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- 10/06/18--16:40: Akron Zips can't contain Miami in a MAC opening setback, 41-17
- 10/06/18--18:37: No. 3 Ohio State football pulls away from Indiana in 49-26 win
- 10/06/18--18:14: How TBS did with ALDS Game 2 Indians-Astros broadcast
- 10/06/18--19:25: Why Urban Meyer dropped to a knee on the sideline against Indiana
Mayfield will face a Ravens D that is 15-5 against rookie QBs since 2008, including 7-0 against Browns rookies. Watch video
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale tried a little gamesmanship this week when he described Baker Mayfield as 'this generation's John Elway or Brett Favre,' but coach Hue Jackson saw right through it.
"Tell Don, 'Thank you,' but I'm not buying that,'' said Jackson. "Don is a good man. I've known Don for a long time. Tell him that he's not buttering us up that way. That doesn't work.''
Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley didn't exactly get choked up by the high praise either.
"He's carving a bust,'' Haley said to laughter. "I'll hold my stance. I'm excited about a lot of the things that he is doing. Like I said, this week will be a real test. We'll know a lot more come Sunday evening."
Jackson and Haley, who have spent large chunks of their NFL career in the AFC North, know exactly what Mayfield is facing on Sunday when the 3-1 Ravens come to town. They not only boast the league's No. 2 overall defense and haven't give up a second-half TD this season, franchise history says they consume rookie quarterbacks as an afternoon snack.
"We're playing one of the best defenses in football, probably the best that we will have had played all year,'' said Jackson. "So, I'm sure they're a very confident group about playing a rookie quarterback. Here, [Mayfield] is just going into his second start. We're going to find out about who we are and what we are this weekend.''
Under coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 15-5 against rookie quarterbacks since 2008. That's second only to the Steelers, who are 17-3, according to ESPN Stats and Info. They've recorded the NFL's best passer rating against rookies in that span (59.6) and the most interceptions (27).
"It's not out of the realm that he could have success against us,'' safety Eric Weddle told espn.com. "But if we go out and play solid defense, do our job and play the way we play, then yeah, it should be hard on a rookie quarterback. That's why they're rookies."
Mayfield, who will make his first start at home and lost his starting debut 45-42 in OT to the Raiders last week, knows that the Ravens are gunning for him. But he's never backed down from a challenge.
"I expect Baltimore to kind of do what they're good at,'' he said. "Baltimore has obviously been historically a great defensive franchise. They trust what they are good at, and they're going to run it. They're playing well right now. I expect them to continue to do what they are good at and also throw a couple of wrinkles in there for me.
"We'll have to see that on the fly, but if we do our job and we see our keys, they can't throw anything that we haven't seen. We just have to be prepared and just do our job."
Not only are the Ravens great against rookie quarterbacks, they've been particularly dominant against the Browns. Since 2008, Harbaugh -- 18-2 against Cleveland overall -- has gone 7-0 against five Browns rookies: Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden, Connor Shaw, Cody Kessler and DeShone Kizer.
Only Weeden (0-2) produced more than 10 points in those games, and only one -- Kessler -- posted a rating higher than 59.8. Kessler's was 92.6 in a 28-7 loss.
But none of those were the draft's No. 1 pick with the talent, moxie and skillset of Mayfield.
"With a rookie quarterback going against kind of a veteran defense, you want to confuse, do different stuff, but Baker is a little different," safety Tony Jefferson said. "I'm not being biased because he's from Oklahoma, but he does have that effect on defenses, where he's not afraid to throw the ball in there. He'll fire it in there. He's not really hesitant, so we're preparing for him like we do with any other quarterback."
Linebacker Terrell Suggs, who will go against rookie left tackle Desmond Harrison and try to add to his 18 career sacks against Cleveland, indicated the Browns have found their franchise QB.
"I like him. I like his swag, his edginess,'' he said. "As a fellow competitor, you have to respect that. I like his game and his fieriness - if that's a word."
Does that make him want to take him down even more?
"No, no. That's nothing,'' he said. "This is the NFL - a lot of guys have swag. I think it just adds to the game and makes our game better. I think it's good for them and their city. It's no added influence for me."
Mayfield, who had nine of his passes dropped last week and committed four turnovers, described the Ravens linebackers as "athletic. Talented. You see guys that want to intimidate you.
