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- 09/25/18--05:11: Does Ohio State really have a 'pass-first' offense? Buckeye Take
- 09/26/18--00:01: Ryder Cup 2018: TV schedule, rosters for Team USA and Team Europe
- Golf Channel, 2 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Golf Channel, 2-3 a.m.
- NBC Sports, 3 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- NBC Sports, 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- 09/26/18--02:03: Will Ohio State vs. Penn State be a shootout? Buckeye Talk Podcast
Urban Meyer says his Ohio State offense is pass first. Let's look at the numbers.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Perhaps "pass more", or "pass better" would be a more apt way to describe Ohio State's offense than the "pass first" label Urban Meyer used on Monday.
There's no doubt that Meyer's offense is different from what we've seen in the past: Basically no quarterback run, a more diversified running game with the running backs, and a consistent downfield passing attack.
But Meyer said Monday that, partly because of the way teams are defending OSU right now, the Buckeyes are more of a pass-first team than they've ever been before under Meyer. The numbers certainly allow him to make that argument.
Looking at just the first-team offense -- meaning eliminating any snaps Tate Martell has taken with the starters -- Ohio State has called a pass play 54 percent of the time through its first four games. That's a change.
Even last year, when at one point it felt like the offense was so focused on proving it could pass that it got too far away from its identity, that was still a breakdown that leaned 52 percent run.
So right now, Ohio State is definitely throwing more than it's running.
"Teams are still defending us a lot of single coverage." Meyer said. "That's what Tulane did. And we're at the point where we can execute the passing game pretty high. After watching the videotape, you know, the offensive line played pretty well. But then there's a safety hitting you up for a four or five-yard gain. And when that happens they're leaving you up for single coverage. A lot of it is how they determine to play us."
That's the biggest change.
I'm not sure I totally agree with the "pass first" label, even though the offense is throwing more than it's running. On first down, Ohio State is still heavy run. The Buckeyes run on 62 percent of first downs. Like a lot of teams, OSU is still looking to establish its running game first.
Even against Rutgers, when Ryan Day said the offense was throwing more on first down in that particular game, the Buckeyes still ran on 55 percent of first downs.
Maybe things will eventually flip, and teams will start keying on Dwayne Haskins and the passing attack. Then the Buckeyes will start pounding the ball in the run game again and really lean on teams like we've seen in the past.
The difference is that Ohio State now has a passing game to make up for times when the run game isn't effective. The offense has more answers.
Buckeye Take is a quick 300- to 400-word column on a single aspect of Ohio State football. We're trying to replicate in written form the feel of our Buckeye Talk Podcast, where we drop a multitude of opinions every week. We know not all of you listen to the pod (though you should), and we don't want you to miss out on what we're thinking about the Buckeyes.
Charting Dwayne Haskins' numbers en route to setting Ohio State single-season passing record. See how Haskins is on pace to smash OSU single-season passing record (graphics)
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Though it's still early, Ohio State's single-season passing record increasingly looks like it will be held by Dwayne Haskins before the end of the year.
Haskins passed for 304 yards in two quarters Saturday against Tulane, upping his season total to 1,194 yards through four games.
Maintaining something close to his current pace - 298.5 yards a game - would easily be enough to break Joe Germaine's record of 3,330 yards.
Haskins is on pace for 3,881 yards if Ohio State plays 13 games; 4,179 yards over a 14-game season and 4,478 yards over 15 games.
And Haskins' 298.5 yards per game would also be a record.
Scroll over the lines on the graphics below for more details and comparison to the top four passing seasons. This will be updated weekly.
The three starting linebackers -- Pete Werner, Tuf Borland and Malik Harrison -- combined for zero tackles in the win. Watch video
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The stat caught Urban Meyer by surprise.
"Zero tackles?" he asked when presented with the fact that Ohio State's starting linebackers did not register a tackle in a win against Tulane last Saturday.
"I did not know that," he said. "That's a question to ask Coach (Greg) Schiano. I know they didn't play that much probably, but that's interesting. Because I know Malik (Harrison) is playing at a very high level. Did we not have any champions there?"
Not among the starters. The only linebacker to grade out a champion against Tulane was Dante Booker. The senior was named Ohio State's Defensive Player of the Game after registering four tackles, three for loss, and a sack with a second unit that played for the majority of the second half.
Ohio State's starting linebackers -- Pete Werner, Tuf Borland and Harrison -- weren't credited with any stops. That's a bit of an alarming anomaly against a triple-option team like Tulane.
Backup linebackers Keandre Jones and Dallas Gant each had four tackles, also playing in mop-up time in the second half. Backup middle linebacker Baron Browning, who did play in the first half, finished with three tackles and a sack.
There was one play where it looked like perhaps Werner could have been credited with an assist. Ohio State's defensive linemen played a good game and were credited with 18 tackles. And the nature of defending an option team is that sometimes a linebacker can read a play right, be in the right position, and the person he's assigned too simply doesn't have the ball.
So maybe the stat line is a bit misleading.
Regardless, OSU's starting linebackers did not seem like much of a factor against a team that ran the ball 42 times despite being down big the entire game.
The number of tackles, or lack there of, for the starting linebackers only compounds concerns about that position heading into Saturday's game at Penn State.
Meyer, to this point, hasn't expressed much concern with the linebacker play. Schiano said this about the linebackers last week:
"I think the linebackers have played pretty well actually ... We're not perfect by any means, but really playing much more assignment-sound football than we were even in training camp. I think they're getting better and better."
Doug Lesmerises and Bill Landis discuss the linebackers more in a short BuckWhys video above.
Wins and lessons is a mantra from the Cavs that the Browns could have used a couple years ago.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Admire the line the Cavs are walking this season in dancing through the departure of the defining athlete of this franchise.
Cleveland must be appropriately appreciative of LeBron James' greatness, while emitting signals that on some level they're happy he's gone and they'll be fine without him.
