The Cleveland Indians must get back to taking care of their own business, but now they also need Toronto to lend them a hand if they are to reach October.
Despite the cataclysmic events of the last two nights, the Cleveland Indians are not officially out of the hunt for the 2019 postseason. That said, they need help. A lot of it.
In fact, for the Indians to still be playing baseball next week, they’ll need a series of miracles the likes of which haven’t occurred on a baseball field since Ray Kinsella played catch with his dad.
The A’s only need to win one more game to get to 97, which will in turn put them out of Cleveland’s reach. For Oakland to lose three straight to the Mariners this weekend would be the surprise to end all surprises, so let’s focus on the (minimally) more realistic scenario: The Indians have to catch the Rays.
Above all else, the Indians need to sweep Washington. Yes, they could still mathematically force a Game 163 if they take two out of three and the Rays are swept by Toronto, but the absurdity of that scenario is barely worth considering.
Sweeping the Nationals will be no small task. Washington and Milwaukee are separated by a game for the right to host the NL Wild Card matchup, so while the Indians might miss Max Scherzer this weekend, the Nats won’t just be going through the motions.
The Indians will see Patrick Corbin on Saturday, and Mike Clevinger isn’t scheduled to pitch for the Tribe until Sunday. It will take spirited offensive efforts behind Zach Plesac and Adam Plutko on Friday and Saturday to keep the Indians in a position where Sunday will still matter.
On top of needing a sweep of their own to put them at 96 wins, the Indians need the Rays to lose at least two of their final three to the Blue Jays. If Toronto can play spoiler at least twice, the Indians would be tied with Tampa, and the two would meet on Monday at the Trop for the Wild Card tiebreaker.
In the unlikely event that the Blue Jays do sweep the Rays, the Indians could pass them outright by defeating the Nationals three straight times. If Tampa Bay wins twice, the Indians’ season is over no matter what.
With a better outcome in the Tribe’s final two games against the White Sox, this weekend had the chance to be chaotic and fun. Unfortunately, this bleak outlook is now what they’re faced with. There’s nothing left for them to do except play the one game in front of them (and hope for some divine intervention in Toronto).