Report: Blue Jays’ top SP prospect Nate Pearson to make MLB debut Wednesday

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Nate Pearson, one of the top prospects in baseball, will reportedly make his MLB debut on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals.

Pearson, a 23-year-old righty, is set to take the mound under unique circumstances. With the Blue Jays making alterations to their temporary home stadium in Buffalo, Pearson’s debut will be a ‘home’ game in Washington, D.C.

Nate Pearson to make MLB debut Wednesday vs. Nationals

Pearson came into the season rated as one of MLB’s top overall prospects. He is ranked as the No. 8 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline and the third-best pitcher in the minors. After spending the first few days of the 2020 season in minor-league camp, Pearson will soon get his chance to shine.

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Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Matt Johnson | Last updated 7/27/20

10 MLB prospects who will make an impact in 2020

It’s fair to say the 2019 MLB season has been the year of the rookie. All around the league, first-year players have burst onto the scene to make immediate impacts, and in some cases have become instant stars. Just look at what some of these guys have done:

The Mets’ Pete Alonso currently leads the majors with 47 home runs.

Before he got hurt, San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. was hitting .317 with 22 homers and 53 RBI in only 84 games.

Houston’s Yordan Alvarez has crushed 22 long balls in only 240 at-bats.

Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hasn’t quite dominated the way he did in AAA, but he’s shown immense power and potential, and the show he put on at the Home Run Derby will be talked about for years.

Atlanta’s Mike Soroka is a legitimate NL Cy Young candidate.

The Pirates’ Bryan Reynolds is hitting .328 and could well win the batting title.

The list goes on and on. Keston Hiura, Christian Walker, Eloy Jimenez, Austin Riley, among others look like cornerstone everyday players in the big leagues.

This unprecedented wave of talented players making their debuts all around the same time got us thinking. Let’s take a look at 10 players who could make a similar rookie impact in 2020.

1. Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox

The White Sox system has been strong for several years now, and while Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito and the above-mentioned Jimenez have already thrived in the big leagues, Robert figures to join them in the near future. The native Cuban dominated three separate minor league levels in 2019, hitting .328 with 32 homers and 92 RBI while stealing 36 bases and adding 31 doubles and 11 triples. He was recently named the minor league Player of the Year by USA Today, and it’s a reasonable assumption that he’ll be patrolling center field at Guaranteed Rate Field very early next spring.

2. Gavin Lux, IF, Los Angeles Dodgers

Lux’s status on this list is a bit tenuous, as he was just promoted to the big leagues this week, and it’s likely going to be close whether or not he accumulates 130 at-bats and loses his 2020 rookie status. Provided he doesn’t, he should be the hands-down favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year next season. In the minor leagues this season the 21-year-old slashed an astounding .347/.421/.607 while crushing 26 homers and driving in 76 runs. He’s a natural shortstop who has played second in his early exposure in the big leagues, a position that may become his ultimate home given the presence of Corey Seager. Regardless at what side of the second base bag he lines up defensively, Lux can flat out hit, and it’s no surprise the Dodgers wanted to give him a look down the stretch to see if he can make a push for a postseason roster spot.

3.  Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros

Houston has been waiting for the talented left-handed slugger to go from dominant minor leaguer to dangerous middle-of-the-order bat in the big leagues, and it seems fair to assume that transition will finally occur next season. With AAA Round Rock in 2019, Tucker hit .266 with 34 homers and 97 RBI — the third consecutive minor league season he drove in over 90 runs. Perhaps even more impressive is the 30 stolen bases he racked up, as no matter what level you’re playing in, it’s incredibly difficult to produce 30/30 seasons. Tucker’s blend of power and speed have long made him desirable to other teams in trade discussions, but the Astros have consistently hung up the phone before talks could get off the ground. His organization’s belief in him hasn’t been deterred, however, and it’s time for the 22-year-old to reward its patience.

4. Carter Kieboom, IF, Washington Nationals

The Nationals took Kieboom in the first round out of high school three years ago, and he’s done nothing but shoot through their system since. In 412 at-bats in AAA this year, the young infielder hit an impressive .303 with 16 homers and 79 RBI while also tallying 24 doubles and 203 total bases. Injuries necessitated a brief big league promotion in late April, and while he did hit his first two big league homers during that 39 at-bat stint, Washington shipped him back to Fresno when it got some veterans back. Next season, however, the Nats figure to have an opening at second base, as Brian Dozier signed only a one-year free agent pact last winter, and his performance has not warranted Washington doubling down, especially given the presence of Kieboom, who conceivably will team with shortstop Trea Turner to form this team’s long-term double play combination.