Cleveland must prepare fans for far less winning than they grew accustomed to through four straight NBA Finals trips, while insisting they aren't tanking.
Cleveland must attempt to embrace an underdog, we'll-show-you mentality, because the label of the Bully of the East was ripped away from them.
Good luck. But maybe they don't need it.
Because the Cavs may actually manage to do it, maybe in no small part because they watched the Browns fail to express a vision to their fans for two seasons.
The Browns clearly put winning on the back burner for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, and one of their missteps was never getting out front to explain the philosophy to fans and ask them to invest with the team in a long-term vision for the future. It didn't mean trying to lose. It meant explaining that there was value beyond the scoreboard on Sunday, value that the franchise and fans could embrace together for the good of everyone.
Maybe a catchy little slogan, something like, I don't know ...
"Wins and Lessons."
How come the "Hardland of America" guy didn't come up with that one for the Browns?
"It's not about wins and losses, it's about wins and lessons," Cavs coach Ty Lue said Monday.
He dropped that little beauty at Cavs media day, and as our Scott Patsko pointed out, the moans could be heard from Berea ... why didn't we think of that?
This would've been a great thing for Hue Jackson or Sashi Brown to say two years ago. https://t.co/VHtN8Yh5oI-- Scott Patsko (@ScottPatsko) September 24, 2018
The way you talk about your team falls way down the list of importance when compared to things like winning, acquiring and developing great players, winning, and quality snacks at the concession stands. But talking about your team matters at least a little, because you're asked to do it a lot.
Sashi Brown, the architect of the Browns rebuild, failed by never honestly explaining the plan to a fanbase he feared wouldn't accept it.
Hue Jackson has often fallen short in this area, creating problems out of nothing in his attempts to stand strong as a leader for a franchise with enough natural problems of its own. It didn't need problems created for no reason.
It's why Jackson wound up in a lake, after promising 1-15 wouldn't happen again.
It's why expectations for DeShone Kizer went through the roof, when Jackson knighted him as the hope of a city.
It's why we spent a week discussing why Josh Gordon started in his first game back, an issue people only cared about because Jackson as the head coach vowed it would not happen, and then he let it happen.
How you talk sets a tone. And Lue and the Cavs made it clear Monday they understand that.
The Cavs aren't behaving or talking in a way that would indicate they're tanking, and they shouldn't. Kevin Love was extended, no other vital veterans were let go after James left, and the pursuit of the bottom of the playoffs is a worthy endeavor for a team that has been chasing championships.
But the Cavs also know they'll be worse, just like the Browns knew in 2016 they'd be worse. So explicitly giving fans another outlet for viewing success is smart and necessary.
Did you watch the Cavs get blown out at home by the Celtics or Raptors or Pacers or Bucks or 76ers? OK, but did Collin Sexton run the offense for a few possessions in a way that inspired or entertained you? How did Cedi Osman look? Or Ante Zizic?
The Cavs are attempting to offer hope and value while chasing an eight seed. It's not exactly like what the Browns did. And a loss inside The Q on a random Tuesday in February isn't as potentially soul-crushing as a loss outside at FirstEnergy Stadium on another Sunday in November.
But what the Cavs know is that it's OK to let the fans in.
Many in Cleveland are distraught over James' new life in L.A. But some are eager for a new chapter of the Cavs, without the James drama.
Whatever happens, the fans and franchise can try it together, aware of the losses to come.
With that delicious single victory from Thursday still marinating in the sports consciousness of Cleveland - BAKER FOREVER BABY - the Browns are taking steps toward maybe climbing out of this hole. Now, the Cavs are peering over the edge, ready to climb in.
They won't fall as far as the Browns did. But they'll be down there. If you let the fans know where you're headed, maybe they'll be ready with a ladder when it's time to climb out, rather than threatening to abandon you.
Wins and lessons in Cleveland basketball?
Everyone knows fewer wins are ahead for the Cavaliers s. But there's already been a lesson learned on how to deal with that.
The two veteran sportscasters will work the 11 Thursday night football games on Amazon Prime Video, the company announced Tuesday. Amazon's schedule begins this week in Los Angeles as the Rams take on the Minnesota Vikings.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer will form the first all-female broadcast team to call an NFL game starting this Thursday night.
The two veteran sportscasters will work the 11 Thursday night football games on Amazon Prime Video, the company announced Tuesday. Amazon's schedule begins this week in Los Angeles as the Rams take on the Minnesota Vikings.
"NFL fans will hear history made this season-- bringing two female announcers together to call an entire NFL game has never been done before," Prime Video VP Greg Hart said in a statement. "Our customers around the world love to stream football-- we are thrilled to have Andrea and Hannah bring their extensive knowledge of the game to fans on Prime Video."
NFL fans know Kremer from her current gig as chief correspondent for NFL Network and her previous work on NBC's "Sunday Night Football." Storm's long career has included stops at NBC, CNN and ESPN, where she is currently an anchor on "SportsCenter."
While women have worked NFL games or many years, their presence has grown beyond that of sideline reporter in recent years. Beth Mowins became just the second woman in history to do play-by-play on a NFL game in 2017, while Sam Ponder and Suzy Kolber currently host ESPN's main NFL shows.
Corey Kluber, while his manager and teammates were nervous about his chances of winning 20 games, stayed cool as usual on Monday night against the White Sox. Watch video
CHICAGO - The game ball sat on the top shelf of Corey Kluber's locker on Monday night. It had already been authenticated by MLB just minutes after his 20th win of the season.
Tony Amato, Indians' equipment manager, put it in Kluber's locker. Other mementos will be sure to follow - a lineup card, more game balls, stuff like that.
Kluber became a 20-game winner for the first time in his career in a 4-0 win over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. He threw seven scoreless innings and struck out 11.
The booming market of new baseball statistics has done terrible things to the value of the win over the years. In most circles, pitchers' wins are judged with a jaundiced eye. Too many variables come into play once the ball comes free of a pitcher's hand for him to get all the credit or take all the blame for what happens next.
