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News, Scores, Teams, Stories & More on Northeast OH Sports on cleveland.com

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    The Cleveland Indians have announced pregame festivities at Progressive Field for the American League Division Series vs. the Houston Astros.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Cleveland Indians are asking fans to wear red in Progressive Field during the American League Division Series.

    Fans will receive a red #RallyTogether towel at ALDS games in Cleveland. The #RockYourRed campaign will continue throughout the series.

    Game 3 is 1:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8, while Game 4 - if necessary - is 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9. Gates will open two hours before first pitch.

    The winner of the best-of-five Cleveland-Houston series will play the Boston-New York winner. First pitch for Game 1 of that series is 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5.

    Pregame festivities for ALDS games in Cleveland:

    ALDS Game 3

    Ceremonial first pitch: Former Indian Travis Hafner.

    Gateway Plaza band: Tricky Dick & the Cover-Ups.

    National Anthem singer: Jim Toncar.

    "God Bless America" singer: Danielle Danburg.

    Color Guard: All branches.

    Monday will be busy downtown. The Cavs host the Indiana Pacers in a preseason game at the Q at 7 p.m. Fans are encouraged to arrive downtown early and to consider using RTA via bus, trolley or Rapid rail lines.

    Lyft's dedicated pickup and drop-off area is at Erie Court across from the stadium. New Lyft users can use the code NEWTRIBE for $5 off their first two rides when they download the Lyft app.

    ALDS Game 4 (if needed)

    Ceremonial first pitch: Former Indian Ellis Burks.

    Gateway Plaza band: We Are The Radio.

    National Anthem singer: Don Irvin.

    Color Guard: Navy.

    As in the past few postseasons, security is stepped up. Gateway Plaza adjacent to Progressive Field will begin security activation about five hours before first pitch. No vehicles will be allowed, and anyone entering must go through one of the following checkpoints:

    * Ontario Street / Eagle Avenue

    * Huron Road / East 6th Street

    * Gateway East Parking Garage (exit to plaza)

    * East 9th Street / Eagle Avenue

    Fans do not need tickets to enter Gateway Plaza. Here is a list of what is allowed and restricted.

    The first two games of the Cleveland-Houston series are at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Game 1 is 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, with Game 2 at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6. Game 5, if necessary, would be 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, in Houston.

    Previous coverage: Here is a look at the Indians' 2018 postseason apparel


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    The sophomore defensive end is living up to his ranking as a top-10 national recruit. And that's not so easy. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- After Chase Young had played one game in his college football career last season, Ohio State senior defensive end Jalyn Holmes declared that one day, Young would be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

    "When it happens, you owe me $5," Holmes said in the first week of September in 2017.

    For Young to then be unveiled to the rest of the college football world after he made the game-winning fourth-down tackle against Penn State on Saturday is like watching a movie sweep the country on its opening weekend when you've seen the sneak preview.

    Right. It's great. We knew that.

     

    Sure things come through Ohio State all the time. Some of them turn out to be not so sure.

    Many are exactly what you expect. 

    Young is that. And his expectations were sky high.

    The No. 7 overall recruit in the Class of 2017, maybe more than any player I've covered at Ohio State since 2005, Young arrived with expectations, acknowledged expectations, embraced expectations and quickly reached expectations. Next is exceeding them.

    He knew he was good. He wanted to be good. He vowed to be good. And in the 17th game of his OSU career, he was the best player on the field in a nail-biting top-10 matchup with six tackles and two sacks.

    "Chase has got some high expectations for himself, he really does," defensive line coach Larry Johnson said. "And I think that's cool. The guy really wants to be a great player. And everything he does is based on that."

    In that last 10 NFL drafts, 15 Buckeyes have gone in the first round. Here were the national recruiting ranks of those players, from lowest to highest.

    * Malcolm Jenkins, 667

    * Bradley Roby, 650

    * Darron Lee, 636

    * Malik Hooker, 360

    * Denzel Ward, 270

    * Billy Price, 211

    * Cam Heyward, 204

    * Taylor Decker, 170

    * Gareon Conley, 153

    * Ryan Shazier, 106

    * Ezekiel Elliott, 69

    * Marshon Lattimore, 55

    * Eli Apple, 52

    * Joey Bosa, 37

    * Beanie Wells, 7

    Since Wells went from No. 7 in the 2006 class to the first round of the 2009 draft, Joey Bosa is the highest-rated OSU recruit turned first-rounder, at No. 37 overall in 2013.

    Between Wells' ranking at No. 7 in the 2006 class, and Young's ranking at No. 7 in the 2017 class, there were 18 OSU recruits ranked higher than No. 37. None went in the first round.

    One will - Nick Bosa was No. 8 in 2016 and is a first-round lock. So the Bosas set the standard. But they're from a football family and a rare set of circumstances. It's hard to be the Bosas.

    Young is just a guy. He's looking like a guy who's going to live up to his immense potential.

    That might seem obvious. Given history, it's not as easy as you think.


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    Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson was suspended for 20 games for hitting St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in the head in a preseason game. Watch video

    Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson was suspended for 20 games for hitting St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in the head in a preseason game. This is Wilson's fourth suspension in 105 games. He has a reputation for putting dirty hits on players and many feel he deserves to miss around a quarter of the season. Other people don't see how the hit was illegal. Players should have their head on a swivel on the ice. What do you think? 

    PERSPECTIVES

    Here is a totally real (totally not fake) conversation between Wilson and NHL Department of Player Safety Director George Parros. 

    Who do you side with?

    Should Wilson get a 20-game suspension for this?

    The Tylt is focused on debates and conversations around news, current events and pop culture. We provide our community with the opportunity to share their opinions and vote on topics that matter most to them. We actively engage the community and present meaningful data on the debates and conversations as they progress. The Tylt is a place where your opinion counts, literally. The Tylt is an Advance Local Media, LLC property. Join us on Twitter @TheTylt, on Instagram @TheTylt or on Facebook, we'd love to hear what you have to say.


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    John Carroll will host Capital and Baldwin Wallace hosts Muskingum on Saturday.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - Notre Dame began this week of D-2/D-3 college football with a come-from-behind, 24-21 victory over Fairmont State Thursday night.

    The Falcons, ranked No. 20 in the latest D-2 poll, trailed 14-3 at the half before their rally in the second half, capped by Jaleel McLaughlin's 2-yard run with 1:33 left.

    McLaughlin, who leads all of college football in rushing (1,297 yards), finished with 194 yards on 41 carries and two touchdowns.