5. Casey Mize, SP, Detroit Tigers

Mountcastle is far from a perfect prospect, but his power potential is simply hard to ignore. In a little over 500 at-bats for Baltimore’s AAA affiliate in Norfolk, the 22-year-old hit .312 with 25 long balls and 35 doubles. His .527 SLG percentage finished sixth in the International League, and it’s easy to see why the Orioles are high on his bat. That said, Mountcastle does have things to work on. For starters, he doesn’t really have a defensive position. He played third base in 2018 and predominantly first this season while also mixing in some work in left field. A future as a big league DH could very well be in the cards. Plate discipline is also of some concern as the big right-handed slugger walked only 24 times all year, making his .344 OBP simply remarkable. All told, while Mountcastle is raw, the O’s are in no position to not take a flier, and if he gets consistent at-bats in 2020 it may just become too difficult to get him out of the line-up.

8. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates

The son of longtime major league third baseman Charlie Hayes, Ke’Bryan has blossomed into quite the hot corner prospect. In 110 games in AAA this season the Pittsburgh’s first-round pick from back in 2015 hit .261 with 10 homers and 55 RBI, but those numbers only tell some of the story. His 31 doubles, 13 steals and renowned defense at an important position help paint the picture of a solid player who can do just about everything on a baseball diamond. The Bucs have started Colin Moran or Jung-Ho Kang most nights at third base this season, and while Kang is no longer in Pittsburgh, Moran is not someone who should block the team’s best position player prospect. Hayes doesn’t profile as a can’t-miss star, but he should be an above-average everyday third baseman for a long time, potentially beginning as soon as next opening day.

9. Justin Dunn, SP, Seattle Mariners

Dunn came to Seattle in the much-discussed winter trade with the Mets that netted the Mariners outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic, and while that alone would seem to make the deal a heist for the M’s, the righty has the potential to make this one of the most one-sided trades of all time. In 25 starts in AA in ’19, the Boston College product worked to a strong 3.55 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP while punching out 158 hitters in 131.1 innings and limiting the opposition to a .236 batting average. Scouts don’t look at Dunn as a future big league ace or even a No. 2, but a strong showing in spring training would put him in discussion for a rotation spot, and it’s certainly feasible he could become a key cog in Seattle’s starting five sometime in 2020.

10. Nate Pearson, SP, Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto is a team to buy stock in, as with youngsters Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio already contributing to the parent club, the organization’s farm system has more talent coming. Pearson paces that group. In 25 minor league starts this season the right-hander posted a 2.30 ERA in 101.2 innings while delivering an 0.89 WHIP and a .176 batting average against. He struck out well over a batter/frame while issuing only 27 free passes all season. And on a team with little to be excited about on the mound, particularly after Marcus Stroman was traded for New York, Pearson is quickly going to become a name to know among baseball fans in Canada.

By: Justin W Mears

11 MLB players in contract years who will crush it in 2019

Athletes in any sport wants to perform at their best the year before they’re eligible to hit free agency, and baseball players are certainly no different. This winter alone has shown how much money can be gained or lost in a contract year, with high-profile names standing out on both sides of the spectrum. Manny Machado used the best season of his career to secure a $300 million long-term guarantee from the Padres, while longtime Astros’ lefty Dallas Keuchel struggled in his walk year and finds himself still unsigned with two weeks to go until Opening Day.

Impending free agents on losing teams always deal with a degree of uneasiness around the trade deadline, when clubs hope to bring back something before letting a player leave for nothing, and it takes a certain level of professionalism to block out the noise and perform. In 2019 several players jump off the page as candidates to enjoy a big walk year. Let’s examine the list.

1. Justin Smoak 1B Toronto Blue Jays

Two years ago the switch-hitting Smoak hit .270 with 38 home runs and 90 RBI while adding 29 doubles and making the All-Star Team. Unfortunately he was unable to come close to replicating that success a year ago. In 505 at-bats, the veteran watched his stat line dip to .242 with 25 homers and 77 RBI, still a solid season but not nearly as eye-opening as his prior campaign. Entering 2019 both the Blue Jays and Smoak would benefit from a renaissance, as Toronto is exceedingly unlikely to be in the mix in a difficult AL East and would love to move him to a bat-needy team at the deadline. Smoak understands the monetary difference between his ’17 and ’18 seasons is massive.

