Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I sorta think I’m not. Check out the graphic from MLB.com’s draft page. Pay specific attention to the Indians’ avatar:
Block C. When Wahoo is, as far as I know, still the team’s primary logo (The MLB Store calls Wahoo the “primary logo” anyway). None of the other teams have secondary logos as their avatar. It’s not like Wahoo wouldn’t fit, either. No, someone had to make the conscious decision to go with Block C and to do it for aesthetic reasons.
While it could simply be the work of a low-level web page designer with a conscience, I’m inclined to chalk this up to what I have chosen to believe is a subtle-as-all-hell, long-term move away from Chief Wahoo by the organization, designed to accomplish the bannination of his racist visage without ever triggering some sort of “you guys are a bunch of P.C. pansies” backlash.
My inclination may be delusional, of course. But if I’m not being delusional: bravo, Indians and MLB. And good luck with the stealth campaign, even if I am undermining it by mentioning it all the damn time.
(thanks to Dan Lewis for the heads up. Also: sign up for Dan’s Now I Know newsletter. It’s the best thing you’ll get in your inbox every morning)
The Red Sox plated five runs in the top of the eighth inning to put Game 3 of the ALCS out of the reach, taking an 8-2 victory over the Astros on Tuesday night in Houston. Four of those eighth-inning runs came on a grand slam to right field by Jackie Bradley, Jr. off of reliever Roberto Osuna, turning their two-run deficit into a back-breaking six-run deficit.
Both teams traded blows in the first inning, with the Red Sox plating two runs on a J.D. Martinez double and a Xander Bogaerts ground out against starter Dallas Keuchel. The Astros got a run back in the bottom half against starter Nathan Eovaldi when Marwin González brought home Jose Altuvé with a single.
Keuchel settled down from there. He ultimately gave up the two runs on four hits with a pair of walks and no strikeouts across five innings. Eovaldi wouldn’t give up another run until the fifth, when Alex Bregman doubled home Altuve. Eovaldi yielded the two runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings.
Steve Pearce, added to the lineup because of the left-handed Keuchel, smashed a solo home run down the left field line in the sixth against right-handed reliever Joe Smith, breaking the 2-2 tie. Two innings later, all hell broke loose against Osuna. Osuna got Martinez to fly out for the first out, allowed a single to Bogaerts, then got the second out when Pearce gorunded out to third base. Rafael Devers kept the inning alive with a single. Osuna loaded the bases by hitting Brock Holt with an 89 MPH slider, then forced in a run when he hit Mitch Moreland with a 96 MPH fastball. Bradley came up and worked a 1-1 count before depositing a 94 MPH fastball into the right field seats to drastically create space between the Red Sox and Astros.
In the bottom of the eighth, with a healthy five-run cushion, Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly combined to keep the Astros off the board. Eduardo Rodríguez got the ball to start the ninth with a pair of lefties slated to bat. Tyler White pinch-hit for Brian McCann but struck out. Evan Gattis then pinch-hit for Tony Kemp and grounded out. Rodríguez cleaned out the inning by striking out George Springer, ending the game in an 8-2 victory for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox will take their 2-1 series lead into Houston on Wednesday night. Rick Porcello will oppose Charlie Morton for an 8:39 PM ET start. A Red Sox win tomorrow would bring them one win away from returning to the World Series for the first time since 2013 and it would leave the defending champion Astros one loss away from elimination.