    Notre Dame returns to action on Oct. 13 against Urbana at Mueller Field in South Euclid.

    No. 19 Case Western Reserve is at No. 12 Washington and Jefferson for a game which will likely have an impact on the  2018 Presidents' Athletic Conference Championship, because not only does the game feature the 2017 PAC Co-Champions but the the two teams are the only undefeated teams in the conference.

    The Spartans average 46.3 points per game on 514.2 yards of offense (187.9 rushing and 327.2 passing) and allow 16.8 points per game on 275.2 total yards (71.0 rushing and 204.2 passing).

    Washington and Jefferson averages 43.4 points on 510.8 yards of offense (185.4 rushing and 325.4 passing) and allow 11.2 points on 325.8 yards (91.0 rushing and 243.8 passing).

    Division II

    Division III

    • Capital (0-4) at John Carroll (3-1), 1:30 p.m., Live video
    • Hiram (1-3) at Wittenberg (4-0) , 3 p.m., Live stats
    • Case Western (4-0) at Washington & Jefferson (5-0), 1 p.m., Live video
    • Muskingum (2-3) at Baldwin Wallace (4-1), 1:30 p.m., Live stats
    • Wilmington (1-3) at Mount Union (4-0), 1:30 p.m., Live stats

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    There are no concerns and the entire trio is expected to play in the final two exhibitions.

    INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Head coach Tyronn Lue announced that Kevin Love, George Hill and Kyle Korver will all be held out of Saturday's preseason game against the Boston Celtics. 

    There are no concerns and the entire trio is expected to play in the final two exhibitions.

    There's one roster spot up for grabs and Lue wants to get a closer look at some of his younger guys. Saturday provides a great opportunity for that. 

    "Kind of see what we have," Lue said following Friday's practice. "We want to give guys a chance to play and kind of see what they do when the lights are on instead of just practice. Talking to (general manager) Koby (Altman), that's the right thing to do. We will see how it goes tomorrow."

    Hill resting gives Sexton a chance to start at point guard. Guards Isaiah Taylor and Kobi Simmons, two guys battling for the 15th spot, will get to run the second team.  

    Lue also said Tristan Thompson may not play either -- although that decision has not yet been finalized. 

    Thompson was one of the last players to leave the practice court Friday afternoon, getting free throws up at one of the side baskets. He had been dealing with some minor knee soreness early in camp, but Thompson was able to play 18 minutes in the preseason opener on Tuesday and him sitting would pave the way for burly big man Ante Zizic to get some extended playing time. 

    Zizic didn't enter Tuesday's game until the closing seconds of the third quarter, playing the rest of the way with non-regulars (except Collin Sexton). 

    The Celtics are expected to hold out Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. 


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    The Indians will open the ALDS with starters Trevor Bauer and Shane Bieber in the bullpen. If the series goes four games, one of them will start.

    HOUSTON - The 25-man rosters for the Indians and Astros were announced on Friday morning before Game 1 of the ALDS.

    Here is the Indians' 25-man roster:

    Starting pitchers (three): Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger.

    Bullpen (eight): Trevor Bauer, Shane Bieber, Cody Allen, Dan Otero, Adam Cimber, Andrew Miller, Oliver Perez and Brad Hand.

    Infield (six): Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Yonder Alonso, Josh Donaldson, Yandy Diaz and Edwin Encarnacion.

    Outfield (six): Greg Allen, Brandon Guyer, Kipnis, Michael Brantley, Melky Cabrera and Davis.

    Catchers (two): Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez.

    Here is the Astros' 25-man roster:

    Starting pitchers (four): Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton.

    Bullpen (seven): Tony Sipp, Ryan Pressly, Roberto Osuna, Colin McHugh, Lance McCullers, Josh James and Will Harris.

    Catchers (two): Martin Maldonado and Brian McCann.

    Infielders (seven): Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Evan Gattis, Marwin Gonzalez, Yuli Gurriel and Tyler White.

    Outfielders (five): Tony Kemp, Jake Marisnick, Josh Reddick, George Springer and Myles Straw.


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    Kirksey and Randall are both questionable, but coach Hue Jackson says they'll face the Ravens on Sunday.

    BEREA, Ohio - Linebacker Christian Kirksey missed practice Friday with the flu and free safety Damarious Randall was limited with his heel, but both will play Sunday against the Ravens, Hue Jackson said.

    "We have (Kirksey) quarantined,'' Jackson said.

    Linebacker James Burgess (knee) has been ruled out for the game, but receivers Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway, who were limited on Thursday with their knee injuries, will both play. They were full participants on Friday.

    Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams applauded Randall for playing hurt last week in Oakland, where he picked off Derek Carr and returned the ball 50 yards.

     "That's what you're supposed to do,''  Williams said. "That's what professionals do.''

    He said Randall can play some corner with Terrance Mitchell out for at least the next eight weeks with his broken wrist, but that he has to be careful because Randall is battling the heel injury.

    He also said Mitchell was playing some of the best ball of his career when he broek the wrist in the second quarter last week.

    Jackson also acknowledged that he needs Callaway to start faster this week, and that the Browns will make every effort to get him on track early on.



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    Cavs beat reporter Chris Fedor answers readers questions in his first edition of Hey, Chris!

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- It's the first edition of Hey, Chris!

    Do you have a Cavs question that you'd like to have answered in Hey, Chris? Submit it here or tweet @ChrisFedor.

    Hey, @TheArman1: The literal answer is Saturday night, as the Cavs are resting George Hill in the second preseason game, giving Collin Sexton the chance to run with most of the starters. 

    That's probably not the answer you were looking for, huh? Alright. 

    Things can change, of course. But all signs point to Hill starting at point guard on Opening Night, with Sexton coming off the bench and anchoring the second unit.

    The Cavaliers want to do this right with Sexton, who, they hope, is the organizational centerpiece for years to come. While impressive in camp and in his NBA debut Tuesday against Boston, he still has plenty to learn and much to work on.

    On Friday, head coach Tyronn Lue said it's important for Sexton to get a feel for playing with Kyle Korver and Jordan Clarkson, to build chemistry with the same group of players heading into the season. Korver and Clarkson are both reserves and that points to Sexton staying on the bench -- for now. 

    Lue also said this: 

    "I like Collin with any unit. But it's going to take some time for him to grow, understand the game and what we are looking for in different situations."

