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“Moneyball” nominated for Best Picture

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The Oscar nominations came out this morning. I’ve seen three of the Best Picture nominees. That is easily the most I’ve seen by nomination time in years. Maybe a decade. Having kids sort of kills your moviegoing mojo.

There’s a decent chance I would have posted about this anyway because, hey, it’s the offseason and why not, but I have a bona fide baseball reason to post about it too: “Moneyball” was nominated for Best Picture.  As was Brad Pitt for Best Actor and Jonah Hill for Best Supporting Actor. It also got nods for Best Editing, Sound Mixing and Adapted Screenplay.

Observations:

  • I liked “Moneyball” enough, though I have to say that not once while I was watching it did I think that it was Best Picture material. If they had nominations for “Neat Picture,” maybe, but whatever.
  • Brad Pitt’s performance had a lot of Oscar-bait to it, so that’s not a big surprise.
  • Jonah Hill was good too, but I’m not sure that “stare blankly, act befuddled and provide exposition” is the stuff of acting awards. He has good comic timing as a straight man. And now that he has lost a freaking lot of weight, he will likely never be offered the kinds of roles that got him his Oscar nomination, so there’s that.
  • I liked “Midnight in Paris” an awful lot. I thought “Tree of Life” was the most boring, pointless and self-absorbed beautiful movie of all time. No reason for that, but I wanted to mention it somewhere; and finally
  • I didn’t see “The Help,” but I am happy to see the Academy’s habit of nominating movies about pretty white women discovering that racism exists and sorta kinda thinking about doing something about it is still going strong.

Enjoy the comments. It’s not often I give you a forum to b.s. about movies all day, so make the most of it.

The Mets are set to host the NL wild card game

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 01: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets is congratulated after hitting a two-run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on October 1, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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In the end, the Mets’ march into the playoffs played out just how they imagined: three innings of a Bartolo Colon perfecto, four combined innings of one-run ball from five different relievers, a James Loney home run. Well, maybe it looked a little different when they drew it up.

Colon guided the Mets through five innings for his 15th win of the year, striking out six and giving up a two-run homer in the fifth. Behind him, the Mets combined for five runs off of RBI base hits from T.J. Rivera and Jose Reyes, finding an edge with Loney’s go-ahead homer in the sixth and a bonus RBI single from Asdrubal Cabrera in the ninth inning. Despite a pair of well-placed home runs by Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf, the Phillies found themselves in scoring position just twice and were unable to close the two-run gap to tie the game.

The Mets’ 5-3 win over the Phillies clinched their spot in the postseason, sans tiebreaker. They also secured home-field advantage for Wednesday’s wild card game, during which they’ll face either the Cardinals or the Giants. On Friday, the wild card winner will advance to the Division Series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

As MLB.com’s Jeff Passan and Joe Trezza simultaneously pointed out, it will be an unconventional playoff run for the Mets, who approach October without Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Neil Walker, David Wright, Zack Wheeler, or Ben Zobrist. Now, if ever, seems like an appropriate time for some champagne.

Indians’ postseason rotation is still up in the air

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 16: Starting pitcher Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.

Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.

Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.

With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:

If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.