e-mails and notes via Twitter. Writing a daily column for six months is a grind, so feedback is always nice, positive or negative. Hopefully the Daily Dose has aided your fantasy teams in some small way. And if your leagues are going down to the wire, good luck this weekend!
While writing 100,000 words in this space since April seems like a lot when you put it that way, here are some notes from around baseball …

* Picking up a win with shutout ball is nothing out of the ordinary for Chris Carpenter, but Thursday’s victory was unique for what he did at the plate. Carpenter came into the game as a lifetime .105 hitter with zero homers in 326 plate appearances, which was good for a .252 OPS that ranked fifth-worst among all active players with more than 300 trips to the plate. So naturally he hit a grand slam and a two-run double.
“I think the only other home run I hit had to be in high school,” Carpenter said. “I was a really good hitter, I guess, but I grew up in New Hampshire and we didn’t see many 90-mph fastballs.” In other words, at this point in his career Reds starter Kip Wells is more or less equivalent to a New England teenager. On the mound Carpenter threw five shutout innings, improving to 17-4 while capturing the ERA title with a 2.24 mark.
* Not to be totally outdone, Tim Lincecum completed his Cy Young case with seven innings of two-run ball, improving to 15-7 with a 2.48 ERA and league-leading 261 strikeouts. While he trails Carpenter by two wins and 0.24 points of ERA, Lincecum logged 32.2 more innings. Carpenter’s rotation-mate Adam Wainwright is one of just two pitchers with more innings than Lincecum, and he’s also 19-8 with a 2.58 ERA.
* Mike Scioscia announced Thursday that Ervin Santana will not be part of the ALDS rotation, as the Angels will instead go with Joe Saunders in Game 4 at Fenway Park. Santana is 5-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 11 starts since August 1, but his overall numbers certainly don’t warrant a playoff start and Saunders is 4-1 with a 3.24 ERA over eight career outings against Boston. Either way, the Angels’ rotation depth is remarkable.
AL Quick Hits: Scott Baker picked up his 15th win Thursday as the Twins staved off elimination … Jon Lester showed that his knee was healthy with 6.1 shutout innings Thursday and will be ready for Game 1 of the ALDS … John Lackey was limited to two innings Thursday in a tune-up for Game 1 matchup with Lester … J.D. Drew sat out Thursday’s game with a shoulder injury that’s not considered serious, but may be benched until the playoffs just to be safe … Kevin Millwood tied his season-high with 10 strikeouts in a complete-game victory Thursday … Impending free agent Russell Branyan returned from the disabled list Thursday … Chris Davis went 3-for-5 with a homer Thursday after hitting .306 with five long balls in September … Matt Garza got another tough-luck loss Thursday in a Quality Start, dropping to 8-12 despite a 3.95 ERA and .233 opponents’ batting average … Carlos Carrasco left Thursday’s start after taking a Jacoby Ellsbury liner off his leg and then fell to 0-4 with an 8.87 ERA.
NL Quick Hits: Tommy Hanson tossed seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision Thursday, finishing his impressive rookie campaign at 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA … Jose Reyes will require surgery after tearing his hamstring earlier this week, but should be ready for spring training … Dan Haren struggled in his final outing Thursday, but still leads the majors with a 1.00 WHIP … Randy Johnson indicated Thursday that he’s uncertain about pitching in 2010 … Aaron Cook tossed eight innings of one-run ball Thursday as the Rockies clinched a playoff spot … Derrek Lee was scratched from Thursday’s lineup for personal reason … Chan Ho Park will likely be unavailable for the playoffs after aggravating his hamstring injury Thursday … Manny Parra gave up five runs over 2.2 innings Thursday, finishing with a 6.36 ERA … Cliff Lee took a loss Thursday, falling to 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA for the Phillies … San Francisco reportedly will bring back general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy in 2010.

Cavaliers will move ring ceremony to avoid conflict with World Series start

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 11: A general exterior image of the Quicken Loans arena which is next door to Progressive Field where the Chicago White Sox will take on the Cleveland Indians on July 11, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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In a show of good sportsmanship, the Cleveland Cavaliers have moved their championship ring ceremony start time back to 7 PM EDT to avoid conflicting with the start of the World Series opener on Tuesday. The Indians are set to host Game 1 at Progressive Field on October 25, while the Cavs will open the 2016-17 NBA season against the New York Knicks at the nearby Quicken Loans Arena, preceded by a ceremony recognizing their first franchise title.

In the event that the Indians clinch a World Series title, it’ll be the first time Cleveland has seen two championships in the same calendar year since 1948, when the Indians’ last Series title came on the back of the Cleveland Browns’ All-American Football Conference championship against the Buffalo Bills. The same was true for the Dodgers in 1988, when their World Series win against the Athletics coincided with the Los Angeles Lakers’ 11th championship, while Chicago has yet to see a multi-title year among their NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB franchises.

Regardless of the Series’ outcome, Cleveland fans will get the chance to revel in one long-awaited championship win on Tuesday before watching the beginning of a nail-biting conclusion to another long-awaited playoff run. The Cavaliers are scheduled for 7 PM EDT on October 25, while the Indians will take the field at 8 PM EDT.

Indians could benefit from long rest before the World Series

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 09: Danny Salazar #31 of the Cleveland Indians delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on September 9, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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If any team can turn a six-day rest period into an advantage, it’s the Indians. The club polished off their pennant race with another injured starter and an overtaxed bullpen, as Trevor Bauer exited in Game 3 of the ALCS with a laceration on his right pinky finger, leaving the bullpen to shoulder 16 innings through the last three games of the series. On Friday, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reported that injured starter Danny Salazar could rejoin the rotation in the World Series, though he’ll need at least one more simulated game before Terry Francona determines whether or not he’s fit to return for the team’s last postseason push.

Bauer, who has been under the close watch of hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham, told the press that he feels confident that he’ll be ready for a World Series start when the final showdown commences on Tuesday. Keeping the wound bandaged is not an option during games, and Bauer said that Dr. Graham decided against additional stitches to keep the laceration from re-opening. Instead, they’re banking on extra days of rest to heal the cut naturally. Should Francona pencil the right-hander into the lineup for Game 3 or 4, he’ll have had 10-11 days to rest his finger between starts — just a hair under the seven games Bauer said he was prepared to pitch.

Salazar, too, has been preparing for a World Series showdown. He’s scheduled to pitch three innings of a simulated game this weekend, and if it goes well, it could land him a spot in the starting rotation alongside Bauer, Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin, and newcomer Ryan Merritt. Salazar has been sidelined since September 9 with a right forearm strain, and even after undergoing a rigorous throwing program over the last several weeks, any kind of comeback is expected to be curbed by a strict innings limit. Francona has been understandably tight-lipped about his World Series roster, but he hasn’t yet nixed the idea of utilizing Salazar out of the rotation, provided the right-hander remains healthy for another week or so.

The Indians have had to remain flexible throughout their seven-game playoff run after weathering injuries to Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, pushing their rotation through several games on short rest and relying heavily on Andrew Miller and Cody Allen‘s one-two punch in the ‘pen to clinch more than a few postseason victories. While history doesn’t always favor the first team to secure their league’s pennant race, an extra week of rest should only benefit Cleveland’s beleaguered pitching staff.