    Hill has that knowledge already. He's played in a variety of systems, against countless defenses. He gives the Cavs a reliable option, someone who can keep the seat warm and prevent the organization from putting too much on Sexton's plate too soon. Plus, each time Lue has been asked about specific standouts during camp, he quickly mentions Hill.

    With Sexton coming off the bench, he can still run the offense, but with much less pressure. Using him this way also allows him to go against backups, getting his feet wet early, before the Cavs feel he is ready for a bigger responsibility.

    Hey, @oglethor: It sure doesn't seem that way. But it all depends on how many players Lue wants to use in his rotation. In past years, he has always been most comfortable with a nine- or 10-man group.

    Early on, Lue's centers will be Larry Nance Jr. and Tristan Thompson. In this NBA era, there's not much room for another big -- unless a specific matchup calls for it or foul trouble occurs.

    Zizic impressed the coaching staff at the end of the regular season and will continue to work with assistant coach and player development aid Dan Geriot behind the scenes. But unless Lue expands his rotation or alters his decree of playing incredibly fast -- not ideal for Zizic -- it will be tough for him to get consistent playing time.

    These kinds of lineup decisions are good problems to have, especially for a team with playoff aspirations.

    Hey, @dana-tessone: I'm sure glad you phrased the question this way because too often people fail to view it in the same lens.

    So let's make you Lue, shall we?

    The players in a spot where David Nwaba can plug in are, in no particular order: Hill, Sexton, Rodney Hood, Cedi Osman, Korver and Clarkson. And, keep in mind, I didn't even include JR Smith, whose role is dubious.

    Hill is the starting point guard. Sexton is the leader of the bench bunch (this unit will probably need a clever nickname). Hood has been labeled as the most likely second scoring option. Osman appears penciled in as the starting small forward, ready to pounce on this bigger opportunity. Korver's 3-point shooting and gravity are both vital. Each time Korver is on the court, he demands the defense's attention, which helps free up his teammates. Clarkson worked with Lue three or four times during the summer on passing, reads, ball-handling and setting up defenders out of the pick and roll so he can take better, in-the-flow-of-the-offense shots or get looks for his teammates on the roll. He's motivated to atone for a dreadful postseason appearance. The Cavs will also need his scoring punch off the bench.

    So who gets bumped for Nwaba? You tell me. That question isn't easy to answer.

    All seven guys deserve playing time and there's an argument for each. The Cavs want to play Nwaba. He was one of the standouts of the preseason opener. They have been surprised with his shooting ability in camp. Over the summer, Lue had conversations with Lakers coaches Luke Walton and Brian Shaw, who were with Nwaba briefly in Los Angeles, and they both raved about his attitude, toughness and defense-first mentality.

    But numbers can get tricky. 

    Then again, Lue declared Nwaba part of his rotation and said, "you'll see" how he gets used following Friday's practice so it's time to find a place. 

    The most logical scenario is that Lue expands his rotation to fit the 25-year-old swingman or Nwaba cuts into Korver's minutes from time to time, especially in matchups against faster, more athletic teams where Korver has struggled in the past. It appears the three-guard look will be prominent this season.

    The other option is this: Perhaps the Cavs truly feel Nwaba can match up against opposing 4's, where Sam Dekker is the only true option there besides Kevin Love.

    Hey@RCR_HemricFan21: Preston, on a two-way deal, is bound for Canton. While he's a tantalizing talent, he's also incredibly raw and needs to season his game in an abundance of areas before he is ready for the NBA.

    Keep in mind, Preston is just 20 years old and played three games before leaving Bosnia and the ABA League with a shoulder injury. He admitted to being nervous ahead of his debut at the TD Garden. 

    Perhaps in another year, the Cavs would toss him out on the floor and have him learn that way. But they are trying to compete. They believe playoffs are possible, if not likely. The G League is the perfect place for him to learn while also getting consistent minutes, which is what's best.

    With a few weeks before the regular season starts, it looks like the 15th spot will come down to Isaiah Taylor or Kobi Simmons.

    Hey, @ClevelandKev13: It's hard to see them going this direction -- even if they are competitive. While it's true they could probably upgrade Dekker's backup power forward spot, the Cavs don't have many assets. If they become a "buyer" at the deadline they would most likely need to give up a draft pick or two or a young up-and-coming player on a team-friendly deal. That's what opposing general managers selling help-now pieces tend to want.

    The Cavs, given they could lose their 2019 first-round pick to Atlanta already, aren't in position to start emptying the cupboard even more. Quite the opposite actually. They need to acquire more selections for the long-term health of the organization and to position themselves for a possible splashy move.

    That's why any current talk of a Jimmy Butler trade is incredibly complicated. The Cavs don't have the assets. And they wouldn't trade Sexton for one guaranteed year of Butler. Nor should they. 

    The most likely deadline move is Korver being sent to a shooter-needy, championship-contending team for a future pick. This type of deal would also help clear up some of the backcourt logjam.

    If not Korver then Hill would make plenty of sense as a trade candidate. The Cavs could allow Hill to mentor Sexton for part of the season, just as Hill did with De'Aaron Fox in Sacramento, before putting the offense in Sexton's hands. Hill having only $1 million guaranteed on his contract next season could make him appealing. Same with Smith, who has just 3.8 million fully guaranteed for the 2019-20 season.

    None of these decisions need to happen now.

    Hey, @RealDCunningham: I will go with Thompson on this one. Did you see the Instagram videos of him working out this summer? We must take those seriously, right? Right?

    Hey, @moe_ratty: Yes I do. I am working on a large piece for the site about this. Without giving too much away, the Cavs don't have to make the compete/tank call right now. They can let it play out for a few months, see where they stand and re-evaluate their stance.

    Initially, it makes more sense to take advantage of the culture LeBron James helped build over the last few years and let their core youngsters grow in an environment where winning and competing matters -- unlike the previous post-LeBron era.

    The worst-case scenario is they fight for the playoffs, miss out and lose their first rounder. They know this. I don't believe they will let this happen. The picture should come into focus by January.


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    Rainstorms shouldn't spoil the Family Fishing Fest on Oct. 13 at the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation.

    CLEVELAND, OHIO -- The windy weather is expected to calm down quite a bit this weekend, but rain and thunderstorms are in the forecast. That shouldn't spoil the Family Fishing Fest on Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The ponds have been stocked with rainbow trout and more than 1,000 farm-raised catfish. Kids 15 and under can compete for prizes.