"The Ravens defense is known for being physical and trying to out-physical the other team and set the tone for the whole game. On top of that, they can run. They have guys that can do it all. It is going to be a good matchup for us."
As for Suggs, Mayfield knows what he's up against.
"He's obviously had a very, very high level of play and consistent for a long time," Mayfield said. "He's a very good player. Like I said about (safety Eric) Weddle (interception in the last four games vs. Cleveland), I have to have my eyes on 55, too. Just have my keys, know where they are and do my job."
The numbers for the Ravens' D against rookies are daunting. According to ESPN Stats and Info, of the 20 they've faced since 2008, 13 have passed for fewer than 200 yards, nine have completed fewer than 50 percent of their passes, eight have thrown at least two picks and only one has thrown more than one TD. They've also been sacked 52 times.
Haley spent the past six years facing the Ravens with Ben Roethlisberger in the driver's seat. He knows what Mayfield is in for.
"They're still the heart of that team, starting with No. 55 Suggs, who's a tremendous, tremendous player and has been for a very long time, somebody that has my full respect,'' said Haley. "They're well coached. Weddle, he's a heck of a player. He's a pain in the butt because he's extremely smart and is able to camouflage a lot of looks and create issues that really shouldn't be issues.
"This will be a big test for us. We have a chance to be pretty good offensively, if we can clean up some of the mental side of it. I'm interested to see how it goes on Sunday."
The Cleveland Indians are one game away from elimination in the first round of the playoffs.
HOUSTON - In many ways, it's been sad to watch the Indians as they lost their first two games to the Houston Astros.
It's more than the Tribe being down 0-2 in the best-of-5 American League Division Series.
The defending World Champion Astros stifled the Tribe, 3-1, Saturday.
A big part of the story is Houston starting pitchers Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander. They combined to hold the Tribe to a pair of runs in 12-1/3 innings while striking out 19 hitters.
Cleveland hitters have been nearly helpless. They also were facing two of the best starters in all of baseball.
But there was a sense of doom about them.
I thought of that in the eighth inning. The Tribe had a runner on first base. Jason Kipnis had worked the count to 3-0 against Ryan Pressly.
Three pitches later, Kipnis struck out.
Three at bats and Kipnis didn't even hit a fair ball on this Saturday afternoon.
In the World Series season of 2016, he was a force at the bat and respectable at second base. Now, he looks lost at the plate.
Being realistic, Houston is the far superior team to the Tribe. The Astros had a 103-59 record. They played the first two games at home backed by lights-out, shut-'em-down starters in Cole and Verlander.
The Indians managed just three hits in each game, striking out 24 times.
This is the same Tribe team that had the fewest strikeouts in the American League this season.
This wasn't just a problem for Kipnis.
It's the entire team. Jose Ramirez, Yonder Alonso and Josh Donaldson are hitless in the series.
While Manager Terry Francona and the players insist "last year has nothing to do with this year," the Indians now have lost five consecutive postseason games.
They are dealing with the plague of doubt.
You could see it in Game 1 when Tribe starter Corey Kluber gave up four runs in 4-1/3 innings. He was great in the 2016 post-season. Since then, he has a 12.79 ERA in his last three playoff starts dating back to 2017.
Meanwhile, their opponent oozes confidence.
The Indians have one game left to stop this tidal wave seemingly ready to wipe out their season. That's Monday in Cleveland.
"We just have to find a way to win," said Francona. "We are playing for our baseball life. No one wants to go home."
But lots of things must change or that will happen.
Once upon a time, that thought brought Tribe fans to their feet.
Miller Time helped the Indians reach the 2016 World Series. Miller Time made him the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series.
But that was two years ago.
Now Andrew Miller has been battling a cranky knee, shoulder and hamstring at various points in the last two seasons.
The lefty entered the game with one out and runners on first and second base in the sixth inning.
The Indians had a 1-0 lead.
Miller immediately gave up a 2-run line shot double down the right field line to Marwin Gonzalez. It was a high, 95 mph fastball.
After that, he had little control and even less confidence. His sensational slider now looked like an untamed snake, slithering anywhere but over home plate.
He uncorked a wild pitch. He walked two.