2.  Jose Abreu 1B Chicago White Sox

Abreu has spent his entire career in the Windy City after defecting from Cuba prior to the 2014 campaign, and during his first four years in the big leagues he was one of the best run producers in the entire sport. From 2014-17 the right-handed slugger hit over .290 with 25-plus homers and 100-plus RBI in each season, but last year didn’t go nearly as swimmingly. A lower abdominal injury limited the 32-year-old to a career-low 128 games, and his .265 average, 22 homers and 78 RBI were evidence of just how bothered he was by the discomfort. Now back and healthy, Abreu is a prime candidate for a huge year, as he is a proud man who fancies himself as one of the most productive hitters in the American League. A big winter payday is quite the carrot at the end of the proverbial stick.

3. Zack Wheeler SP New York Mets

After spending the majority of his career taking two steps forward and one step back, the right-hander finally arrived in a big way in 2018. In 29 starts, Wheeler dominated for much of the year, turning in a 3.31 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP in 182.1 innings while striking out 179 men and holding the opposition to just a .225 batting average. There had been some minor chatter of New York trying to extend the 28-year-old during camp, but Wheeler spoke candidly about understanding he and Gerrit Cole are the top two free agents to be starting pitchers, and it’s clear he has his eyes on the prize heading into the new season.

4. Gerrit Cole SP Houston Astros

Speaking of Cole, the former Pirates first-round pick landed in Houston as part of an offseason trade prior to last year, and while he often found himself overshadowed by teammate Justin Verlander, he was one of the best pitchers in the American League in his own right. In 32 outings the veteran turned in a 2.88 ERA with a career best 1.03 WHIP while holding the opposition to a sub .200 batting average for the first time and eclipsing the 200 innings pitched plateau for the third time in four years. His 276 strikeouts finished second to only Verlander in the AL, and the UCLA product earned a selection to his second All-Star Team. Entering 2019 Wheeler was 100 percent right that he and Cole will be the two most sought-after pitchers next winter, and provided Cole avoids serious injuries moving forward, his bank account can expect to expand by several zeroes.

5. Josh Donaldson 3B Atlanta Braves

Perhaps no offensive player is more motivated at the outset of 2019 than the 2015 AL MVP, who struggled through a miserable injury-plagued 2018 season and ultimately settled for a high value one-year, prove-it deal in Atlanta. The Braves could be getting themselves a steal as they attempt to win their second consecutive division crown, as from 2015-17 Donaldson launched 111 homers and drove in 300 runs while consistently hitting around .280 and getting on base at close to a .385 clip. Taking the pillow contract was a strategic play for the veteran, as he understood he would be overshadowed by Machado and Bryce Harper on the free-agent market this season. And if he can re-establish himself as a premier run producer in 2019, he just may break the bank next winter.

6. Scooter Gennett 2B Cincinnati Reds

In just two seasons in western Ohio, Gennett has transformed himself from a solid role player in Milwaukee to one of the best offensive second basemen in the league. Last year the 28-year-old hit .310 with 23 homers and 92 RBI while setting a new career high with a .357 OBP and eclipsing 30 doubles for the third time in his career. By all accounts the veteran is someone the Reds should want to keep around for the long haul, but in mid-February he expressed frustration over not receiving a contract extension, a potential rift to pay attention to as the summer unfolds.

7. Marcell Ozuna OF St. Louis Cardinals

When the Marlins were selling off everyone and everything that wasn’t nailed down prior to last season, the Cardinals were happy to swoop in and take the right-handed-hitting Ozuna off their hands. The Dominican Republic native had just completed a season that had watched him hit .313 with 37 homers and 124 RBI while earning a trip to his second straight All-Star Game, taking home his first Silver Slugger award and even winning his first Gold Glove. St. Louis fantasized about adding that type of production to the middle of its lineup, but unfortunately it took the veteran some time to get used to his new surroundings. When all was said and done, Ozuna’s numbers slid to .280 with 23 homers and 88 RBI, still solid but not what the Cardinals were expecting. Entering Year 2 in Missouri, this lineup is now home to slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who will take pressure off Ozuna to be the premier right-handed bat and, in theory, add a substantial amount of RBI opportunities. It should come as no surprise if the 28-year-old delivers a monster season.

Roy Halladay Passes Away After Tragic Plane Crash

Written by ESPN News Staff at

Roy Halladay, a two-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher who retired from baseball nearly four years ago, died when his plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday. He was 40.