Still when was the last time you ran across a bad pitcher who won 20 games? And it is still a happening, an event in an outside the locker room.
Kluber was the first Indians' pitcher to win 20 games since left-hander Cliff Lee won 22 in 2008. That's 10 years ago.
As for right-handers, the last Indians' pitcher to win 20 games was Gaylord Perry in 1974. That's 44 years ago. So FIP and ERA+ be damned - at least for a day -- 20 wins is at least worth a smile, a nod of appreciation.
It's why Adam Rosales was so excited when he was told Sunday night that he'd be starting a second base Monday.
"I knew that Kluber was on the mound," said Rosales, a veteran big-leaguer who spent all of 2018 at Class AAA Columbus. "He was going for his 20th win. I was excited to be playing second base for him. It's always a cool opportunity to play behind a guy like that."
It's why manager Terry Francona was jumpy in the dugout, especially after Kluber and Chicago's Dylan Covey pitched to a scoreless draw after six innings.
"We were all nervous for him," said Francona. "He probably wasn't. We were. It meant probably more to us than it did to him."
Brandon Guyer said he didn't feel pressure about playing behind Kluber as he approached his 20th win.
"Obviously, you want him to get that 20th win," said Guyer. "You know he's going to pitch well. As hitters you just want to put up consistent quality at-bats. If we do that. . . it was one of those nights where if you put up one run, we've got a good chance to win with Kluber, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. It was good to get him that 20th win for sure."
Guyer supplied the one run he was talking about with a leadoff homer in the seventh. The Indians added three more runs in the ninth, the first coming on a homer by Rosales, who set a new land-speed record circling the bases.
Corey Kluber has two Cy Young Awards, yet never won 20 games in a season.September 25, 2018
Kluber was asked after the game if he was as nervous, or at least a bit on edge, during the game. He laughed at the question and said, "No, I mean, 20 wins is cool. It's a nice round number, but I think as long as we win the game, that's obviously the main goal."
From 2014 through 2017, Kluber went 18-9, 9-16, 18-9 and 18-4. He won the Cy Young award in 2014 and 2017. This year he's 20-7 with a 2.83 ERA.
In the last five years, he's 83-45 with a 2.83 ERA. He's averaged nearly 17 wins, 217 innings and 244 strikeouts per season over that period.
"It's a cool accomplishment," said Kluber. "It's something to be proud of, but the way I look at it is I gave us a chance to win a lot of times. I think that there are times where my teammates picked me up when I didn't (pitch well), and maybe I got credited with a win.
"When Edwin (Encarnacion) got 100 RBI on Sunday, things like that, we're all pulling for each other to get those numbers that mean something."
And Francona was right, Kluber was the calmest guy in the dugout on Monday night.
As for what he'd do with the game ball sitting in his locker, Kluber said, "Most of the stuff I have in my office isn't my own. So it will probably end up in a box somewhere."
Now maybe Kluber was just having a little fun. Perhaps he already has a spot in the middle of his living room mantelpiece reserved for that ball. But more likely than not there's a shoe box in Kluber's basement that better make room for one more baseball.
Plenty is changing for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, including some of the coaching, player development and operations staff.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Plenty is changing for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, including some of the coaching, player development and operations staff.
Needing to replace Director of Player Development Phil Handy, who left to join the Toronto Raptors this summer, the Cavaliers moved Mike Gerrity into that role.
Gerrity, who spent the last two years as Director of Player Development for the Canton Charge and a Player Development Assistant with the Cavaliers, is a former college point guard who will work closely with eighth-overall pick Collin Sexton.
Dan Geriot, who was previously an Assistant Video Coordinator/Coaching Assistant with the Cavs from 2016-18 and a Seasonal Video Coordinator during the team's 2015-16 championship season, has been promoted to Assistant Coach/Player Development.
Geriot will be responsible for assisting and reporting directly to head coach Tyronn Lue while also scouting upcoming opponents and working closely with the frontcourt players.
One of Lue's old teammates at Raytown High School has been added to the staff as well. Terry Nooner, who coached high school and AAU basketball for seven years in the Kansas City area before bouncing around the college basketball scene, is in Cleveland after three years at the University of Maryland.
While an assistant coach for the women's basketball team from 2015-2018, Nooner helped the program compile a record of 89-14 (.864), including 43-7 (.860) in league play to go with back-to-back Big Ten regular season and tournament titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances.
The Cavaliers will have a new shooting coach this season as well -- at least when Kyle Korver isn't aiding his teammates.
Andrew Olson, an independent basketball trainer, working directly with NBA teams, colleges and nationally ranked high school players, joins the Cavaliers after more than a decade in his previous role. His company, Shot Analysis, developed a way to explain shooting and quantify a player's shot mechanics.
Elsewhere, Albert Padilla -- part of the Minnesota Vikings staff that was named the NFL's Athletic Training Staff of the year in 2017 -- joins the organization as Assistant Athletic Trainer/Performance Science and Ed Subel, who worked with the Cleveland Indians for more than eight years, arrives as the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach.
The team also added Lauren Marvinney as Director of Team Services and Nate Nielsen as Assistant to the GM/Special Projects.
The Cavs have put player development at the forefront this season, making these new coaches more important than ever to the team's long-term success.
Smith wasn't able to participate fully Tuesday because of a sore hip, according to head coach Ty Lue.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- JR Smith was limited in the Cleveland Cavaliers' first training camp practice on Tuesday.
The team was on the floor for about two and a half hours, going through offensive and defensive sets and trying to get into the shape head coach Tyronn Lue demands for the new playing style. Only Smith wasn't able to participate for the duration because of a sore hip.
"He did a little bit today, but he didn't do the whole practice," Lue said.
Smith is battling a plethora of other players for consistent minutes at shooting guard this season and needs a quality training camp after back-to-back poor campaigns.
Aside from Smith being limited, Lue was thrilled with what he saw on Day 1.