That was it. A double. Two walks. Goodbye.
Nine pitches, only three strikes.
I wondered why Francona went to Miller.
Starter Carlos Carrasco had given up two hits to Gonzalez in his first two at bats.
"We wanted the matchup with Miller," said Francona.
Gonzalez was 1-for-7 vs. Miller with five strikeouts.
But this is not the same Andrew Miller.
Miller had a 4.24 ERA in only 34 games this season. In his last regular season appearance, he gave up five runs.
And you have to wonder if the Indians can use him in any meaningful situations in Game 3.
It also explains why Trevor Bauer is in the bullpen.
WHAT WAS, WHAT IS
The decline of Cody Allen and Miller - the two relievers who gave up only three runs in 33 postseason innings in 2016 - is a big reason why the Tribe is in big trouble in these playoffs.
Allen has given up 12 homers this season, counting the home run he allowed in Game 1.
The Indians took the field with the odds already against them.
The team that won the opening game of a 5-game series went on to win the series 75 percent of the time.
Carrasco was excellent, allowing two runs in 5-1/3 innings. Those came on the Gonzalez double against Miller.
There's not a lot of second-guessing to be done when a team is batting .100 (6-for-60 with 24 strikeouts).
Francisco Lindor has the team's only homer. He has two hits. The rest of the team is 4-for-52.
One game, one huge pitching performance can change a series. But how can the Indians make that happen?
The Akron Zips began defense of their 2017 MAC East Division title Saturday at home against the Miami RedHawks in dubious fashion with a homecoming loss.
AKRON, Ohio - A listless Akron Zips offense was no match for the Miami RedHawks, who came alive after some first quarter doldrums to top the Zips, 41-17, Saturday afternoon at InfoCision Stadium.
It was the first conference game of the season for the defending MAC East Division Champion Zips (2-2, 0-1) while Miami (2-4, 2-1) began the game sitting .500 in league play.
Credit Miami with finding a key offensive weapon in senior slotback Kenny Young, who delivered three touchdowns: a seven-yard reception, a three-yard run and a 74-yard TD run that sealed the victory at 31-17.
Akron quarterback Kato Nelson (19-of-35, 203 yards, 1 TD 3 INT) then threw back-to-back fourth-quarter interceptions, followed by an Akron fumble, then another Nelson pick on the Zips' next four possessions to spoil any chances at Akron's comeback.
"I wasn't comfortable in the pocket,'' Nelson said after the game.
Defenses stood tall in the opening quarter as neither team could muster more than 72 yards (Akron) of offense and a combined five first downs. That all changed in the second quarter as Miami put together a grinding 17-play, 71-yard touchdown drive sealed by a one-yard score on fourth-and-one by tailback Alonzo Smith.
That put the Zips in a 7-0 hole with 10 minutes still to play before halftime. Akron's offense would stall again, but not Miami's. The RedHawks mounted another long drive, nine plays and 78 yards, that ended with a seven-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Gus Ragland to Young for a 14-0 lead with 4:57 to go before the break.
In those two drives Miami's offense, which only had 19 yards of total offense in the first quarter, was now sitting with 168 yards before the break. The Zips were sitting on 82 yards of total offense with the clock ticking.
Akron's Nelson then showed a sense of urgency, directing the Zips on their best drive of the half, 75-yards in eight plays, ending with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Nate Stewart with 1:44 to play.
It didn't last long. Miami answered with a three-yard TD run by Young for a 21-17 lead for the RedHawks and did not look back.
"When they started, it wouldn't stop,'' Akron head coach Terry Bowden said of the RedHawks.
Ragland then threw an interception on Miami's next play from scrimmage, giving Akron a chance to tie the score with plenty of time from their own 45-yard-line. Despite a pair of defensive penalties that helped the Zips move the ball, they had to settle for a 40-yard Nick Gasser field goal to trim Miami's lead down to 14-10 at halftime.
The Zips seemed poised to take the lead on a second-half punt return for a touchdown, but the play was reversed for a targeting penalty, forcing Akron to start on downs at their own 12.