Halladay’s ICON A5, a small, single-engine aircraft, went down around noon Tuesday off the coast of Florida, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said at a news conference.

The sheriff’s office marine unit responded and found Halladay’s body in shallow water near some mangroves. No survivors were found. Police said they couldn’t confirm if there were additional passengers on the plane or where it was headed.

Nocco said the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

“All of us at Baseball are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic passing of former Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “A well-respected figure throughout the game, Roy was a fierce competitor during his 16-year career, which included eight All-Star selections, two Cy Young Awards, a perfect game and a postseason no-hitter.

“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to his family, including his wife, Brandy, and two sons, Ryan and Braden, his friends and countless fans, as well as the Blue Jays and Phillies organizations.”

Halladay received his pilot’s license several years ago and tweeted photos last month of himself standing next to a new ICON A5 as part of the plane’s marketing campaign.

In a story posted last month on ICON’s website to promote the A5, Halladay said he had “been dreaming about flying since I was a boy but was only able to become a pilot once I retired from baseball.”

In a video posted on ICON’s website, Halladay said the terms of his baseball contract prevented him from having a pilot’s license while playing and that his wife was originally against the idea of him getting the aircraft.

“Hard. I fought hard. I was very against it,” Brandy Halladay said in the same video, before explaining why she eventually understood and approved of her husband’s desire to have the plane. The video was removed from YouTube later Tuesday.

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Jose Bautista Signs One Year Deal With Blue Jays

Written by Ken Rosenthal at

Jose Bautista said he never asked for $150 million, and he isn’t getting $150 million. In fact, he will get just over 12 percent of that amount, and he’s fortunate the Blue Jays will pay him even that much.

Bautista was in a difficult spot. At age 36. With declining defensive skills. In a market flooded with right-handed sluggers — and a draft pick attached to him after he rejected the Jays’ qualifying offer.

This is the last offseason a team can lose a first-round selection for signing a qualified free agent. The rules will change under the new collective-bargaining agreement — a change that actually might benefit Bautista, in the likely event that he again hits the open market next winter.

Bautista’s one-year, $18.5 million deal, pending a physical, includes two mutual options that could increase the total value to $60 million over three years, according to published reports. But let’s not kid ourselves about the structure.

Rarely is a mutual option exercised; one side almost always wants out. The beauty of Bautista’s deal, though, is that it includes a buyout of an unknown amount, serving both parties’ agendas. The Jays will not pay the buyout until after the season is over, increasing their payroll flexibility, while Bautista can claim that his overall guarantee beat the value of the team’s $17.2 qualifying offer.

Whether the Jays truly wanted Bautista back is an open question — they pursued numerous others in free agency and trades before reaching agreement with him on Tuesday. The Jays stood to gain the 32nd pick in the draft if another team signed Bautista, but as they lost out on better options — including their own free agent, first baseman Edwin Encarnacion — Bautista suddenly grew more attractive from both performance and public-relations perspectives.

In the meantime, he’s in the right place. A place where he is revered as opposed to reviled. A place where he can prove himself all over again, to the delight of a city — and country — that supports him far more passionately than any other market would.

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Believeland Reaches World Series For First Time Since 1997

Written by Mike Vorkunov at

They all circled together in the visiting clubhouse of the Rogers Centre, the 25 players who had just ousted the Toronto Blue Jays from the American League Championship Series, the executives who have built an organization that is quickly becoming a model around baseball, the coaching staff and all the cameras waiting to see them bathe in their glory. To celebrate that theCleveland Indians — 19 years removed from their last pennant, 68 from their last title — are going to the World Series.

They had done it in this improbable way, by riding their bullpen and a rotation stitched together, well, by stitches, and with the facile genius of a manager who so deftly managed his relief corps. To beat Toronto in Game 5, they stuck close to the formula that had worked so well for them — an unheralded starter good enough to grab a lead and a large heaping of Andrew Miller. But even as Miller dominated again, winning the ALCS MVP and whipsawing through a fearsome lineup, there was an unlikely star who had outshined him, and there were calls for him.

Ryan Merritt did not come out of nowhere, but it was close. His last start was in Arizona in instructional league. He had faced 37 batters in the majors before Cleveland tabbed him to start Wednesday. He was a no-name to everyone except the Indians. But the teammates who knew his name kept calling it, kept calling him into the middle of the circle, calling for a speech, trying to get him to bask in this moment.

