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After a rain delay of more than four hours on Thursday afternoon, the game between the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers was postponed.
It was the second time this week that the weather had interfered with the Tigers and Indians completing their season series with one another and the second year in a row bad weather in September caused scheduling issues for the clubs. On Wednesday, the game between the two was limited to just five innings as the Tigers won 6-3 on a Miguel Cabrera homer in the bottom of the fifth. The rains started early again Thursday and did not take it easy on the eastern Michigan area, dumping as much as a reported six inches of precipitation over the last two days while making the playing surfaces at the ball park unplayable.
In many circumstances this late in a season, a cancelled game would be forgotten about, with no need to be made up. This game, however, proved to be much different than the norm as the missed game could have serious playoff ramifications on both Cleveland and Detroit.
Indians left-hander Ryan Merritt spent parts of six seasons in the Cleveland farm system, working almost exclusively as a starter. So of course, when he made his Major League debut back on May 30 against the Texas Rangers, he took center stage as a relief pitcher.
That was the expected life of a Triple-A starting pitcher in the Indians farm system this season with a stacked staff of options in Cleveland. Manager Terry Francona used every starting arm possible to shore up a struggling bullpen earlier in the season and now, with his starting rotation down its top three arms, the Tribe skipper is dipping back into the pool of young depth options to help out its ailing rotation.
Detroit hit a pair of tie-breaking home runs before rains delayed and ultimately ended the game after just five innings of play as the Tigers defeated the Cleveland Indians by a 6-3 score on Wednesday night.
While the loss put a damper on the Indians’ pursuits of the top spot in the American League for home field advantage throughout the playoffs, the loss did spare another four innings of work in what again amounted to a bullpen game for the Tribe. Zach McAllister made the start, working two good innings before a pair of relievers ran into trouble with extra base hits.
Cleveland grabbed an early 1-0 lead against Detroit’s Michael Fulmer, one of the leading AL Rookie of the Year candidates. Jason Kipnis drew a one-out walk and advanced on a throwing error from Fulmer before Carlos Santana doubled him home to put the Indians on the board.
For the second consecutive season as a Cleveland Indians’ affiliate, the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats reached the Carolina League playoffs. This year they took it one step further, winning the Northern Division playoff against the Potomac Nationals and advancing to the Mills Cup Championship before bowing to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who would win their second consecutive Carolina League title.
The Hillcats’ success as a team was achieved through a combination of a strong offense and consistent pitching.
League Park was on borrowed time starting in 1928, when voters in Cleveland passed a bond issue for construction of an enormous lakefront stadium at the end of East Ninth Street downtown.
But it hung on for another 18 years as the home of the Indians until a group headed by Bill Veeck bought the team in June 1946. Almost immediately, it appeared that the Indians’ full-time home would be Cleveland Stadium, and on September 21, 1946, League Park hosted its last Major League Baseball game.
It was a Saturday, the penultimate one in the baseball season and the last one for baseball in Cleveland that year. The game marked the Major League debut of Bob Kuzava, who had been signed five years earlier as an amateur free agent – but World War II had intervened, and Kuzava served, rising to the rank of sergeant and giving him a nickname for life.
A simple look at the Cleveland lineup was a clear and present reminder of what had transpired just one night ago when the club secured the AL Central Division crown in a 7-4 win. After much celebrating, many of the every day starters were given a reprieve, replaced by recent September call-ups from Triple-A Columbus and other bench players, against the tough Verlander. He would cut through the majority of the young Indians lineup with ease to win his first start against the Tribe since 2014.
When the Indians brought back Coco Crisp at the August 31 waiver trading deadline, it was difficult to see what kind of impact he would have on the team.
To start off, the thinking goes, it would be hard for the 36-year-old veteran to get at bats. The outfield was already crowded enough, with Abraham Almonte, Rajai Davis, Lonnie Chisenhall, Tyler Naquin, and Brandon Guyer all splitting time. The switch-hitter had no clear platoon splits, so that was not an automatic way for him to get at bats.
There was also the whole matter of actually hitting well. It was hard to tell how much he would produce. Age has caught up to the former star. He put up a .234/.299/.399 slash line in Oakland before the trade and hit .175/.252/.222 in an injury-shortened 2015.