Forced to punt, the Zips got lucky as Miami fumbled the kick directly into the hands of linebacker Ulysees Gilbert, who returned it 46 yards for Akron's first lead of the game, 17-14, with 11:06 to play in the third quarter. A field goal soon followed for the RedHawks for a 24-17 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Miami then tacked on a game-clinching 74-yard touchdown run by Young early in the fourth quarter for a 31-17 lead for the RedHawks as the Zips folded after that. Young finished with a productive 78 yards rushing and 18 receiving.
The Buckeyes moved to 6-0 with a win over Indiana on Saturday.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State survived its Penn State hangover this year.
Many wondered this week how a one-point win over the Nittany Lions last week would linger on Saturday against Indiana, especially given last season's result, when Ohio State got an emotional win over Penn State and followed it up by getting run off the field at Iowa.
Perhaps next year the Buckeyes should try beating Penn State by more than one point.
That's if you're willing to pin sloppiness on Saturday mostly on the fact that Ohio State was coming off a taxing game in Beaver Stadium. Like last year's loss in Iowa, though, this felt like a little more than just a hangover. Only OSU feels much better about this end result.
The No. 3 Buckeyes weathered that sloppiness -- some dropped passes, defensive breakdowns, turnovers, penalties and yes, probably some fatigue -- and left Ohio Stadium on Saturday with what ended up being a fairly comfortable 49-26 win over the Hoosiers.
It wasn't pretty. The cushion Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) created late made it feel a little better than it actually was for much of the game.
Saturday's game at points felt like a shootout, and at others like a game between two teams who had a hard time getting out of their own way.
The Buckeyes had an early 14-3 lead after a one-yard run by J.K. Dobbins and a deep ball from Dwayne Haskins to Johnnie Dixon for a 39-yard score on a well-designed play action pass in which Haskins faked a sprint out to his right before throwing left back across the field to a streaking Dixon.
Haskins and the passing game were mostly solid, and the sophomore quarterback added to his gaudy passing numbers this year with 33 completions on 44 attempts for 455 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. The 455 yards are three shy of the program record for a game, while the completions and touchdowns tied school records.
It was also Haskins' first multi-interception game, but both picks game on plays in which Haskins was hit.
"Every game you want to light it up, but definitely it was a good statistical game," Haskins said. "I'm glad we got the win most importantly."
Parris Campbell was his leading receiver, with nine catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Terry McLaurin also had two scores, and nine different players caught Haskins' 33 completions.
But the rushing attack remains inconsistent (45 carries, 154 yards, 3.2 average) and the defense was again bit by some big plays and penalties that allowed the Hoosiers to hang around into the fourth quarter.
"Offensively had a lot of yards, still not doing what we need to do in the run game," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. "And that's something that's alarming. So we've just got to continue to work on that. Defensively not what we expected in the first half. Guys are making plays on us. A combination of poor pass rush and not blocking on your guys. We've been fine against the run, but the pass has been killing us and that's going to bite us, something we've got to get fixed."
A 45-yard rush helped set up a field goal on Indiana's opening drive. The Hoosiers had three completions of 30 yards or more, including a 32-yard score from quarterback Peyton Ramsey to tight end Peyton Hendershot for IU's first touchdown. Another one of those 30-yard completions helped set up a scoring drive that ended with a 19-yard pass from Ramsey to J-Shun Harris that gave the Hoosiers a brief 17-14 lead in the second quarter.
It never felt like Ohio State was actually in jeopardy of losing, but there was an uneasiness in Ohio Stadium well into the third quarter when Ramsey's third TD pass pulled Indiana within nine after a failed two-point conversion with 4:53 left in the quarter.
Haskins and the offense created a cushion from there as he connected on two fourth-quarter touchdowns. One went to McLaurin for a 17-yard score, and the other to Ben Victor for a 30-yard touchdown on a low ball Victor reeled just before getting a knee down in the back of the end zone. Make that two straight weeks with acrobatic catches for the junior receiver.
Ohio State's puzzling defense
The big plays allowed in the first half caused some consternation, and made Ohio State burn three timeouts in the first quarter as it tried to figure out Indiana's offense. In the end the Buckeyes allowed 406 yards of offense, but 317 came in the first half.
"I guess the question is if that's a bad game, do we still win like that, that's a pretty good football team out there," Meyer said. "We don't look at it like that out there. We're going to enjoy the win like we just did. We're going to go back and start giving up close to 300 yards passing in that first half. We did make some adjustments in the second and played much better."