“Shaking in their boots!” someone yelled. And then again.

All the while, Merritt stood there in a gray hat too big for him, holding a champagne bottle he looked too young to drink and sporting a grin on his face.

“It’s almost like a fairy tale,” Merritt said. “It’s like I can’t hardly believe it, but then you can. It’s slowly hitting me, but it’s just so awesome to be a part of this.”

The man who had taken down Toronto didn’t know when he took the mound that Jose Bautista had taunted him the day before, saying of Merritt, “He’s going to be shaking in his boots more than we are.”

“We knew,” Indians reliever Mike Clevinger said. “No. I’m glad he didn’t know, just because I know what kind of person he was, so when they were saying he was shaking in his boots and I actually got to see — I knew he was going to be that Merritt. I knew he was going to be that same guy.”

If Merritt was the same pitcher then perhaps Toronto would still be playing. He had a 3.70 ERA in Class AAA this season and wasn’t even active for the division series. He didn’t know he was on the ALCS roster until a reliever, Cody Anderson, called and congratulated him. “On what?” he said.

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Blue Jays Avoid Elimination in Game 4

Written by Larry Millson at

Josh Donaldson homered, Aaron Sanchez allowed two hits in six innings, Edwin Encarnacion had two RBIs and the Toronto Blue Jays staved off elimination Tuesday with a 5-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

Cleveland leads the best-of-seven American League Championship Series three games to one and could clinch a berth in the World Series on Wednesday at Rogers Centre by winning Game 5.

Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber (2-1), starting on three days’ rest for the first time in his career, allowed four hits, two walks, and two runs while striking out seven in five innings. The runs were the first he has allowed in this postseason.

Sanchez (1-0) held the Indians to two walks and one run. The right-hander struck out five.

The Blue Jays took a 1-0 lead on the first homer of this postseason by Donaldson with two out in the third.

An RBI single by Ezequiel Carrera gave Toronto a 2-0 lead in the fourth. The flare to center came with one out after Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin opened the inning with consecutive walks.

Roberto Perez hit an RBI double with two out in the fifth to cut the Blue Jays’ lead to 2-1. It scored Coco Crisp, who walked and took second on a wild pitch. Donaldson, the third baseman, kept the lead intact when he made a diving stop on Carlos Santana and threw the designated hitter out at first.

Dan Otero replaced Kluber in the bottom of the sixth and pitched around singles by Tulowitzki and Michael Saunders.

Brett Cecil pitched a perfect top of the seventh for Toronto.

Bryan Shaw, Cleveland’s third pitcher, allowed a leadoff single to Ryan Goins in the bottom of the seventh. Shaw threw errantly to first on a squibber by Jose Bautistathat put runners at the corners. Donaldson was intentionally walked to load the bases with none out.

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Cleveland Indians One Game From World Series

Written by Dennis Manoloff at

Mike Napoli and Jason Kipnis homered and six relievers combined to allow two runs in 8 1/3 innings as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-2, in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on Monday night at Rogers Centre in Toronto. Napoli finished 2-for-3 with one walk, two RBI and two runs.

The Tribe leads the best-of-seven series, 3-0. Game 4 is Tuesday in Toronto.

Here is a capsule look at the key aspect(s) of the game, which was televised by TBS:

Streaking: The Indians have won nine straight overall, including their first six postseason games. They swept the AL East champion Red Sox in a division series.

The Indians have not lost since Sept. 28 in Detroit.

Milestone men: Monday’s victory was the Indians’ 100th overall this season. They were 94-67 in the regular season and won the AL Central.

Unreal: Tribe manager Terry Francona, bullpen maestro, orchestrated another masterpiece. Already down two starters (Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar) and with a third (Corey Kluber) not 100 percent, Francona watched right-hander Trevor Bauer make just 21 pitches. Bauer’s right pinky, injured in a recent drone-maintenance accident, gushed blood after the stitches popped.

Bauer faced four batters before being forced to exit because of MLB rules pertaining to free-flowing blood. Jose Bautista struck out looking, Josh Donaldson walked, Edwin Encarnacion lined to center and Troy Tulowitzki walked.

Francona’s first reliever was Disco Dan Otero, who retired struggling Russell Martin on a grounder to second. The importance of Otero’s success in that spot cannot be overstated. If Martin had managed even a bloop single, the Blue Jays might have been off and running in front of their ultra-loud fans.