    Fishing is open to kids and adults. Some loaner fishing tackle is available. Live bait is provided. No registration is needed. The event is sponsored by the Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders, Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Cleveland Metroparks.

    CENTRAL LAKE ERIE 

    The big steelhead trout runs up the Northeast Ohio rivers have not fired up just yet, so anglers are targeting trout staging at the mouths of the rivers and streams and along nearby shorelines. In the Cleveland area, the rocky shoreline piers at Edgewater, East 55th Street, East 72nd Street and Wildwood Park are top spots for steelhead during the day and walleye after dark. To the east, trout and walleye are being caught from the breakwalls at the mouth of the Grand River, and from the Conneaut Harbor area.

    The top lures for casting from shore for steelhead trout are heavier casting spoons and in-line spinners, and suspending a jig tipped with maggots or minnows under a float. Walleye fishermen are casting crankbaits after dark, and lipless rattle baits, such as the Ret-L-Trap.

    The best spots to troll for walleye are in deeper 72 to 74 foot depths off Edgewater Park and Fairport Harbor, and north of Conneaut. Diving planers pulling small to medium-sized spoons are still working, but crankbaits and nightcrawler harnesses are again in play.

    Some yellow perch have been reported caught in 45 to 50 feet of water northwest of Fairport Harbor and in 70 feet of water off Conneaut. 

    WESTERN LAKE ERIE 

    It's not exactly Western Lake Erie, but the best walleye fishing has western lake anglers scampering east to troll diving planers and spoons in the Lorain and Huron areas, where walleye are schooling in about 40 to 50 feet of water. Some walleye are being caught in 15 to 20 feet of water by drift-and-cast anglers on the east and southeast sides of Kelleys Island, Gull Island Shoal and Kelleys Island Shoal. They're targeting reefs, rock piles and drop-offs with small mayfly spinner rigs and nightcrawlers and weight-forward spinners and nightcrawlers.

    The yellow perch fishing has been a bit slow after too much wind in recent days. The best areas seem to be on the fringes of the Camp Perry Firing Range, where H Can and G Can have been giving up a few jumbos. Some perch are being caught off Lucy's Point off Middle Bass Island.

    The channel catfish are biting with a vengeance all around Sandusky Bay, and largemouth bass are being caught in East and West harbors, and Sandusky Bay. 

    INLAND LAKES, RESERVOIRS

    Cleveland area anglers won't have to go far for a quality fishing experience. Beyer's Pond in Middleburg Heights was stocked recently with more than 700 largemouth bass, panfish and channel catfish for a family fishing event, and lots are still swimming around. The rainbow trout and channel catfish being released in the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation ponds will also provide good fall fishing in the weeks to come.

    FLY FISHING COMEDIAN AT CMNH ON OCT. 20

    The Trout Club of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is featuring an evening with fly fishing comedian Hank Parker on Oct. 20 from 6-9 p.m. This will be the world premier of his latest movie, Hank Patterson's Alaskan Adventure. There will be food and refreshments and a half-dozen seminar tables, each with four consecutive 15-minute seminars on local fishing. To snag a $20 ticket, go to cmnh.org and search for the Trout Club. 


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    Carlos Carrasco, the Indians' 17-game winner, starts Game 2 of the ALDS on Saturday at 4:37 p.m. at Minute Maid Park. Watch video

    HOUSTON - This version of the ALDS is not a series in which there will be much talk about "openers" when it comes to pitching. The Indians and Astros have the two best starting rotations in the league, pitchers with the reputations of working deep into games, so an opener probably won't be needed.

    It was the case in Game 1 on Friday when Corey Kluber faced Houston's Justin Verlander and the situation will be the same in Game 2 Saturday when the Indians will start Carlos Carrasco against Gerrit Cole.

    Carrasco (17-10, 3.38) will be making the second appearance of his postseason career. Last year he threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALDS. The Indians lost that game, 1-0.

    Cole (15-5, 2.88), acquired from the Pirates before the start of the season, will be making his fourth postseason start. He started the Pirates' 2015 wild-card game against the Cubs. In 2013, he made two starts in the NLDS for Pittsburgh against St. Louis.

    Carrasco has a good array of pitches, relying mostly on a four-seam fastball that's slightly above the MLB average at 93.6 mph. His pitch breakdown, according to Fangraphs.com, is 52.8 percent fastballs, 18.7 percent sliders, 16.5 percent changeups and 12 percent curveballs. His changeup can be a wipeout pitch.

    In his last seven appearances, including six starts, Carrasco went 2-3 with a 2.80 ERA. He struck out 64 in 45 innings.

    The Astros are hitting .283 (15-for-53) with three homers and seven RBI against Carrasco this season in two starts. Jose Altuve leads the way with a .714 (5-for-7) batting average with one homer and two RBI.

    Cole throws harder than Carrasco. His four-seam fastball, according to Statcast.com, averages 96.5 mph. The breakdown of his pitches, according to fangraphs.com, is 56.3 percent fastballs, 19.9 percent slider, 19.9 percent curveballs and 4.5 percent changeups.

    In his last seven appearances this year, Cole went 4-0 with a 3.57 ERA. The Indians are hitting .185 (5-for-27) against Cole in one start this season.

    Carrasco went on the disabled list on June 16 after being hit on the right elbow by a Joe Mauer line drive. He returned on July 6 and went 7-1 in his next nine starts.

    "Carlos has always been good, but it seemed like his ERA probably dropped a full point after he came off the DL," said manager Terry Francona. "He's been good the last three months."

    Cole went 10-2 with a 2.52 ERA in the first half and 5-3 with a 3.50 ERA in the second half. He struck out 272 batters, second in the AL to teammate Justin Verlander's 290. He also held left-handed hitters to a .162 (56-for-346) batting average.

    "Gerrit was a perfect fit for us," said Houston manager A.J. Hinch, "and certainly one of the best additions imaginable for our team. I'm just so impressed with how he goes about it. ... He has the mind of someone who wants to be perfect with his pitches."


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    Chubb rushed for 105 yards on just three carries on Sunday in Oakland.

    BEREA, Ohio -- John Dorsey's first draft class with the Browns continues to haul in the weekly honors. Running back Nick Chubb won the Pepsi Rookie of the Week award this week, making three Browns players in four weeks to win the award.

    Cornerback Denzel Ward took home the honors in Week 1 and quarterback Baker Mayfield won it in Week 3.

    Chubb carried the ball three times for 105 yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders.

