Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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The Cubs are up two games to none over the Giants in their NLDS. The Indians are up two games to none over the Red Sox in the remaining ALDS, as rain on Sunday held Cleveland back from their opportunity to clinch or for Boston to win their first game of the series. On Monday, though, both series will be played, and both Chicago and Cleveland now have a chance to clinch and make it to their league’s respective championship series. That would put us one step closer to a Cubs-Indians World Series — which, as devotees will recall, is the best possible World Series matchup we can have this fall. Of course, fans of either team won’t take their current leads for granted, so the focus today is on, well, today.
The Red Sox and Indians face off at 6 p.m. ET in Boston, with the former sending Clay Buchholz to the mound to attempt to force a Game 4 while Cleveland counters with Josh Tomlin to try to earn ALCS entry. The Indians narrowly won Game 1 thanks to some nifty bullpen usage, but Game 2 was all Cleveland from the start. If you’re somehow wondering why Indians fans might not take this lead for granted, please recall: in addition to the franchise’s streak of not winning a World Series since 1948, the last two times the Red Sox and Indians faced each other in the playoffs, Boston pulled out victories following 2-0 and 3-1 Cleveland leads. Now, there’s little connection to the previous series on the present rosters, but still: nagging, pit-in-stomach feelings don’t need to be rational ones.
The Cubs can tell you something about that, as leads like this one will feel like the setup to a punch line that hasn’t been told yet until Chicago manages to actually win it all for the first time since 1908 — especially when their opponent is the Giants of even-year fame. It’s all superstition, sure, and won’t have an actual influence on the series, but, like with the Red Sox streak of failure from 1919 until 2004, sometimes its easier to be superstitious than it is to admit that your team spent a century running itself like they deserved to lose. The Cubs aren’t run that way anymore, so we shouldn’t be surprised if things are different for them this time around. This is the playoffs, though, where just about anything can happen in a short series, too, so we shouldn’t be surprised if that "anything" doesn’t benefit the Cubs despite their current 2-0 lead, either.
Baseball sure is fun and not at all mean-spirited and hateful, huh?
- The Blue Jays completed their own sweep of the Rangers, advancing to the ALCS in the process.
- Considering Rougned Odor punched Jose Bautista in the face earlier this year, there’s something poetic about the second baseman’s off-target throw being the reason the Jays were able to advance.
- Just in case you weren’t watching the Wild Card Game or their ALDS, here’s a reminder that the Blue Jays are absolutely frightening right now. They’re hitting like they were expected to during the regular season, except with the pitching no one expected them to have but did anyway.
- The Braves’ manager search is reportedly down to three candidates.
- Tigers’ owner Mike Ilitch supposedly wanted to spend $200 million on free agent Chris Davis this past offseason, but his general manager wisely kept that from happening.
- The Pirates aren’t expected to extend Gerrit Cole, and will instead go year-to-year with him until he’s a free agent.
- The Pirates might want to consider trading someone they did extend, as they could reap real benefits from the right Andrew McCutchen deal.
- The Arizona Fall League is back, and Baseball Prospectus wrote up some roster previews.
- If the Giants are going to come back and take down the Cubs, they’re going to need Buster Posey to be better than everyone else.
- Rangers fans probably don’t need this right now, but there’s a look back at the heartbreak of 2011 at ESPN.