And you thought Giants-Rangers couldn’t inspire passion

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With the famously passionate Yankees and Phillies fanbases on outside looking in, I figured there wouldn’t be any trash talk in the leadup to this thing. And there isn’t a ton coming from San Francisco or Texas yet. But if you look down to L.A. there’s some to be found. From the Times’ Steve Dilbeck:

I don’t know much about the Rangers, except they have Cliff Lee and the Dodgers don’t. They play in Ft. Worth, like to call it Dallas-Fort Worth and call themselves the Texas Rangers. When you have that kind of identity crisis, it’s no wonder you can’t find you way to the postseason.

No matter, I am now a huge fan of the Rangers, whoever they are. Go kick some City by the Bay butt. Find your inner Scott Spezio.

I love this because it goes after both teams. The Giants because Dilbeck is a Dodgers guy and hates the Giants and the Rangers for no apparent reason.  Bitterness can be fun if applied liberally and evenhandedly.

(link via Walkoff Walk, who has a much more extended take on it)

Michael Brantley has ankle surgery, to be sidelined 4-5 months

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The Cleveland Indians just announced that outfielder Michael Brantley underwent arthroscopic ankle surgery yesterday, aimed at stabilizing ligaments. He’s expected to be able to resume baseball activities in 4-5 months, which is likely to delay the beginning of his 2018 season.

Brantley only played in 90 games for the Indians in 2017, sitting out most of August and all of September, but returning for the postseason. He injured the ankle in a game against the Rockies on August 8 and it never did get quite right, as his 1-for-11 line in the ALDS suggested. On the season as a whole Brantley hit .299/.357/.444 with nine homers and 52 driven in.

Brantley’s contract expires with the 2017 season, but there is a 2018 team option at a relatively reasonable $11 million. While he has only played 101 games in the past two seasons combined due to injuries, his strong performance from 2012-2015, and his status as a team leader, will likely lead the Indians to exercise that option.