    "When a guy is averaging 50 yards a carry, you better keep giving it to him," offensive coordinator Todd Haley joked this week when he was asked about getting Chubb more work. Head coach Hue Jackson said they need to get him more carries.

    The other players up for the award were Houston's Keke Coutee (11 catches, 109 yards), Patriots running back Sony Michel (25 carries, 112 yards, TD), Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (54 receiving yards, two touchdowns) and Chargers safety Derwin James (seven tackles, sack).


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    It should be a warm afternoon Saturday in Columbus as Ohio State takes on Indiana.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- As the Ohio State Buckeyes look to stay hot this season, they'll be playing football in some warm temperatures on Saturday afternoon.

    No. 3 Ohio State vs. Indiana, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, 4 p.m.

    When the Buckeyes and Hoosiers kick off at Ohio Stadium, according to the National Weather Service in Columbus, the temperature should hover around 86 degrees. Rain chances are low at 15 percent or less throughout the game.

    By the time the game ends, the temperature should be around 80 degrees.

    For those tailgating, the temperature should be 66 degrees at 8 a.m. will quickly rise. The highest chance for rain is in the 2 o'clock hour at 17 percent.


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    Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe talk about how to beat the Ravens. Watch video

    BEREA, Ohio -- The Browns are seeking their first AFC North win since October 11, 2015 when they face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium. Their last division win was an overtime thriller against the Ravens in Baltimore.

    How do the Browns finally get that elusive division win? Mary Kay Cabot and I talked about what they need to do on Sunday afternoon in the video above.


    Get the best Browns news and perspective in your inbox at lunch time every weekday. Sign up for our Browns newsletter.


    Go inside the Browns every week with cleveland.com's Orange and Brown Podcast, featuring Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe. Listen and subscribe here.


    Want more Browns? Subscribe to our Browns YouTube channel for interviews, analysis and more.


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    So, say goodbye to the Challengers and hello to the Triceratops, a clever riff on the school's ubiquitous nickname, Tri-C. The name was chosen by students, staff and alumni who voted in an online poll last month.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cuyahoga Community College has a new mascot and it's dino-mite.

    So, say goodbye to the Challengers and hello to the Triceratops, a clever riff on the school's ubiquitous nickname, Tri-C. The name was chosen by students, staff and alumni in an online poll last month.

    "With 'Tri-C' built into its name, Triceratops seems ideally suited to represent the College," the announcement said. "The stout and imposing dinosaur serves as a formidable yet like likable creature that will be unique among school mascots."

    The college is working with a design firm on the logo and branding, which will be revealed in December. Triceratops beat out the current name, Challengers, as well as Blizzard, Coyotes, Jazz and Tridents in the poll which attracted more than 4,000 votes.

    When the poll was announced, Tri-C said the new nickname, which will be used by its athletic teams, will allow the college to "unify its color palette and to offer a character around which students and staff can rally" and "create new marketing and recruitment possibilities."

    Because how can you not root for a sports team with a dinosaur logo?


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    Corey Kluber and the Indians were no match for Justin Verlander and Houston in the first game of the ALDS on Friday at Minute Maid Park.

    HOUSTON - Last year the Indians went the distance in the ALDS before going home for the winter. They may not make it that far this time around.

    The Astros buried Corey Kluber and the Indians under the weight of four home runs and 12 hits, while Justin Verlander held them hitless for five innings, in a 7-2 victory on Friday in Game 1 of the ALDS at Minute Maid Park.

    This does not bode well for the Tribe. Since the Division Series went to a 2-2-1 format, the team that has won the first game of the best-of-five series has advanced to the League Championship Series 75 percent of the time.

    Of course, there are exceptions. Last year the Indians won the first two games of the ALDS against the Yankees and still managed to lose the series.

    There were no hits through the first three innings, but Alex Bregman changed that in a hurry. He started the fourth by hitting a 2-1 pitch from Kluber over the wall in left. The ball left Bregman's bat at 107.1 mph, according to Statcast.

    The Astros made it 2-0 as Yuli Gurriel followed Bregman's homer with a walk and came around to score on two-out singles by Tyler White and Josh Reddick. Kluber came out for the fifth, but it was clear he was laboring after facing seven batters in the fourth.

    George Springer sent a 3-2 cut fastball over the left center wall to open the inning. Jose Altuve followed with another homer two pitches later. In the span of 10 batters, Kluber allowed four runs and five hits, with three home runs.

    The next two Astros went down on ground outs, but when Marwin Gonzalez singled, Kluber was done for the day. He allowed four runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

    "The fourth inning was a really tough inning," said manager Terry Francona. "I think they made him throw 33 to 35 pitches. It just seemed that when he left his two-seam fastball up, they made him pay. I think they did that with the whole staff."

    The homer has proved troublesome for Kluber at this stage of his career. He allowed a career-high 25 during the regular season. In nine postseason starts, covering 45 1/3 innings, he's allowed 10. Nine have come in Kluber's last four postseason starts - four against the Yankees last year and three on Friday.

    "Last year has nothing to do with this year," said Francona, regarding Kluber's performance in the ALDS. "They're a good team. He made a couple of mistakes. They made him pay for it."

    The Indians finally managed to reach Verlander in the sixth. Yan Gomes opened the inning with a single. It was the Indians' first hit of the game and just their second baserunner.

    Verlander struck out Jason Kipnis in a nine-pitch at-bat, but Francisco Lindor singled and Michael Brantley walked to load the bases. Ryan Pressley relieved and threw a wild pitch to score Gomes as Lindor and Brantley advanced. Jose Ramirez delivered Lindor with a weak ground ball to first to make it 4-2. Pressly ended the inning by striking out Edwin Encarnacion with Brantley on third.

    The 35-year-old Verlander has found a second career with the Astros. Since the Tigers traded him in August of 2017, he's 26-10 with Houston, including the postseason. Verlander allowed two runs on two hits in 5 1/3 innings on Friday.

    The win gave Verlander a 7-0 record in the ALDS, tying John Smoltz and Andy Pettitte for MLB record.

    "I've always enjoyed the moment," said Verlander, referring to the postseason. "I think it's something you don't take for granted. The more I've been in the playoffs, the more I understand how important it is."

    Houston, the defending World Series champion, took swift action after the Tribe's mini rally.

    After Cody Allen relieved Cimber to end the sixth, he came out for the seventh and promptly allowed a leadoff homer to No. 9 hitter Martin Maldonado. Springer, who has homered in five straight postseason games, followed with a bloop single over Jose Ramirez in shallow right.

