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Astros rout Indians, sweep way into ALCS

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The Indians briefly led 1-0 in Game Two of the ALDS on Saturday and they briefly led 1-0 in today’s Game 3 but, really, they were never in this series. Today the Astros bashed the Indians over the head beating them 11-3, sweeping the Division Series and punching their ticket to the ALCS.

George Springer hit two homers in this one. Postseason homers are nothing new for Springer, of course. He now has 10 homers in 27 career postseason games, which works out to a 60 home pace in the regular season. That’s nearly double his actual regular season rate. The guy just rises to the occasion.

Not rising to the occasion was Trevor Bauer, who had something of a meltdown in the seventh inning, which changed the course of what was, until then, a tight game.

With Cleveland leading 2-1 thanks to a sac fly and a Francisco Lindor homer, Tony Kemp led the frame off with a single. He then made it to second base when Bauer threw the ball away while throwing over to first. Springer then reached on an infield single to put runners on the corners and then Kemp came home on a fielder’s choice to tie the game at two.

Bauer once again shot himself in the foot when the next batter up, Alex Bregman, grounded back to the mound. Bauer tried to turn a double play that would’ve ended the inning, but his throw to Francisco Lindor at second was wide of the bag, preventing Lindor from getting the out at second. Lindor’s relay throw to first was late, leaving runners safe at first and second. Bauer, who by this point was visibly angry and rattled, then walked Yuli Gurriel to load the bases. Marwin Gonzalez came up next and looped a double into the left field corner to score two:

I have no idea how he did anything with a pitch so far upstairs, but he did. In any event, that knocked Bauer out of the game. It would take two more Indians pitchers — Andrew Miller and Cody Allen — to retire the final two Houston hitters, with no more damage being done.

At least until the next inning.

After a leadoff Tony Kemp strikeout, Springer hit his second dinger of the ballgame, after which the wheels completely fell off the Indians Express. It went like this:

  • Jose Altuve doubled;
  • Alex Bregman was intentionally walked;
  • A wild pitch sent Bregman and Altuve to second and third;
  • Yuli Gurriel was intentionally walked;
  • Marwin Gonzalez singled to center to score Altuve;
  • Evan Gattis struck out;
  • A Brad Hand wild pitch scored Bregman; and then . . .

Carlos Correa hit a three-run homer. The Indians were already dead before that homer, but it made the score 10-2 and served to drag their corpse down Carnegie Avenue. They’d score another run in the ninth on an Alex Bregman RBI single, and the Indians would score one in the ninth, but by then it was mere details.

With that Houston swept the series 3-0 and will now move on to the ALCS to face the winner of the Yankees-Red Sox series.

The loss ends the Indians season. It also ends the Chief Wahoo Era for the Indians, as they will not wear the logo on the field starting next season. Seeing as though they wore it today and got absolutely embarrassed, Indians fans should be pretty happy to see it go.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.