The Buckeyes seemed to settle down in the second half, limiting those big plays and getting after Ramsey. A week after allowing Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley to break through with a big rushing game, Ohio State kept Ramsey -- himself a dangerous runner -- to 10 yards on 10 carries. Three were sacks.
Ramsey did throw for 322 yards and three scores, as OSU's corners got beat a few times on shots down the field.
Ohio State's defense was also put into some tough spots at points, three sudden change situations after three turnovers and another when punter Drue Chrisman miss-hit a ball out of the end zone that only got out to the Ohio State 33.
The Buckeye defense allowed points on only one of those four drives.
So the big plays remain an issue, and the first half was about as bad as it could be for the defense. But Indiana also averaged just 2.8 yards per play in the second half.
Call it another Jekyll and Hyde performance for the defense.
With starting safety Isaiah Pryor sitting out the first half because of a targeting ejection in the second half of last week's Penn State game, Jahsen Wint got his first start of the season next to Jordan Fuller.
The Hoosiers set up a scoring opportunity on their first drive due in part to Wint taking a poor angle on a 45-yard run by Indiana running back Stevie Scott -- a recurring problem for the Buckeyes no matter who's been playing safety this year.
The big play defensive problems were apparent again in the first half, with Wint getting caught up in the breakdown a couple times. So late in the first half, the Buckeyes gave us our first glimpse of Shaun Wade at safety. He was in on Indiana's final two drives of the half, with one ending in a fumble and the other in a field goal.
Pryor started the second half once he was eligible to return.
Ohio State is back home on Saturday against Minnesota for a 12 p.m. kickoff in Ohio Stadium. The TV network for the game is TBA.
The Buckeyes put up 609 yards of offense and Dwayne Haskins threw six touchdown passes, but maybe you were harping on the defensive mistakes.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State is at the point where if the offense doesn't throw a shutout, games get tight, fans get nervous and Urban Meyer starts doing things on the sideline like hanging his head and dropping his headset in frustration when the Buckeyes are stopped on fourth down.
He did that during Saturday's 49-26 win over Indiana that sent the No. 3 Buckeyes to the halfway point of the regular season undefeated.
Dwayne Haskins threw for 455 yards and six touchdowns, and it felt like a "yeah, but what about ..." kind of game.
Like you are assuming 455 passing yards and six touchdowns. Not a big deal. Think about that.
What OSU fans felt on some Saturdays a decade ago, when Jim Tressel's teams won games by scores like 20-2 and fans flipped about a failing side of the ball, has completely reversed itself.
Back then, if the Ohio State defense didn't throw a shutout, it got a little nervy in Ohio Stadium.
When I said the offense needs to throw a shutout in the first sentence, I meant it. These days, an offensive shutout is something like a 50- or 60-point effort, something that shuts out the chances of the other team winning.
That 77-31 win over Oregon State in the opener? In Tressel scores, that was 34-0.
You, admit it, were screaming about the OSU defense Saturday, the same complaints tumbling out of your mouth from the first month of the season. Bad angles by the safeties. Cornerbacks getting beat deep without turning around. Linebackers something or other. Maybe a wish for the injured Nick Bosa to return and get this pass rush back on track.
You weren't wrong. Facts are facts. The defense has flaws. But your apprehension was perhaps unnecessarily exaggerated.
Because Haskins and the offense were going to take care of this.
I understand everyone wanting their team to win 49-0 each week, but when that doesn't happen -- and it doesn't happen anywhere anymore very much -- how would you like it to lean?
Ohio State led 28-20 at the half. Would you have preferred 10-0?
You aren't getting it.
Every team, even the best ones, have flaws, and you know exactly what the issues are for the Buckeyes. But as you're calling for stingier defense and a sturdier run game, ask yourself this: Hasn't Ohio State had those things in the past? And what happened?
Well, the Buckeyes were great, weren't they? They dominated the Big Ten. But how often did they get over the top, and compete at the highest level against the best teams in the nation? Or not compete, but beat them?
Yes, 2002. And yes, 2014.
But don't ask this team to be any of those teams, or any other successful OSU team in your lifetime. Because you'll keep screaming about defense and yeah-butting the 400-yard passer.