    Trevor Bauer relieved. He retired Altuve on a grounder to third as Springer moved to second. Bregman followed with a single to left. Michael Brantley made a strong throw toward the plate, but Josh Donaldson cut the ball off. Bregman was tagged out in the ensuing rundown, but Springer scored for a 6-2 lead.

    Reddick made it 7-2 with a single off Dan Otero in the eighth.

    Verlander and three relievers held the Indians to two runs on three hits. They didn't even drive in a run.

    What it means

    How different are the regular season and the postseason? This season Kluber faced the Astros twice, going 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA. He struck out 17, didn't walk a batter and allowed two earned runs in 13 1/3 innings.

    In Game 1 of the ALDS, he struggled. Kluber hit two batters as well. In 215 innings during the regular season, he hit three batters.

    The pitches

    Kluber threw 87 pitches, 53 (61 percent) for strikes. Verlander threw 102 pitches, 70 (69 percent) for strikes.

    Thanks for coming

    The Indians and Astros drew a sellout crowd of 43,514 to Minute Maid Park. First pitch was at 2:07 p.m. with a temperature of 73 degrees inside and 89 degrees outside.

    Next

    Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (17-10, 3.38) will face Houston right-hander Gerrit Cole (15-5, 2.88) on Saturday in Game 2 of the ALDS at 4:37 p.m. TBS, WTAM and WMMS will carry the game.


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    But before any deal would be struck, Love wanted an answer from general manager Koby Altman and owner Dan Gilbert. Watch video

    INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Kevin Love wanted to stay in Cleveland. The Cavs wanted him here.

    But before any deal would be struck, Love wanted an answer from general manager Koby Altman and owner Dan Gilbert.

    It wasn't about the length of a potential contract. Nor was it about money. It was a simple question: Which direction are the Cavs heading?

    "The only thing I didn't want was I didn't want to be a team that was going to tank or be not competitive," Love said, recalling those conversations on Friday. "I've been a part of that for a couple of years (in Minnesota) and then we started to build something. I wanted this to be a building year and still be competitive. That was my only holdup about the whole thing. They had told me they didn't want to take a huge step back.

    "I mean, obviously losing LeBron (James) you know what is going to happen with that, but I wanted to be part of something where we could continue to strive for all these banners up here and build something for the next several years."

    The Cavs, better prepared for James' potential departure this time, studied around 10 other franchises that faced a similar crossroads and chose to compete for a playoff spot. They also looked at teams that opted for the darker path, throwing in the towel and playing the long game.

    That's what the Cavs did in the 2010-11 season. It gave them a pretty good reference.

    Back then, the Cavs had plenty of luck. They celebrated lottery wins like championships, winning three No. 1 picks. They had two others in the top 5. And yet, despite the ping-pong balls bouncing their way repeatedly and building around All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, they couldn't climb out of the Eastern Conference basement.

    Other tanking teams suffered the same fate. Some still haven't found the light.

    After internal conversations, the Cavs decided quickly that they had no desire to tank. The roster wasn't nearly as hideous as the first time when James left, so it would've taken drastic moves to sink to the bottom. They wanted to capitalize on the already-established culture while also developing the young talent that will help the Cavs play a faster, movement-based style on offense.

    Why move on from All-Star forward Love? Wouldn't the end goal be acquiring another star anyway?

    The Cavs recognized they had that guy in the building already. And most importantly, he wanted to commit to the city, to the franchise. That was meaningful.

    "It got done relatively fast," Love said of the negotiations. "I don't know the number of days, but between my agent, Koby and Dan and me just having constant conversations with my agent it didn't seem to be that long."

    And just like that, Love signed on the dotted line, announced his four-year, $120 million contract extension and turned down a chance to be part of the star-studded free agent class in the summer of 2019. With that contract, he also turned down an opportunity to play for a team that's much closer to winning a title.

    According to him, he didn't ask for more money. He didn't even alter the terms of the deal.

    "They knew I wanted to be back and think they obviously wanted me back," Love said. "So I don't think it ever came to a point where I said, 'That's just not going to work.'"

    It's been a few months since then and Love doesn't have any regrets. He seems more comfortable than ever. He believes in this team, has taken on more of a leadership role and is eager to help the Cavaliers do something that no team has done in the first year without LeBron: make the playoffs.

    "I'm in my 11th year right now and I've seen most things, done most things so I feel like I can take that knowledge I have from playing in this league a long time and some of the veterans that we have that were so big in 2016 and take some of the young guys and bring them along," said Love, who stood in front of a gigantic locker that used to belong to James in the TD Garden following the preseason opener Tuesday. "It's a new chapter for us and a breath of fresh air. We're on the right track so far."


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    Once again, Corey Kluber had a major letdown in the postseason. And the Cleveland Indians are in trouble.

    HOUSTON -- For the Indians, here's the problem . . .

    The team can make a bold move to add three-time All-Star Josh Donaldson to the roster in September.

    They can trade for All-Star closer Brad Hand at midseason.

    They can put Trevor Bauer in the bullpen, the "wild card" as Manager Terry Francona called it.

    But if Corey Kluber is going to pitch like this . .  .

    That's what I was thinking as Kluber left the mound, head down and a blank stare on his face. He was shelled for four runs, including three solo homers, in 4 2/3 innings.

    If Kluber can't be Kluber, the Indians are in huge trouble in this best-of-five American League Division Series.

    That's the painful lesson from the Indians' 7-2 loss to Houston in Friday's opener.

    In the first six games of his post-season career (all in 2016), Kluber was 4-1 with an 0.89 ERA.

    Starting with Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, Kluber is 0-2 with a 10.20 ERA in four starts. He's been pounded for nine homers in 15 innings. Those numbers came from Jayson Stark of the The Athletic.

    WHAT'S WITH KLUBER?

    But the hard, cold stats don't reveal the impact of Kluber's collapse has on the team in a short-series. When your 20-game winner gives up four runs so quickly in a game of this magnitude, it's discouraging for the entire team.

    The Indians were behind 4-0 in the fifth inning.

    The Astros are the defending World Series champs. They had a 103-59 record this season, second best in the Majors.

    To ambush them, the Indians needed Kluber to put zeros up on the scoreboard.

    But he looked like the same Kluber who was knocked around twice by the Yankees in the 2017 ALDS.

    His fastball wasn't much above 91 mph. He was throwing a lot of breaking pitches, trying to hit the corners.