The reliever order was Otero (1 1/3 IP), Jeff Manship (1 1/3 IP), Zach McAllister (1.0 IP), Bryan Shaw (1 2/3 IP), Cody Allen (1 2/3 IP) and Andrew Miller (1 1/3 IP).

(Quick, somebody contact Elias: When is the previous time a team used six relievers for more than one inning apiece in a postseason victory?)

In the second inning, Otero gave up an opposite-field homer to lefty Michael Saunders that tied the score, 1-1. In the fifth, McAllister allowed a leadoff triple to former Indian Ezequiel Carrera and an RBI grounder to Ryan Goins to tie the score, 2-2.

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Lucky Penny Helped Lift Indians Over Blue Jays in Game 2

Written by Jeff Passan at

About 70 miles southeast of Progressive Field sits a village called McDonald, Ohio. About 3,000 people live there. It’s not even two miles square. McDonald is so small it doesn’t even have a McDonald’s.

Earlier this week, a letter arrived at the stadium from Roosevelt Elementary in McDonald. It was addressed to Francisco Lindor, the Cleveland Indians’ transcendent young shortstop. Lindor’s mail slot inside the Indians’ clubhouse is empty, one of the few not overflowing with unanswered letters. He tries to read them as best he can, and before the American League Championship Series started, he tore into the letter from McDonald. Inside was a penny and a note from a young girl.

“Put it in your pocket,” it read.

Before Game 1 of the ALCS, Lindor took the coin, shiny and minted in 2012, and slid it into the right pants pocket of his uniform. Cleveland won. He stuck it on the Amazon Echo in his locker for safekeeping, put it back in the same place for Game 2 and whacked the game-winning RBI for the second consecutive day as the Indians squeaked past the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 to take a two-game lead in the best-of-seven series.

Should Lindor be asked to declare what he’s bringing to Canada when the Indians head there Sunday morning, it will be whatever cash is in his pocket – plus .01, for the lucky penny that he refuses to leave behind after the Indians’ back-to-back wins that enraptured a city still high off the excitement of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ championship in June.

“These past couple of days have been unreal,” Lindor said. “I’m glad I’m in Cleveland now.”

He’s not the only one. The ascendant Indians, left for dead by pundits and baseball men alike after injuries decimated their starting rotation, blitzed the Blue Jays for the second consecutive day with what has become their archetypal win this postseason: incredible pitching and just enough hitting. Starter Josh Tomlin threw a game unlike any he’d ever mustered. Fireman Andrew Miller struck out five of the six hitters he faced. Closer Cody Allen notched a pair of punchouts in a perfect ninth himself. And Lindor’s two-out RBI single in the third inning did every bit as much for the Indians as his two-run homer had a night earlier in their 2-0 Game 1 win.

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Cleveland Wins Game One Against

Written by Paul Hoynes at

The resilient Indians, shaking off a rogue drone attack that felled Game 2 starter Trevor Bauer, continued to roll through the postseason on Friday night at Progressive Field.

Corey Kluber didn’t allow a run over 6 1/3 innings and Francisco Lindor homered as the Indians beat Toronto, 2-0, in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. The Tribe has won four straight postseason games and seven straight going back to the regular season.

The bullpen, of course, had a hand in the win. Andrew Miller and Cody Allen completed the seven-hitter. Miller went 1 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and Allen pitched a perfect ninth for his third save of the postseason.

Kluber improved to 2-0 in the postseason with the win. He has yet to allow a run in 13 1/3 innings with 13 strikeouts and five walks. Kluber is 12-1 in his last 17 starts this year.

“Toronto’s whole lineup, one through nine, is dangerous,” said Kluber. “I know the middle of their lineup gets a lot of attention because of the homers they hit, but I think their whole lineup is dangerous.”

Marco Estrada, who pitched the Blue Jays to a Game 1 victory over Texas in the ALDS, was matching Kluber zero for zero until the sixth. After Jason Kipnis walked with one out, Lindor drove a 0-2 pitch over the wall in right center. It was Lindor’s second homer and the Indians’ sixth in the postseason.

It was the only mistake Estrada made as he pitched a six-hitter in defeat. He struck out six and walked one.

“It was unreal,” said Lindor, who hit a 76 mph change up for the homer. “First of all I though (Kevin) Pillar was going to catch it. As soon as it went out I put my hands out and said thank God. And I looked at the dugout and everyone was going insane.

“And the crowd was unreal. I just tried to go with the flow. I celebrated like it was a walk-off.”

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