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Watch the pandemonium of the Indians’ 22nd straight win unfold

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There has been a growing chorus of grumpy criticism of Cleveland and its fans as the Indians winning streak has continued. It began, as far as I can tell, with Darren Rovell attendance-shaming the Indians earlier in the week, wondering why they only drew 24,000 or so fans to Tuesday’s win over the Tigers. Since then I’ve seen a lot of commenters and commentators saying much the same thing.

A couple of points to be made about that:

  • A lot of people buy tickets ahead of time and no one schedules a winning streak. That said, there have been thousands and, in some cases, as many as 10,000 walkup ticket sales for Indians games lately;
  • Cleveland, as a city, has lost about 20% of its population since 2000. It’s not in anywhere near as healthy an economic situation as basically any other major league city and, as such, fans attending games there are making bigger tradeoffs than fans in most other big league cities. To expect there to be 40,000+ fans able to plunk down serious cash for big league tickets 81 times a year in a city like Cleveland is asking a lot; finally
  • When it matters, the Indians do, in fact, draw. And the fans are excited. We saw this with the playoffs last year. We’re seeing it now with the winning streak. Just witness the scene that unfolded in the 10th inning last night when Jay Bruce walked them off for win number 22:

The game was not a sellout, but those left field bleachers looked pretty full to me.

Don’t shame Indians fans for their alleged lack of support. They’re doing just fine, thank you very much.

Shohei Ohtani medically cleared to begin throwing progression

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The Angels released a medical update on P/DH Shohei Ohtani Thursday evening. Ohtani was reevaluated by Dr. Steve Yoon at the Kerlan Jobe Institute. The right-hander’s sprained UCL showed improved healing and, as a result, he has been cleared to begin a throwing progression.

Ohtani, 24, was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow after his June 6 start against the Royals and hasn’t pitched since, though he has been in the lineup as a hitter since July 3. It was initially believed he would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Then the thought was that Ohtani wouldn’t pitch again for the rest of the season, but this update suggests a possibility he could return to the mound before the season is over.

In nine starts, Ohtani put together a 3.10 ERA with a 61/20 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings. As a hitter, he batted .283/.365/.522 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in 157 plate appearances.