"Good practice," he said. "I think the intensity was high for the full two and a half hours. Guys really put the energy and effort into practice. But something we really have to keep doing. I think everything we do has to be full speed, game speed, intensity and working on playoff habits. Getting good habits, playing the right way and those guys did a good job of that today."
Trevor Bauer will make his second start since coming off the disabled list when he faces the White Sox on Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
CHICAGO -- Here are the starting lineups for Tuesday night's game between the Indians and White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. First pitch was delayed by rain until approximately 9 p.m.
SS Francisco Lindor.
LF Michael Brantley.
2B Jose Ramirez.
1B Edwin Encarnacion.
3B Josh Donaldson.
DH Yonder Alonso.
RF Melky Cabrera.
C Yan Gomes.
CF Jason Kipnis.
RHP Trevor Bauer, 12-6, 2.21.
3B Yolmer Sanchez.
SS Luery Garcia.
DH Daniel Palka.
RF Avail Garcia.
C Omar Narvaez.
1B Matt Davidson.
LF Nicky Delmonico.
2B Yoan Moncada.
CF Adam Engel.
RHP James Shields, 7-16, 4.48.
H Andy Fletcher.
1B Jeff Nelson, crew chief.
2B Laz Diaz
3B Manny Gonzalez.
Still, in that moment, it wasn't just Sexton's jersey number that brought about thoughts of Kyrie Irving. It was the end-of-game heroics, the courage to take the shot and the fearlessness - all of which helped define the Cavaliers former All-Star.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- On July 16, in a back-and-forth matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Las Vegas Summer League, Collin Sexton dribbled to the left wing, used a screen from his teammate and hoisted a long-range jumper -- a weak point of his game according to many -- that splashed through the net and tied the game.
It was only Summer League. Nothing close to the NBA Finals, let alone a regular season game.
Still, in that moment, it wasn't just Sexton's jersey number that brought about thoughts of Kyrie Irving. It was the familiar end-of-game heroics, the courage to take the shot and self-belief to drain it -- all of which helped define the Cavaliers former All-Star.
The Young Bull. [?] [?] [?] pic.twitter.com/iVMWWeyCZS-- Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) July 17, 2018
"I'm not following in nobody's footsteps. I'm going to come in and play my style of game," Sexton said when asked about wearing Irving's old digit. "Kyrie did wear No. 2. Mo Williams did wear No. 2 also."
Yeah, well, the latter isn't the point guard fans will be thinking about when Sexton is racing up and down the court, trying to lead the team back to prominence in the aftermath of LeBron James' departure.
The comparisons to Irving are unavoidable. After all, Sexton was brought to Cleveland using the Brooklyn Nets' first-round pick -- the crown jewel of the Irving blockbuster with the Celtics more than a year ago. That franchise-altering trade was one of the moments that eventually led to James going to Los Angeles and a yearlong scramble to fix the point guard position.
And if Summer League was any preview, Sexton shares the same steely nerve and aggressive mindset that helped turn Irving into a late-game killer.
"I see those similarities because he's not afraid of the moment and Kyrie was the same way," head coach Tyronn Lue said. "He's not afraid of the big moment. You saw Collin in college last year, even in Summer League he made the big three to tie it up and send it to overtime. He's not afraid of the big moment."
There are plenty of differences between the two as well. As Lue explained, Sexton uses his speed and quickness to get to where he wants. His jumper is still a work in progress. As for Irving, he has no offensive weaknesses, able to score whenever he wants, against any defender because of his slick handle and polished repertoire.
Back in 2011, when the franchise was still reeling and James was thriving with his new team in Miami, the Cavs made Irving the first pick of the draft. The offensive dynamo represented so much more than that. He was the first building block, the player asked to pull the Cavaliers from the rubble.
This time, it's Sexton.
"I don't think there's any expectations," Lue said. "His toughness, tenacity, the way he gets to the basket and gets to the free-throw line and can score the basketball and make guys better. I just think the biggest thing for him is his pace, speed and intensity. That's something that we haven't had in the past. Good to see that. Just have to play that pace for the whole 48 minutes.
"Today, I thought he played like a veteran. Like he's been here before and that's what we need from him."
Sexton is 19, a wide-eyed teenager on a team with champions and battle-tested veterans. He can be brought along slowly, with Kevin Love, George Hill and others taking pressure off him early.
That's a much different environment than the one Irving entered during his rookie season.
"My first year, when me and Kyrie first came to the team, if you looked at the roster, the kind of guys that were borderline still pros," Tristan Thompson said. "And the team was kind of in the still-building mode with me and Kyrie. And then having Andy (Varejao) as our leader or having Anthony Parker as our leader to kind of show us, and Antwan Jamison to kind of show us what it takes to be pros, and then let them off and let those guys go and retire.
"So, now it's different. We still have guys that are still playing at a high level, better players overall, and this is a team that wants to be competitive and wants to fight for a playoff spot. For Collin, it's a little different, he's going to have more help compared to what me and Kyrie had."
On the first day of camp, Sexton leaned on Hill, the NBA veteran who will serve as a mentor. It was this time last year when Hill was in that same role thousands of miles away. He signed with the Sacramento Kings in free agency, expecting to help groom fifth-overall pick De'Aaron Fox.
When things took a wrong turn quickly, Cleveland swung a deal for Hill at the deadline and now the Cavs -- and Sexton specifically -- will reap the rewards.
Hill brings 11 years of experience. He's appeared in more than 100 playoff games. He learned from Tony Parker, became a Gregg Popovich favorite and has played in a variety of systems.
What fortune for Sexton to get to soak up that knowledge daily.
"Since day one it's been great, we're talking to each other, trying to figure out different things, playing alongside each other or just competing," Hill said. "He's a smart kid, has a lot of upside and we're going to take each day and try to do the best we can to win games. That's all that matters. No matter who's starting or who's coming off the bench, or who's playing and who's not, we're all going to be on the same page and learn from each other and have fun doing it.