This is the OSU reality now, and this reality might give the Buckeyes a real shot to win it all.
It won't be easy and it sure as heck won't be low-scoring. But given how Ohio State found a way in the fourth quarter at Penn State, and given that they dropped 49 on the Hoosiers and you still were nervous the whole time, maybe you should have some faith that Haskins and this offense have a chance in a shootout with anyone.
How often have you felt that in the past?
I know you love the Silver Bullets and that ground-and-pound rushing game. But I'm telling you, to freak out every time an opponent scores near 30 points and to freak out when the run game isn't dancing across the field means you're going to let a 400-yard passing game slip through the cracks of your complaints.
No team, not even the Buckeyes, gets it all right on both sides of the ball and puts 22 perfect starters on the field.
So there will be mistakes. The tough thing is that what's going wrong is what Ohio State has relied upon for so long -- defense and rushing the ball.
So your gut tells you to focus on that.
But let a more amusing part of your body, say, your elbow, point you toward the passing game. It's fun. It's effective. It's different for Ohio State. And in modern college football, it's a way to win and compete with the very, very best in the country.
I know surrendering 26 didn't feel right. And, boy, if those cornerbacks would just turn around.
But Ohio State put up 609 yards of offense. And the Buckeyes won by 23.
If it makes you feel better, pretend it was 26-3.
The Indians, for the second straight game, were dominated by Houston's pitching as they lost Game 2 of the ALDS and are on the verge of being swept. Watch video
HOUSTON - The dry husk of the bullpen that carried the Indians to Game 7 of the World Series in 2016 has been on display in the first two games of the ALDS. It has not made for good viewing.
The Indians' aces, meanwhile, have been out-pitched by Houston's aces, which is another reason why they are on the verge of being swept in the ALDS following a 3-1 loss on Saturday at Minute Maid Park. The series moves to Progressive Field for Game 3 on Monday at 1:37 p.m.
Let us not forget the offense. In two games against the Astros, the Indians have gone 6-for-60 (.100). They've put two runners in scoring position so far in the series.
In Game 1, Houston right-hander Justin Verlander dominated the Indians with a 95 to 98 mph fastball at the top of the strike zone. In Game 2, Gerrit Cole topped Verlander in velocity, hitting 100.9 mph, while striking out 12 in seven innings. The Indians, one of the toughest teams in the AL to strike out during the regular season, have struck out 24 times in the first two games.
As for the state of the Tribe, manager Terry Francona said, "We've got to show up on Monday and play for our baseball lives. Nobody wants to go home."
Added Trevor Bauer, "We need to win three straight and it starts with winning Game 3 on Monday."
Carlos Carrasco, thanks to a Francisco Lindor homer, carried a 1-0 lead into the sixth, but Andrew Miller couldn't hold it. Miller, one of the heroes from the Tribe's 2016 October run, relieved Carrasco to face Marwin Gonzalez and gave up a two-run double on his second pitch. Miller faced three batters, allowing a double and two walks before being replaced by Trevor Bauer, who quickly restored order.
In Friday's 7-2 loss to Houston, Cody Allen, who closed for Miller so well in the 2016 postseason, gave up a critical home run.
Lindor gave the Indians a 1-0 lead with a two-out homer off Cole in the third inning. He hit a 2-2 slider into the right field seats.
Carrasco held the lead until the sixth when Jose Altuve reached on an infield single down the third-base line that Josh Donaldson, perhaps, could have let roll foul. But he picked up the ball and made a wide throw. Altuve pulled up lame on the play, but stayed in the game.
When Donaldson saw Altuve stumble out of the box, he made the decision to try and throw him out.
"I saw he didn't get out of the box particularly well," said Donaldson. "If he gets out well, I let the the ball go, I let it go everytime. I felt like if I made a (good) throw, he's out."
Alex Bregman followed with a walk, but Yuli Gurriel flied out to left field. With the switch-hitting Gonzalez due to bat, Miller relieved to make Gonzalez hit from the right side. Gonzalez, who had two hits in his first two at-bats against Carrasco, was 1-for-8 with six strikeouts against Miller. Gonzalez, however, foiled the strategy by lining a double to wall in right to give the Astros a 2-1 lead.
