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☆ 2016 ALCS ☆ Toronto Blue Jays vs CLEVELAND INDIANS ☆

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☆ THE CLEVELAND INDIANS ARE THE AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONS ☆

 

TORONTO -- This was not how the Indians would have imagined it. Then again, that fits this unbelievable, improbable season of theirs. Against all odds, defying all expectations in the wake of so many setbacks, this Indians team is going to the World Series. Believe it, Cleveland.

 

The circumstances surrounding the clinching game on Wednesday were as incredible and unfathomable as everything else has been for the Tribe. In a 3-0 win over the Blue Jays in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, rookie Ryan Merritt -- with only one Major League start to his name -- blanked Toronto's lineup and lasted deep enough for ALCS MVP Award winner Andrew Miller and Cleveland's bullpen to apply the clamp.

 

On the final out, Troy Tulowitzki popped up a pitch from closer Cody Allen, sending the baseball drifting into foul territory in front of the Indians' dugout. First baseman Carlos Santana camped under the ball, squeezed it with his glove and dropped to his knees. As Santana lifted both arms into the air, his teammates formed a mob all around in him in celebration.

 

What is it about this team?

 

"I think 'it' is the right word. We just have 'it,'" said Miller. "Nobody's scared. We started a guy that had one career start today, and we had confidence in him, and I think that's special. It's just top to bottom, like I said, there's 25 guys, the staff, top down from ownership, the way they treat us is unbelievable. There's a good reason why we're here."

 

Game Date Matchup

Gm 1 Oct. 14 CLE 2, TOR 0

Gm 2 Oct. 15 CLE 2, TOR 1

Gm 3 Oct. 17 CLE 4, TOR 2

Gm 4 Oct. 18 TOR 5, CLE 1

Gm 5 Oct. 19 CLE 3, TOR 0

 

For the first time since 1997, the Indians are the champions of the AL. This marks the sixth pennant for the Cleveland franchise, which has not won the World Series since the days of Bob Feller, Lou Boudreau and Larry Doby in 1948. The 68-year drought is the second longest in the Major Leagues, trailing only the Cubs, who have not won it all since 1908.

 

As it happens, Cleveland could be awaiting the Cubs, who are currently battling the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.

 

》》On the eve of Wednesday's game, Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista quipped that Merritt would be "shaking in his boots" more than Toronto's hitters. Indians manager Terry Francona laughed at that comment, but then did not disagree. Merritt is 24 years old, a wide-eyed rookie, and he was nervous. Rogers Centre houses eight times the population of Celina, Texas, where the lefty went to high school. It gets loud under the closed roof, and Toronto's bats can make the decibel level climb in a hurry.《《

 

Merritt pounds the strike zone, though, and he did so again vs. the Blue Jays, keeping them guessing over 4 1/3 shutout innings. With a fastball that sat around 86 mph, the southpaw was perfect through 10 batters before allowing a single to reigning AL Most Valuable Player Award winner Josh Donaldson in the fourth. Merritt moved on unfazed, creating a double-play grounder off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion to end the inning. The left-hander struck out three, scattered two hits and walked none.

 

"The only guy that really got in his way was probably me," said Francona. "He gave up one hit, but I thought where he got us, we could turn it over to our bullpen, the guys that have been doing it all year. But for him to do what he did under those circumstances -- he may not look the part, but he is beyond his years, and it's one of the most phenomenal things I've ever seen."............

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REFLECTING ON THE ALCS........

 

Miller Time: Francona handed the ball to Miller with one out and a runner on first in the sixth inning. The 6-foot-7 lefty escaped with a double play against Donaldson and then turned in his sixth straight multi-inning effort of the postseason.

 

Toronto put seven balls in play against Miller, but still could not break through. In the ALCS overall, Miller ended with 14 strikeouts and three hits allowed in 7 2/3 shutout innings. He is the first pitcher since 2005 (Kelvim Escobar) to have six straight relief appearances consisting of at least four outs in a single postseason.

 

So now we sit and wait for CHC/LAD to play two or maybe three more games to see who the INDIANS will host next Tuesday in Cleveland, how cool is that?

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10/22 8:05 PM - NLCS GAME 6 - JUST FYI, WHO PLAYS CLEVELAND?

 

909 L.A. Dodgers open +115 now consensus -132 - this line flipped toward LA as a slight favorite

910 Chi. Cubs open -125 now concensus +122

 

Total runs 7 now 6½ OVER /UNDER - a very low number even for the NL

 

Pitchers: (LAD) Clayton Kershaw (L) (CHC) Kyle Hendricks ®

TV: FS-1, DTV: 219

 

NOTES:

Open Line: Consists of the first betting line received from one of our Las Vegas or Online sportsbooks.

VI Consensus: Consists of the current betting line which occurs most frequently among our list of Las Vegas and Online sportsbooks.

All Game Times are Eastern Standard Time.

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Anyone watching the NL games?

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Can the Cubbies close it out tonight?

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I hope not ^

Tomorrow would be just fine :)

 

.....seems like a long time since the Indians have played! (Watching the Buckeyes at 8 pm.)

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Cubs up 2-0 on Kershaw, I think we're getting the cubs

We've got the Cubbies.

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Bump this up for the final games of the 2016 season to be at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

 

AS Hammy has said since September this is going to be an October to remember.

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