"I always felt like the best thing to do is learn by throwing in the fire, learn by when you're out there playing. Like I told him, 'You're going to make mistakes, make them being aggressive. No one's perfect and you're not going to be perfect. Just play your game, you're young, you're a rookie, you're learning and they're putting you in this position for a reason.'"
This season is about turning the page. Not dwelling on the past. That starts with Sexton, who like Irving before him, represents a glimmer of hope during the dark days without LeBron.
The start of the Indians game against the White Sox on Tuesday night was delayed by rain at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Tribe-White Sox game tentatively scheduled to start at 9 p.m.
CHICAGO -- The start of Tuesday night's game between the Indians and White Sox has been delayed by rain at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Trevor Bauer was scheduled to face James Shields. Bauer is attempting to comeback from a stress fracture in his right leg in time to pitch in the postseason for the Indians. He was injured on Aug. 11 at Guaranteed Rate Field when he was hit by a line drive off the bat of Jose Abreu in the seventh inning.
This would be Bauer's second start since coming off the disabled list. In his last start he went 1 1/3 innings against the Red Sox. Manager Terry Francona said he was scheduled to throw between 60 and 65 pitches on Tuesday before Carlos Carrasco relieved him.
Tribe-White Sox game in rain delay. pic.twitter.com/EHGRai3E54-- paul hoynes (@hoynsie) September 25, 2018
The Indians are 13-4 against the White Sox this season. Bauer is 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA in three starts against them Chicago this season.
Bauer (12-6, 2.21) earned the win against the White Sox on the night he was injured. It gave him four wins in as many starts. But he did not pitch again until Friday against Boston at Progressive Field.
The Indians will start the ALDS on Oct. 5. In all likelihood they will play Houston with the Astros enjoying home-field advantage.
GM Mike Chernoff feels a lot of things are starting to come together for the Indians as the postseason draws near.
CHICAGO - Manager Terry Francona, about a month ago, said the Indians may not put their best team on the field until the last few days of the regular season.
Managers are always optimistic and that's what Francona sounded like. The optimistic manager of a team that dominated the AL Central from start to finish, clinched early, but never really found fifth gear.
Well, there are only five games left in the regular season. Has somebody finally found how to shift the Indians into overdrive?
General Manager Mike Chernoff is with the Indians in Chicago on this last trip of the regular season. This is his 15th season with the organization and he's played a role in putting the last three AL Central champion rosters together from 2016 through 2018.
He said it's hard to compare the three teams. The 2016 team made it to Game 7 of the World Series with two healthy starting pitchers - Corey Kluber and Josh Tomlin. Last year's team set an AL record with 22 straight wins and finished the season with 102 victories. But they didn't get past the first round.
"This year, what I would say is different is, our record," said Chernoff. "We might not have as many wins as what we had in those previous years, but it does feel like over the past several weeks, we've seen a lot of things come together in ways that we hadn't seen for the majority of the season. So, we do feel like we're sort of on an upward trajectory heading to the postseason."
The Indians went into Tuesday night's game against the White Sox with 88 wins and seemed destined for their 89th until a 3-run ninth by Chicago led to a 5-4 loss. It's the fewest wins among the five postseason qualifiers in the AL. Boston, the AL East champion, had 106 wins. Houston, leading the AL West, has 100 entering Wednesday. The two wild card teams, New York and Oakland, entered Tuesday with 96 and 95 wins, respectively.
Victories aside, here are some of the things Chernoff felt good about concerning the Indians' recent play:
* The positive signs shown by relievers Andrew Miller and Cody Allen.
* Trevor Bauer coming off the disabled list on Friday after suffering a stress fracture in his right leg on Aug. 11. He made his second start Tuesday night against the White Sox, allowing two runs on five hits in four innings.
* Newly-acquired Josh Donaldson appearing healthy after spending nearly three months on the disabled list with a left calf injury.
* Corey Kluber overcoming a midseason rough patch to win his 20th game on Monday night.
* A starting rotation featuring four starters with more than 200 strikeouts apiece.
* The solid play of Jason Kipnis in center field. When the Indians acquired Donaldson from Toronto, he took over at third base, moving Jose Ramirez to second and Kipnis to center.
Chernoff is especially intrigued with the idea of having Miller, Allen and Brad Hand, acquired from San Diego in July, at the back end of the bullpen. The bullpen has been an inconsistent part of the Indians for much of the season.
"I do think our bullpen is in a position, especially with the three guys at the back end, where in 2016, we had two of those guys," he said. "We had (Bryan) Shaw, but he was more in a set-up role. Now you have three guys that have pitched at the back end of a game, so potentially even a stronger bullpen if everything is going well."
The Indians are in the process of putting together their postseason roster. Francona said most of the players should know by Oct. 2. He said he'd talk to some players on this trip.
Chernoff and the Indians have had plenty of experience picking postseason rosters, but that doesn't make it easier.
"Each team is unique," he said. "You're trying to figure out what's the best roster. You're going to spend just as much time and effort figuring out what is the best possible roster, what's the best strategy for using our guys. So, I think you can maybe plan ahead a little bit better and know some of the decisions you'll have to make, but the decisions are just as hard to make."
Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco struck out eight batters in 4 1/3 innings, but he took the loss Tuesday night when Chicago scored three times in the ninth inning.
CHICAGO - Trevor Bauer took another step toward rejoining the Indians in the postseason and Carlos Carrasco almost vultured another win from his teammate. That's almost because the White Sox rallied to beat the Indians in the ninth inning on a two-run single by Daniel Palka.
The single gave Chicago a 5-4 victory at Guaranteed Rate Field. It was the 12th time the Indians have been beaten in walk-off fashion this season.
Carrasco entered the ninth with a 4-2 lead, but he walked Yoan Moncada to start the inning and gave up a single to Adam Engle. Yolmer Sanchez singled home Moncada to make it 4-3. After a sacrifice bunt advanced the runners, Palka delivered the tying and winning runs with a single to center.