Miller further complicated matters by walking Carlos Correa, throwing a wild pitch and intentionally walking Tyler White to load the bases. Bauer, pitching in his second game in as many days, retired pinch-hitter Evan Gattis and struck out Martin Maldonado to end the inning.
"I thought Carlos was terrific," said Francona. "With a one-run lead and Gonzalez coming up with the way he'd swung the bat against Carlos, along with Andrew's history against Gonzalez, I felt really good about it. Obviously, it didn't work out the way we planned."
Asked if thought about bringing in Bauer instead of Miller, Francona said, "No, we wanted Andrew. That's what we wanted right there."
After escaping the bases-loaded jam in the sixth, Bauer allowed a homer to Bregman in the seventh to give Houston a 3-1 lead.
While Verlander and Cole are a combined 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA through the first two games of the ALDS, Corey Kluber and Carrasco are 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA.
"Our pitching staff did a great job today," said Lindor. "Offensively, we have to do a better job."
Carrasco allowed two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three and walked on.
What it means
If the Indians are looking for inspiration on how to escape an 0-2 deficit in the ALDS, all they have to do is look to last year around this time. They had the Yankees down 0-2, but lost three straight to New York.
Carrasco threw 77 pitches, 55 (68 percent) for strikes. Cole threw 98 pitches, 70 (71 percent) for strikes.
Thanks for coming
The Indians and Astros drew a sellout crowd of 43,520 to Minute Maid Park on Saturday. First pitch was at 4:38 p.m. with the temperature 73 degrees inside the ballpark and 90 degrees outside.
The ALDS moves to Cleveland for Sunday's workout day with Game 3 scheduled for Monday at 1:30 p.m. Indians right-hander Mike Clevinger (13-8, 3.02) will face Houston left-hander Dallas Keuchel (12-11, 3.74). TBS, WTAM and WMMS will carry the game.
Clevinger will be making his seventh postseason appearance, but his first start. He went 0-2 against Houston this year and is 1-3 against them in his career.
Keuchel went 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in two starts against the Indians this year. He's 4-1 with a 2.79 ERA against them in his career.
About 30 seconds after checking into the game -- at the 3:38 mark of the first quarter -- Smith got tangled with Aron Baynes underneath the basket.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- JR Smith's preseason debut started with a bang. No, actually, a shove.
About 30 seconds after checking into the game -- at the 3:38 mark of the first quarter -- Smith got tangled with Aron Baynes underneath the basket.
Smith then shoved the burly Celtics center, which led to an on-court fracas, as Marcus Smart pushed Smith from behind and needed to be restrained by both Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier. Cavaliers big man Ante Zizic moved Smith toward the baseline, as the mercurial shooting guard smiled in Smart's direction the whole time.
After reviewing the play, referees assessed Baynes with a personal foul -- his third -- for hooking Smith's arm on a rebound attempt. Smart was not only hit with a technical, but also ejected from the game. Smith received a technical foul, but was able to stay in the game.
As soon as the announcement was made inside The Q, Smith walked toward center court and waved goodbye to Smart.
J.R. Smith vs. the Celtics in his first quarter of the preseason pic.twitter.com/uePq5aqfmG-- J.R.ob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) October 6, 2018
Here's our take at TBS' broadcast of Game 2 of the American League Division Series between the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians.
CLEVELAND, Ohio - TBS' Game 2 storyline on Saturday was another solid pitching matchup, between Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco and Gerrit Cole.
And it was, through five innings.
TBS has the series, with Don Orsillo (play by play), Dennis Eckersley (analyst) and Hazel Mae (field reporter).
While steady enough from Orsillo-Eckersley, there were little moments that could have been explored throughout Game 2 of the American League Division Series game between the Indians and Astros.
Fun at Tito's expense: The studio analysts ended the pregame show with a shot of Francona supposedly sunning himself at Fenway Park a while ago. "Yeah he got legs - bird legs," said Pedro Martinez, who pitched on the 2004 World Series champion Red Sox team managed by Terry Francona.
Didn't catch the premature score bug on Friday in Game 1 showing the Astros up in the series 1-0 - before the game had ended.