    Kluber's velocity was down a bit in September, in the 90-mph range. 

    Before the game, Manager Terry Francona said, "I look more at movement. It could be 91, but look like 100 mph."

    But Kluber's pitches were flat. He seemed to throwing more sidearm than normal.

    In the second inning, he hit two batters. All season, Kluber hit only three batters.

    Something was wrong. During the All-Star break, he took an injection in his knee to deal with some inflammation.

    He's supposed be healthy. Francona said as much after the game.

    As for the post-season struggles, Francona said, "That was last year, it had nothing to do with today."

    I don't have any answers for Kluber's highly questionable performance.

    I just know he wasn't the same confident Kluber who has been so steely strong for the Tribe for so long.

    "I made some mistakes to the wrong guys," said Kluber.

    A couple of times, he mentioned making a few bad pitches.

    "I don't want to beat a dead horse, but that was it," he said.

    As usual, a "dead horse" reference tends to end most interviews.

    DEALING WITH PRESSURE

    Houston starter Justin Verlander came into the game knowing the Indians have tormented him over the years.

    The future Hall of Famer had a 2-8 record and 5.76 ERA against the Tribe in the previous four years.

    "He circled this date on his calendar," Houston Manager A.J. Hinch said Thursday.

    Verlander wanted to pitch the opener against the Tribe because he longed to change his personal history.

    Verlander opened with five hitless innings. By the time he took the mound in the sixth, Houston had a 4-0 lead.

    Verlander got only one more out, but gave his team what it needed -- five dominating innings.

    Then the Astros bullpen went to work.

    If Kluber had been better, I'd be dwelling more on how the Tribe hitters looked so overwhelmed. They had only three hits and never put any pressure on Houston.

    But the story of the day was Kluber, and it was a depressing one.


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    We take a look at TBS' broadcast of Game 1 of the American League Division Series between the Cleveland Indians and the Houston Astros.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - The storyline for Game 1 of the American League Division Series between the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros clearly surrounded the starting pitching: Aces Corey Kluber (20-7) vs. Justin Verlander (16-9). The two had combined for more than 500 strikeouts this season.

    In-game

    TBS has the series, with Don Orsillo (play by play), Dennis Eckersley (analyst) and Hazel Mae (field reporter).

    Overall

    Pretty low key and serious with little banter or fill-the-time, yuck-yuck moments from Orsillo and Eckersley. Knowing that Eckersley is a former pitcher, you can expect his focus to be on the mound. But overall, the broadcast was devoid of overt bias.

    Shots and stats

    * Early on, we learn Astros pitchers accounted for 1,687 strikeouts this season, a MLB record. They got 10 Friday in the 7-2 win.

    * On the second-inning challenge, cameras showed six replays of Kluber's pitch to Marwin Gonzalez. After both announcers saying no way was he hit, they changed their tune on the fourth angle as the ball was shown grazing Gonzalez' jersey. They were quick to come up with this stat, though: Kluber hit only three batters all year. That became even more salient when, in the same inning, he plunked Josh Reddick.

    alds stat cast.JPGStatcast quickly breaks down tendencies, speeds and distances. It wasn't overused Friday. 

    * Statcast continues to break down percentages, speeds and distances to further degrees. A player's hitting tendencies across the field show why managers put shifts on.

    * In the bottom of the fourth, a trio of Hall of Famers was shown in the stands: Former Astros Craig Biggio, Nolan Ryan and Jeff Bagwell.

    * Also in the fourth, cameras caught a sign in the stands: "Reddick-ulous." We also saw more than a few giant foam-rubber cowboy hats. C'mon, Houston you can do better.

    Dennis Eckersley No-HitterDennis Eckersley after pitching a no-hitter in 1977. 

    Eckersley's eyes

    Eckersley, who as a former hurler is quick in identifying pitches, alternates between keen observations and obvious points. Eckersley spent the first three of his 24 big-league seasons in Cleveland. He won 40 games in 1975-77.

    He notes Michael Brantley has "quiet hands" - often applied to a deft catcher but in this case meaning a batter who can keep his wrists steady at the plate and limit movement. To casual fans, a quick explainer is helpful.

    "If you can play shortstop you can play anywhere." It's called the Little League rule, Dennis.

    On Verlander early in the game: "You talk about conviction with a curveball." True. Verlander was on his game, taking a no-hitter into the sixth.

    He was quick to note Yan Gomes had a good block on a Trevor Bauer pitch in the seventh against Gonzalez. But when Gomes smacked the Indians' first hit of the game in the sixth inning Eckersley remarked: "Here we go, here we go." Which is more of a fan comment than an analytical observation.

    George Springer, Yonder AlonsoTBS is broadcasting the ALDS series between the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros.

    Bench time

    As the top of the fifth inning began, the announcers noted that Verlander had sat for 20 minutes during the bottom of the fourth. He wound up lasting five and a third.

    On Osuna

    Kudos to Orsillo, who didn't shy from talking about the controversy surrounding the Astros signing Roberto Osuna. Orsuna, who entered the game in the top of the ninth, had been arrested on an assault charge when he was with Toronto this season. (Orsillo also noted the pitcher was teammates with Josh Donaldson, who he faced with two outs in the ninth inning, when both played for the Blue Jays.)

    Obvious statement du jour

    "This is not what the Indians wanted today from Kluber." - Orsillo.

    Quotes of the game

    * "He's just not sharp. He's trying to paint ... Usually he attacks the zone. That's what he does. Just a little off. ... To me he's just trying to paint, he's not real confident in his stuff." - Eckersley on Kluber, in the bottom of the fourth, after Alex Bregman homered.

    * "This is a strange place" - Eckersley, moments before first pitch, about the nuances and nooks of Minute Maid Park. But they really didn't elaborate much.

    * "It's been 17 seasons without a repeat World Series champion." - Orsillo. (Houston defeated Los Angeles, 4 games to 3, in the 2017 series.)

    * "Used to be so easy watching a game, a catcher with nobody on would give signs, and I know what they're throwing. Now it's terrible. I don't know what they're throwing. He's giving him five signs. Things have changed today, haven't they?" - Eckersley in the eighth with Gomes up and Houston catcher Martin Maldonado flashing multiple signs to Astros reliever Lance McCullers Jr.

    Next up

    Game 2 is 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at Minute Park.

    For Game 3 in Cleveland on Monday, Oct. 8, the Indians announced several pregame festivities.

