Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Here are the lineups for the Indians-Blue Jays game

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This could be the last game of the Blue Jays’ season. If it is, they are once again going with a former 50-HR man in the leadoff spot. Bautista has done this before the playoffs to varying degrees of success. For now it’s all about shaking him out of a slump: he’s 1-for-17 with no extra-base hits since homering in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the AL Division Series.

Manager John Gibbons made one lineup change from yesterday: he has flip-flopped Ezequiel Carrera and Kevin Pillar in the seventh and eighth spots. Godspeed, Toronto:

1. Jose Bautista (R) RF
2. Josh Donaldson (R) 3B
3. Edwin Encarnacion (R) 1B
4. Troy Tulowitzki (R) SS
5. Russell Martin (R) C
6. Michael Saunders (L) DH
7. Ezequiel Carrera (L) LF
8. Kevin Pillar (R) CF
9. Ryan Goins (L) 2B

For his part, Terry Francona is repeating his Game 3 lineup, which was also his Game 1 lineup:

1. Carlos Santana (S) DH
2. Jason Kipnis (L) 2B
3. Francisco Lindor (S) SS
4. Mike Napoli (R) 1B
5. Jose Ramirez (S) 3B
6. Lonnie Chisenhall (L) RF
7. Coco Crisp (S) LF
8. Tyler Naquin (L) CF
9. Roberto Perez (R) C

The game gets going just after 4pm Eastern time.

Must-Click Link: The Oral History of Baseball on “Seinfeld”

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As a 40+ year-old white guy, I am obligated to make mention of everything that has to do with (a) baseball; (b) “The Simpsons” and (c) “Seinfeld.” If it has to do with two of those things, it’s “Must-Click Link” material. Today we have one of those instances.

It comes from Rob Neyer, writing for Complex Sports. There, via interviews, research and a lot of “Seinfeld” watching, he has complied an oral history of baseball references in “Seinfeld.”

Watching the references change from the Mets to the Yankees over the run of the show tracked the rise of one franchise and the fall of the other and, as such, was art imitating life. Watching Keith Hernandez’ post playing career star rise was, in some ways, life imitating art. Watching Larry David do his crazy George Steinbrenner impression showed us how imitation (a) is not necessarily the sincerest form of flattery; and (b) often isn’t actually an imitation in any literal sense.

Anyway, it’s a fun article for everyone who likes baseball and “Seinfeld.” Which covers the majority of you, I presume.

We could have a lot of days without baseball before the World Series

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Just randomly looking at the schedule and realizing that if the Indians win today they’ll have six full days off before they play again, in Game 1 of the World Series. And, it should be noted, will have secured that World Series spot before NLCS Game 3 even got underway, because of how the schedule worked out.

Meanwhile, if either the Cubs or Dodgers run the table in the next three games we’ll all have four full days without any baseball at all. All of this is because the World Series is pegged to a set start date — next Tuesday, October 25 — and not for “X days after the teams are decided.”

There are pros and cons to this sort of scheduling. It allows for better planning, obviously. No large sporting event is just about the teams playing in it anymore. There are sponsors and broadcasting partners and various and sundry promotional concerns, and it’s simply easier for Major League Baseball and all of its various stakeholders to plan around a date certain than to gear up five minutes after the final out in the deciding NLCS game, which could be Thursday afternoon.

There’s also the fact that Major League Baseball does not like beginning the World Series on the weekend, where it will be overshadowed by football. And heck, the NLCS could go until Sunday as it is, making the Tuesday start of the World Series sensible for both baseball and planning purposes. Still, if the Indians do what seems inevitable and either the Cubs or Dodgers get hot, we could have a lot of time on our hands before the Fall Classic gets going.

Most people believe that the long layoff hurts a team before the World Series, but that’s not necessarily born out in the numbers. As AJ Cassavell of MLB.com noted last year, there have been sixteen teams who have been forced to sit for five days or more after winning the LCS. Eight of those clubs went on to win the World Series, eight went on to lose (Cassavell noted 15/8/7, but the Mets added one to the loss column after he wrote his article). When the club which has sat for a while loses, rust is cited. When they win, rest is cited. It seems like a textbook exercise in post-hoc reasoning.

I think if I’m the Indians, I’d want the rest. They have Corey Kluber going on short rest today as it is, Trevor Bauer could use some time for his finger to heal and, at some point, Andrew Miller could use a day off. They’ll still remember how to play baseball after a week off, methinks. The NLCS winner will likely enjoy some rest as well, especially if it’s the Dodgers, who have been riding a couple of their horses particularly hard thus far.

So, if the league likes it and the sponsors like it and the TV people like it and the clubs like it, the only ones who lose with a long layoff are the fans. We’ll have to resort to reading books or visiting with our families or something. It’s a downright tragedy when you think about it.