As the Indians prepare for their final push toward the playoffs, the odds are now on their side. History, however, is not.
Even in the late 1990s, when the Indians were annual October participants, rarely did they play games that mattered this late into the season. They won the division every year from 1995-99, and only once was it by fewer than 14 games. They sailed to another division championship in 2007, making the final week of the season again irrelevant.
Since the inception of the wild card, the only years the Indians have really had to battle to the final days of the season for a playoff berth, they failed each time.
They lost out on the wild-card spot on the season’s final day in 2000, then held a 1½-game lead for it entering the final week of the season in 2005, only to end the year two games shy of the postseason.
They began Monday again with a 1½-game lead over the Texas Rangers for the second wild-card spot.
The odds, however, heavily favor the Indians. Baseball Prospectus is constantly using logarithms, an abacus, maybe some exponents and other complicated mathematical equations to simulate the rest of the season. The Indians’ odds spiked 14 percent over the weekend, making them 73 percent favorites to lock up the final wild-card spot this week. The Rangers, conversely, plummeted to 35 percent entering their game Monday night against the Houston Astros.
History or odds? In which do you believe?
Oh happy day
Forget about the trade of Trent Richardson and Brian Hoyer’s stunning comeback. What made the Browns’ victory Sunday over the Minnesota Vikings so shocking was the fact the Indians won on Sunday, too. It was just the second time in six years the Indians and Browns won games on the same day.
The last time it happened was Sept. 18, 2011, and before that it was Sept. 30, 2007.
I started checking games in April, then realized the Browns haven’t had many draft victories, either.
The Indians were featured on Monday’s Fox Sports 1 episode of Mission October, which looks at each team making a postseason push. Part of the look at the Indians includes a segment on the self-proclaimed “Goon Squad,” which comprises Yan Gomes, Mike Aviles, Jason Giambi and Ryan Raburn. All four have delivered big hits in part-time roles this season.
Gomes, Giambi and Raburn all have walk-off homers, and Aviles hit a grand slam at Detroit in the ninth inning earlier this season.
“They take pride in it,” Nick Swisher said in the piece.
“They’re not in there every single day, but that’s what the Goon Squad is. Ready at the drop of a bat.”
In case the Vikings haven’t received enough ridicule for losing to a Browns team starting its third-string quarterback just days after trading away their best running back, now Adrian Peterson is hearing about it at home, too.
“So my daughter is laying here under me and just out the blue she says… I can’t believe you lost to the Browns Daddy!” the Vikings’ star wrote on his Twitter account.
But a winless Vikings team is the least of owner Zygi Wilf’s problems these days. Wilf learned Monday he owes $84.5 million in damages to former business partners he defrauded in a real estate deal in the 1980s. That’s in no relation to the Herschel Walker fraud charges of the 1980s, when the Vikings were swindled out of their senses.
Mike Brown said Monday during the Cavs’ charity golf outing that he has taken to calling Kyrie Irving the Pied Piper for the way he dragged his teammates around the country all summer.
Irving set up “mandatory” workouts in Miami, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York and expected all of his teammates to attend.
By all accounts, most of them did.
Brown loves the way Irving is emerging as a leader and chuckled at the nickname of Pied Piper.
Irving, only 21, knew it was a fairy tale, but didn’t know the details surrounding the story. So he asked a few reporters Monday for the backstory.
“It’s about a guy who played a flute and led a bunch of rats out of the city,” one reporter said.
Maybe they were gym rats.