    Editor's note: When the Indians are on the road during the postseason, we'll analyze the national broadcast, from the observations, play-by-play and graphics, from what's missed to what's overdone. Weigh in with your comments if you love or hate the broadcast and why.


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    The Indians spent the month of September prepping for their ALDS meeting with Houston. Judging from the results of Game 1 on Friday, they may have been wasting their time. Watch video

    HOUSTON - It's hard to imagine a team playing worse than the Indians did on Friday in the Game 1 of the ALDS against Houston.

    Twenty-game winner Corey Kluber allowed three homers and didn't make it through the fifth inning. The offense managed three hits against Justin Verlander and the Astros' bullpen. Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez gave a sneak peek at what they did last year in the ALDS against the Yankees. If you remember, they were a combined 4-for-38.

    Cody Allen allowed another home run at the wrong time. And Trevor Bauer, who was going to be a weapon in leverage situations, was used in the seventh inning just to get some work.

    What the Indians looked like in losing 7-2 to the Astros is what they looked like for large stretches of the season. The difference being that they weren't playing the rebuilding Tigers, White Sox or Royals. The team in the other dugout was the defending World Series champion and they played like it.

    The Indians are down 0-1 in best-of-five series. If Carlos Carrasco doesn't pitch better Saturday than Kluber did Friday, and his teammates don't raise their level of play against Gerrit Cole, the Indians are going to be bounced from the postseason quicker than they were last year.

    This team was supposedly geared toward Friday's postseason opener. They worked all month with that goal in mind. They rested players and concentrated on getting the injured healthy. Josh Donaldson was worked into the lineup at third base, while Ramirez and Jason Kipnis adjusted to their new positions at second and center field. Kluber was skipped a start and positioned so he could start Game 1 on the proper amount of rest. Starters Bauer and Shane Bieber were put in the bullpen to give the Indians protection.

    But all those plans didn't mean much on Friday because the Astros kept hitting the ball out of the park. Alex Bregman, George Springer and Jose Altuve took Kluber deep. The three homers came in a span of three outs and 10 batters.

    "I happened to make mistakes to the wrong guys in the wrong spot," said Kluber.

    Kluber is 0-2 with a 10.63 ERA (13 earned runs in 11 innings) in his last three postseason starts. He's allowed 16 hits, including seven homers, with five walks.

    "I don't think they're related," said Kluber. "I think every start, whether it's in a good string of starts or in a bad string or starts, is individual to itself. I said on Thursday, good or bad, I don't dwell on the last outing very long. I put my head down and get to work to get ready for the next one."

    When a team doesn't hit, when they don't get on base, they look lifeless. The Indians looked like they had no pulse on Friday.

    Kipnis said sometimes looks are deceiving.

    "The want to is there. The drive is there, but I think we need to relax a little and have some fun," said Kipnis. "I think we're just trying too hard. Baseball is about having fun."

    Edwin Encarnacion said the same thing. Asked if this team felt a sense of urgency after losing the first game, Encarnacion said, "We don't think like that. This was the first game. It's in the past. Now we'll show up and focus on tomorrow's game.

    "We just need to focus on every pitch and keep it simple. Don't try to do too much."

    Lindor had one of the Tribe's three hits and scored its final run. He went 1-for-4. Ramirez brought Lindor home with a groundout to first. He went 0-for-3 with a walk. They are off to a 1-for-7 start in the ALDS.

    The Tribe's offense is built around Lindor and Ramirez and if they don't hit and get on base at the top of the order, things stagnate. Ramirez ended the season hitting .203 (37-for-182) from Aug. 2 through the end of the season. Lindor hit .233 in September (27-for-116). So if this trend continues, it shouldn't come as a big surprise.

    Lindor was asked if he was worried about losing the first game of a series.

    "The Yankees were down 0-2 against us," he said. "They came back and beat us. The Cubs were down 1-3 (2016 World Series). They came back and beat us. I know how it feels going up and losing a series.

    "One game is one game. At the end of the day, we have go out and play our best whether we're up 2-0 or down 0-2. We have to play the game the right way, no matter what the series is like."

    Indians fans probably cringed when Lindor used his own team's failures as an example that postseason comebacks are possible. But facts are facts. So is this - if the Indians don't play better than they did Friday, this is going to be a short ALDS.


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    Kevin Stenlund snapped a tie early in the third period to help the Monsters move to victory.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -  The Cleveland Monsters seek plenty of veteran help throughout the season as one of the youngest teams in the American Hockey League.

    Kevin Stenlund, a 2015 second-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, provided some leadership early.

    Stenlund's goal early in the third period snapped a tie and made the difference in the Monsters' 4-1 victory over the Rockford IceHogs in the season opener on Saturday at The Q.

    The victory avenged last season's opening shutout loss to the IceHogs.

    Stenlund, 22, played seven games with the Monsters last season.

    "I hope to be one of the leaders but there's a lot of leaders on this team," Stenlund said. "There's plenty of older guys. I'm getting there [older] but we have plenty of leadership."

    The Monsters struggled last season in the American Hockey League. They finished last in scoring average (2.5 goals per game) and had only 25 wins, two seasons after winning the Calder Cup. But Coach John Madden won't use youth as an excuse for success.

    "We want to be competitive," Madden said. "We want to make the playoffs. We want to be a team that's hard to play against. We want to have a good goals against average. Overall, we want to be a team that's hard to score against."

    Monsters Goalie Jean-Francois Berube allowed only one goal and collected 24 saves.

    How they scored: Rockford scored first at 17:11 in the first period on a goal by left wing Matt Highmore with assists by Victor Ejdsell and Luc Snuggerud.

    The Monsters tied the score at 1-1 when Eric Robinson knocked in a goal at 1:58 in the second period. Zac Dalpe earned the assist.

    Stenlund snapped the tie when he slapped the puck just past goalie Kevin Lankinen's high glove side at 16:34 in the third.

    Vitaly Abramov scored on a nice give-and-go from the right side for a 3-1 lead at 15:14 in the third period.

    Justin Scott got in some golf time when he hit the puck, from the near the Monsters goal, and it slid and rolled into the empty net for the final score.

    They said it: "He has a laser. So when he gets it away, it's hard and accurate." - coach Madden on Stenlund's goal.

    The other side: Rockford goalie Kevin Lankinen had 18 saves. 

    Change of pace: The Monsters moved to the AHL's Eastern Conference North Division after playing in the Western Conference Central Division last season.

    Next game: The Monsters will host the IceHogs 1 p.m. Saturday at The Q.


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