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Playoff Reset: Indians vs. Blue Jays ALCS Game 5

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The Game: Cleveland Indians @ Toronto Blue Jays, ALCS Game 5
The Time: 4:00 PM EDT
The Place: Rogers Centre, Toronto
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Ryan Merritt (Indians) vs. Marco Estrada (Blue Jays)

The Upshot:

We now come to the part of the playoffs where Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar‘s absence will be felt by the Cleveland Indians. Due to injures, rather than one of those two excellent, experienced pitchers, Terry Francona will call on rookie lefty Ryan Merritt. Merritt has pitched in four big league games in his life, starting only one of them.

Merritt is no fireballer. He barely breaks 90 with his fastball, which is all but unheard of these days for a young kid. He struck out six and didn’t walk any in his 11 innings of two-run ball in the bigs this year, but to say that Merritt is a blank major league slate at this point is an understatement. The saving grace here is that, due to the Indians loss yesterday in a game that wasn’t terribly close, Francona did not have to use ace relievers Cody Allen and Andrew Miller, so Merritt will likely not have the longest of leashes, nor will he have to have one.

Toronto felt pretty good with yesterday’s win but today they will once again play an elimination game. On the hill for them will be Marco Estrada, who took the loss in Game 1, even if he pitched a nice game, allowing two runs over eight innings of work.

The Jays bats looked a lot healthier yesterday than they had in the first three games of the series, but they’ll need to get an early lead in this one given that a rested Miller is likely to come out of the bullpen, perhaps as early as the sixth inning. The mission: get to the kid or the season ends today.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”