Tribe's playoff details remain up in the air
CLEVELAND — The postseason is just three days away, but the Indians will have to wait at least one more day before they can truly begin to prepare. It seems like every few hours the Tribe is slated to play a different team with how rapidly the American League seedings
CLEVELAND — The postseason is just three days away, but the Indians will have to wait at least one more day before they can truly begin to prepare. It seems like every few hours the Tribe is slated to play a different team with how rapidly the American League seedings continue to change. Instead of scoreboard-watching every night, acting Indians manager Sandy Alomar Jr. says, “Wake me up when you know.”
Over the past three weeks, the Indians have gone from the top of the American League postseason standings down to the second Wild Card spot as the eighth seed — and most places in between. Cleveland looked like it would settle in at No. 7 to face whichever team finished second, but now the Tribe has moved back into the fourth seed, which would result in a matchup against the No. 5 seed. Because of the constant change, the Indians are trying not to look beyond their final two regular-season games.
“We’re trying to focus on winning a game, and then there are so many different scenarios that it gets complicated,” Alomar said. “At the end of the day, we just have to pack our bags and literally stand by. Who knows if we have to leave or if we get to stay home? But at least if we win, we have the opportunity to be here.”
So what’s still on the table? Now that the Indians are back in the top four seeds, they have a chance to host the best-of-three Wild Card Series at Progressive Field. In order to do so, the Tribe must at least tie with the White Sox for second place in the American League Central and win at least one of its final two games to guarantee a better record than the No. 5 Yankees.
If the Indians can hold off Chicago, Cleveland would likely host the Yankees on Tuesday. But should the White Sox move ahead of the Indians by the end of the weekend, the Tribe would fall back to the No. 7 seed and would face the No. 2 seed. The top candidates to finish second are the A’s and Twins, though it could also be the White Sox.
With so many options still remaining, the Tribe must wait for more clarity on Sunday before beginning to construct a postseason roster.
“We have to figure out the team that we’re playing first and look at the matchups and see — if one of our starters goes short — who could be the best [reliever to use in that scenario],” Alomar said. “Right now, it’s getting complicated. We don’t even know who we’re playing. It changes by the hour.”
The Indians had been debating between Adam Plutko and Logan Allen to make Sunday’s start against the Pirates, but now the team is also considering Cal Quantrill, who opened a bullpen game on Tuesday. But until the Tribe knows who it will need on Saturday night, it will hold off on naming a starter for the regular-season finale.
Celebrating the 1945 Cleveland Buckeyes
On Sept. 20, 1945, the Cleveland Buckeyes completed a four-game sweep against Cool Papa Bell and his Washington Homestead Grays to bring home their only Negro League World Series title. The Buckeyes won by scores of 2-1, 3-2, 4-0 and 5-0 to win the championship after being led by center fielder and batting champion Sam Jethroe, who hit .393, throughout the season.
Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.