Bauer allowed two runs in four innings. It was Bauer's second start since coming off the disabled list after suffering a stress fracture of his right fibula on the same mound he pitched from Tuesday night.
On Friday, Bauer went 1 2/3 innings against Boston. He threw just 50 percent of his 34 pitches for strikes. He was much sharper Monday, throwing 72 percent of his 60 pitches for strikes. He struck out four, didn't walk a batter and left with a 4-2 lead.
"I thought [he was] pretty good," said Francona. "He left a couple breaking balls up a little bit. But, I thought he looked more like himself, which is a really good thing. He went and pitched his four and then he went out in the bullpen and got to about 75 or 80. So, it was another really good step."
When Bauer pitches, drama is never far away. Sanchez opened the first for the White Sox with a bunt single to third. Sanchez ended up at third on throwing errors by Josh Donaldson from third and second baseman Jose Ramirez.
Yet that wasn't the real drama unless the White Sox gave a foreshadowing of how teams may attack Bauer in the postseason to test his right leg. No, the drama came when Avisail Garcia, with two out, hit a two-run homer on Bauer's 2-2 pitch.
Last year Bauer and Garcia yelled at each other during a game - Garcia at the plate, Bauer on the mound. Garcia wanted him to throw a fastball. But Bauer didn't and struck him out. Then he waved him back to the dugout.
Tuesday night Garcia took forever to get around the bases for his 19th homer. In the third, Bauer fielded Garcia's tapper up the first baseline. Instead of throwing to first, he stopped along the line and tagged Garcia out. Just another footnote in the Bauer story.
"I was really encouraged with today again," said Bauer. "Commanded the ball pretty darn well. That was one of the points of emphasis, was see how many 0-2, 1-2 counts I could get myself into. Get ahead.
"I threw all my pitches for strikes. All where I wanted to, with the exception of I missed a couple in the zone. Like the slider that Avi (Garcia) hit out. But, overall, I was super encouraged by it."
The Indians rallied quickly against James Shields to take a 3-2 lead in the third. Jose Ramirez drove in one run and Yonder Alonso drove in the other two. Ramirez's single gave him 104 RBI for the season and was one of the best swings he's taken in weeks.
Yan Gomes made it 4-2 with a leadoff homer in the fourth. It was his 16th homer of the season and five this month.
Carrasco (16-9, 3.42) started the fifth in relief of Bauer and was brilliant until the ninth. He struck out eight, the most by an Indians reliever since Kaz Tadano struck out nine against the Rockies on June 26, 2004.
On July 15 against the Yankees, the last game before the All-Star break, Bauer pitched seven innings and left with the score tied, 3-3. Carrasco pitched a scoreless eighth inning and was credited with the win when the Indians scored three runs in the eighth.
"I thought Carlos was terrific up until the end," said Francona. "And then he walked the leadoff hitter in the ninth inning. But, I thought he was very good except for that."
What it means
The Indians' date with Houston in the ALDS is set. The Astros clinched the AL West on Tuesday night when they beat Toronto, while Oakland lost to Seattle in extra innings.
Game 1 of the best-of-five ALDS is scheduled for Oct. 5 at Minute Maid Park.
Bauer threw 60 pitches, 43 (72 percent) for strikes. Shields threw 112 pitches, 58 (52 percent) for strikes.
Thanks for coming
The Indians and White Sox drew 17,040 fans to Guarantee Rate Field. First pitch was at 9:01 p.m. with a temperature of 67 degrees. The start of the game was delayed by rain for 51 minutes.
Indians rookie right-hander Shane Bieber (10-5, 4.80) will face the White Sox on Wednesday. The White Sox have not announced a starter for the 8:10 p.m. game. SportsTime Ohio, WTAM and WMMS will carry the game.
This will be Bieber's second start against the White Sox. He threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings against them on Aug. 10 in a no-decision.I thought he was terrific up until the end. And then he walked the leadoff hitter in the ninth inning and we almost get a pickoff play. But, I thought he was very good except for that.
Check here for Ryder Cup 2018 information, including rosters for Team USA and Team Europe.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Tiger Woods and Team USA face Sergio Garcia and Team Europe in Ryder Cup 2018 this week in France. Competition unfolds at Le Golf National outside Paris, Sept. 28-30. Europe seeks to avenge a 17-11 loss at Hazeltine in Minnesota in 2016.
Europe needs 14 1/2 points to win the 42nd Cup; USA needs 14 to retain. USA has not won in Europe since 1993.
Earned spots on points: Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson.
Captain's picks: Tiger, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau.
Earned spots on points: Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Alex Noren, Thorbjorn Olesen, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose.
Captain's picks: Sergio, Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson.
Friday, Sept. 28
Saturday, Sept. 29
Sunday, Sept. 30
On Friday and Saturday, four four-ball matches will unfold in the morning and four foursome matches will be contested in the afternoon. Sunday features 12 singles matches.
Woods, 42, is on the short list of greatest golfers ever. His remarkable comeback this season from multiple back surgeries includes a victory at the Tour Championship and two Top 10's in majors (T-6 at The Open, 2nd at PGA Championship). He ranks No. 2 all time with 80 PGA Tour titles. He is 13-17-3 in seven Ryder Cups.
Mickelson, 48, is the second-best player of his generation. He ranks No. 9 all time with 43 PGA Tour titles, including one this season. He is 18-20-7 in 11 Ryder Cups.
Site: Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France.
Course: Le Golf National. Yardage: 7,183. Par: 71.
Defending champion: United States.
Last time: Every American contributed at least one point for the first time since 1975 in a 17-11 victory at Hazeltine.
Notes: The Americans have not won in Europe since The Belfry in 1993, the same year three of their players on this team were born. ... The U.S. team features nine major champions, the most on any team since continental Europe was included in 1979. ... Tiger Woods is playing in the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2012 at Medinah. ... Phil Mickelson is playing in his 12th Ryder Cup, the most of any player on either side since it began in 1927. ... Europe has five rookies, two among the top 15 in the world in Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood. ... Justin Rose is the ninth player to be No. 1 at the Ryder Cup since 1987. The other four Europeans were Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo and Rory McIlroy twice. Woods was No. 1 four times. ... Le Golf National is the host course of the French Open. Alex Noren won it this year, Fleetwood the year before. ... The captains are Thomas Bjorn (Europe) and Jim Furyk (U.S.).
Next time: Whistling Straits in 2020.
(Fact box from Associated Press.)
Ironically, James leaving for Los Angeles, a sad day for Osman, paves the way for more consistent playing time -- perhaps even the first crack at James' old starting role. Watch video
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- How did Cedi Osman end up in a star-studded workout alongside the league's premier small forwards?
Let him tell you -- through the megawatt smile that's been plastered on his face ever since.
"When I was in Summer League in Vegas I met with Bron (LeBron James) and was having a dinner," Osman said. "He offered me to practice with him. What do you expect me to say? I said, 'Of course, that would be perfect.' After that I went back to Turkey, had a little vacation for two weeks and then to New York for the rookie transition program and then went back to LA to meet with LeBron and to work out with him.
"First day we worked out together and then the next day he said we were going to work out with KD (Kevin Durant) and Kawhi (Leonard). I was like so excited and said, 'Wow, three best small forwards in the world and I'm going to have an opportunity to learn from them and work out with them.' That's something I will not forget ever. Because always watching them on the TV when I was a kid or playing the games with them and then one time practicing with them so it was an amazing feeling."
James already knows what Osman can do. James took Osman under his wing last season and invited him to be part of his post-practice shooting group. James repeatedly spoke about an appreciation for Osman's work ethic and high basketball IQ.
Overseas spectators have seen it since he was a teenager.
Durant and Leonard caught a glimpse during that workout on Aug. 21 at UCLA.
Osman admits he was nervous. Paired with Finals MVP Durant in a shooting drill, Osman's jumpers kept bouncing off the front of the rim.
That's when Durant blew the youngster away, talking to him about the game and providing tips to improve a still-developing outside shot.
"He was always telling me, 'Shoot up, shoot up.' I said, 'I can't right now' because I was pretty excited.' Even that was a pretty good moment for me," Osman said. "Even if it's something simple, but telling me that and after that Bron and Kawhi, they were always talking to me, so it was an unbelievable experience."
Now Osman, who has started just 12 games, is ready for his close-up.
"My summer was pretty busy," he said. "Had a lot of games, going back and forth. Actually that's what I was dreaming for -- to have a role and to show the world what I'm capable of and that's why I was working a lot. I'm ready. Last year was an amazing experience for me playing in the Finals, playing with LeBron. It was amazing, dream came true and now it's time to work when I get on the floor and to do my best and show what I'm capable of."
Ironically, James leaving for Los Angeles, a sad day for Osman, paves the way for more consistent playing time -- perhaps even the first crack at James' old starting spot.
It's exactly what Osman coveted when he decided to come to the NBA. The Cavaliers' up-tempo style suits him well, allowing Osman to showcase his hustle and athleticism in the open floor where his weaknesses can be better masked.
His shooting mechanics continue to evolve, constantly working on his form with coaches and soliciting teammate Kyle Korver's advice.
If Osman's jumper comes around then that breakout season could become more than just a dream. Head coach Tyronn Lue sees it too, recently saying Osman "has great potential" and isn't fazed by anything. Well...except, of course, when Osman's shooting in a gym with Durant, James and Leonard.
And while James remained on the other side of the country following that workout, needing time to get ready for his inaugural season with the Lakers, he's still only a text away.
"I was letting him know what I was doing and where I was," Osman said of those summer conversations. "Every time something good happens I would let him know."
Perhaps Osman will have some more good news to share soon.
Can his dream summer carry over into the season? That's up to him. Training camp will be important. So, too, will the preseason.
During his rookie campaign, Osman averaged just 3.9 points on 48 percent shooting to go with 2.0 rebounds in 61 games. He went to Summer League and looked like a seasoned veteran, turning heads while averaging 20 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists. After his stellar performance in Vegas, Osman went to work with the Turkish National Team, positioning them well to qualify for the FIBA World Cup.
And yet, of all the great moments during a potentially transformative summer, that day he spent at UCLA won't be topped anytime soon.
"It was the best workout of my life," he said.
Doug Lesmerises and Bill Landis preview Ohio State's game on Saturday against Penn State, and answer your questions on the Buckeyes.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State and Penn State will meet on Saturday in a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2 scoring offenses in the country, two teams that are scoring more than 50 points per game.
So will Saturday's top-10 matchup in Beaver Stadium be a high-scoring shootout? Doug Lesmerises and Bill Landis discuss that and more in a new episode of our Buckeye Talk Podcast. We also answer your questions about Ohio State football, and get a breakdown on Penn State from PennLive beat writer Bob Flounders.
You can always submit questions via Twitter to the @BuckeyeTalkPod account. You can also now submit questions, comments and complaints via email to BuckeyeTalkPod@gmail.com.
Before listening to the podcast below, make sure to subscribe to Buckeye Talk at any of these places:
The three-star receiver from Kentucky will be on campus when Ohio State hosts Indiana on Oct. 6.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State has been moving slowly with its Class of 2019 recruiting efforts. Part of that likely stems from Urban Meyer's suspension last month, but it's also partly because OSU had been a little slow in general with this class even before that.
Pragmatic might be a better way to describe the Buckeye efforts in 2019, but with 14 commits and the early signing day quickly approaching, expect things to ramp up a little bit.
That starts with Ohio State's next home game, Oct. 6 against Indiana.
Wandale Robinson, a three-star receiver from Kentucky, announced on Tuesday that he'll be officially visiting the Buckeyes that weekend. It will be his second trip to Columbus in about a month. He was here unofficially for the OSU game against Rutgers on Sept. 8.
Robinson is listed as the No. 4 all-purpose back in the 2019 class, but the 5-foot-9, 179-pound athlete is being recruited by Ohio State as a receiver. He'd be a fit at H-back in a class that already includes five-star receiver Garrett Wilson.
Ideally, it seems Ohio State would like to take at least three receivers in the 2019 class, but Wilson is the only commitment at the position right now. Other targets include four-star St. Louis prospect Jameson Williams, and four-star Austin, Texas prospect Elijah Higgins. Of those two, Williams seems much more likely to end up a Buckeye.
Robinson is different than all of those players, and that he's coming back to Ohio State for the second time in a month can only be taken as a good sign for the Buckeyes. He's also taken official visits to Nebraska and Alabama.
Trevor Keegan, a four-star offensive tackle from Illinois, is also scheduled to officially visit Ohio State the weekend of Oct. 6, according to 247Sports.
Renardo Green decommits, maybe?
Green, a three-star cornerback from Florida, tweeted on Tuesday morning that he had decommitted from Florida State. That tweet has since been deleted, and he's still listed as a Seminoles commit on his 247Sports profile page.
The No. 46 corner in the 2019 class is scheduled to take an official visit to Ohio State for the Michigan game on Nov. 24. That visit was scheduled before Green's decommitment and apparent retraction on Tuesday.
Ohio State currently has one corner committed in the 2019 class, four-star prospect Jordan Battle.
Another 2020 commit?
Ohio State 2020 defensive back commit Lejond Cavazos had a message he felt like sharing on social media over the weekend:
Let me clear the air... @Eliasricks2020 and I will be playing college ball together. [?]-- Lejond Cavazos (@lejondaryy) September 24, 2018
Cavazos seems pretty solid to Ohio State, so that sounds like Cavazos is predicting the Buckeyes to land five-star defensive back Elias Ricks in what's already a loaded 2020 recruiting class. Ricks, from Mater Dei High School in California, is the No. 1 corner in 2020, and the No. 8 overall player in the country.
Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber joins a special club by shutting Chicago White Sox for his 20th win
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber joined the 20-win club this season by shutting out the Chicago White Sox, 4-0, Monday night in Chicago.
It was the first time that Kluber has won 20 games in a career that has seen him win two Cy Young awards. Three times in his eight years with Cleveland he has come close to the magic number, winning 18 games.
He is the first Cleveland pitcher to win 20 since Cliff Lee won 22 in 2008.
Kluber's last regular season start is scheduled against the Royals in Kansas City on Saturday night. Then it's on to the postseason and the ALDS, where Kluber and the Indians will hope for a different result than last year.
Crowquill, by Plain Dealer artist Ted Crow, appears three times a week in The Plain Dealer and on cleveland.com.
Alabama remains on top and LSU is starting to make some noise. Watch video
CLEVELAND, Ohio - The college football season is still young and the early rankings of Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and Ohio State remain as the top four teams in the country.
However, several teams have already dropped and risen at this stage of the season, and certainly more changes will come.
In our latest college football video, Elton Alexander and I discussed the latest pretenders and contenders.
As stated earlier, the current top four teams ranked in the latest college football poll are clearly contenders. LSU, now ranked No. 5, is clearly in the mix and has a chance to rise with upcoming games against Georgia and Alabama in the coming weeks.
Teams like West Virginia and Wisconsin are not exactly contenders, but the two teams are contenders to crack the top 10 if they continue to win. Wisconsin began the season in the top 10 but dropped with a loss. Games against Michigan and Penn State could get the Badgers back into the mix.
The likes of Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and Oklahoma could fall into the pretenders category.
Oklahoma needed overtime to defeat Army at home last week. Penn State also needed overtime to defeat Appalachian State in the season opener, and Notre Dame has already made a quarterback change.
Here's how the official College Football Empires Map looks after Week 4 [?]
(OLD DOMINION HAS LAND [?] ) pic.twitter.com/iU6xKXcim1-- SB Nation (@SBNation) September 24, 2018
Which team currently out of the top-4 has the best chance of making the College Football Playoff?-- CFB Kings (@CFBKings) September 25, 2018
Former Cleveland Indian Vern Fuller will speak on playing Major League ball in the 1960s.
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Vern Fuller, who spent six seasons with the Cleveland Indians in the 1960s, will speak on playing in the turbulent times of the decade during a talk at the Baseball Heritage Museum.
"Playing with Greatness: The Career of Vern Fuller" will be 1-2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at the museum, which is at League Park on Cleveland's East Side.
The museum is billing the focus of the talk as baseball set against the backdrop of "a decade of extremes, of transformational change and bizarre contrasts: flower children and assassins, idealism and alienation, rebellion and backlash. ... An argument can be made that America of the 1960s made Major League Baseball, the bastion of tradition for over 60 years at the time, feel odd and out-of-place throughout the decade. Answering to the pressures of the era, America's pastime experienced what many have described as 'the golden age of baseball' both on and off the field of play."
Fuller spent his entire career with the Indians. He had a cup of coffee in 1964 and then played 1966 through 1970. He remained in Northeast Ohio after his career and gives speeches on occasion, carrying a sense of humor and a self-deprecating manner. He addresses Kiwanis clubs and other groups, he said. Fuller was instrumental in helping launch the museum.
"I played with about 60 Hall of Famers," he said. "So it's called 'Playing with Greatness' not referring to me. ... I've got a few stories; some are even true. I have a good time with it."
Fuller, 74, said folks at a recent Kiwanis speech "get a kick out of it."
"Everyone in the room was 65 or older. I get a kid who's 25, he's like - who?' "
Fuller holds a couple of distinctions from his playing career. He is believed to be the last player to sign with, play his entire career with, and retire as an Indian. And 50 years ago, on Opening Day 1968, Fuller, Jose Cardenal and Tony Horton all hit triples in one inning.
The free program is supported by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. It will be co-hosted by Ike Brooks.
League Park is at 6601 Lexington Ave.