Batter vs. pitcher
Several readers pointed out the graphic in the upper left corner did not consistently show who the batter was. TBS emphasized the pitcher's pitch count but showed the batter's name only in the first pitch of the at-bat. I would rather see the batter's name in lieu of the fact that one team is up 1-0.
Regarding our poll question regarding Friday's game: Did you think the announcers were biased against the Indians in TBS' Game 1 broadcast? A day later, 63.2 percent said no; 36.8 percent said yes.
As the announcers pondered the sunlight streaming down in left-center in the bottom of the second inning - prompting Eckersley to say "I wonder if that comes in play?" - a vendor touting "BOOZY POPS" photobombed the camera shot.
About that sunlight
Instead of questioning how it affects hitters and fielders, it would have been a good idea in pregame for broadcasters to ask the Astros outfielders about it, whether it is a problem, and how they deal with it.
This was done on MLB Network prior, but here's a graphic overlay of presenting sponsor Doosan on the batter's eye as part of TBS' broadcast of Game 2 of the ALDS between the Indians and Astros #SportsBiz pic.twitter.com/RvGTuZWCVb-- Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) October 6, 2018
Speaking of ads
Did you notice the network is using the no-man's land of the centerfield wall in Minute Maid Park for virtual ads?
Getting a kick out of baseball nomenclature Eckersley embraces: "cheese" - as in "How could you not throw another piece of cheese here?" - "hookage," (curve ball) and "hair bomb" (95-plus mph fastball).
"Bases drunk, one out." - Eckersley in the bottom of the sixth.
Shots and stats
* Would have liked to have seen more close-up images, dugout shots and the like. Mae's role has been relegated to the obligatory in-game managerial interviews. Andre Knott does a good job on this during regular-season Indians coverage for SportsTime Ohio. For instance, Francisco Lindor's left cleat bore the message: "In God's Time."
* TBS has too many camera-shaking shots on transitions to the stands.
* As Carlos Carrasco took the mound in the bottom of the fifth, Eckersley noted he had given up nine ground balls, one fly ball and two strikeouts.
* In the bottom of the eighth cameras caught a focused Mike Clevinger intently watching but did not identify who it was. He is slated to start Game 3 for Cleveland in Progressive Field on Monday.
"Everyone's skating around!" - Eckersley when Lindor slipped a bit as he and Josh Donaldson ran to foul territory on a popup. The question is: Why? That's where an on-field reporter can help. Earlier in the inning, Jose Altuve slipped in the batter's box after hitting a chopper down the third-base line.
Obvious statement du jour
"What a hit, big hit." - Eckersley on Marwin Gonzalez's go-ahead RBI double in the sixth for the Astros.
Eckersley is great at picking up pitches, and replays show the spin on the ball, but he lets the excitement of the moment get too much of him on occasion. Like when he gushed "How 'bout this Bregman - you gotta be kidding me!" after Alex Bregman hit a solo home run in the seventh off Trevor Bauer.
Quote of the game
"This thing is getting away from the Indians." - Eckersley after Andrew Miller loaded the bases in the sixth and the score 2-1 Houston. He could have been talking about the game or the series.
Game 3 is 1:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8, at Progressive Field.
On the broadcast: A look at the Game 1 broadcast
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.
The Buckeyes moved to 6-0 on Saturday with a win over Indiana in Ohio Stadium. Watch video
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Everything Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said after the Buckeyes' 49-26 win over Indiana on Saturday in Ohio Stadium.
Urban Meyer: Thanks for coming. As always, I'd like to thank our fans, packed house again. And the alumni. We had our pep rally on Friday and then a captain's dinner. It was an awesome experience.
And then the pep rally or the skull sessions, just full house, it was a great day. So thanks to the alums for coming back. Thanks to our student body and Buckeye Nation. Dwayne obviously a great night. Incredible night, 455 yards, six touchdowns.
Still not offensively had a lot of yards, still not doing what we need to do in the run game. And that's something that's alarming. So we've just got to continue to work on that. Defensively not what we expected in the first half. Guys are making plays on us.
A combination of poor pass rush and not blocking on your guys. We've been fine against the run, but the pass has been killing us and that's going to bite us, something we've got to get fixed.
Q. What happened to you on the sideline there where you had to go down for a while like you were in the 15-yard line or so out of the coach's box, but I'm not laughing but you know what I'm saying, I understood --
Sure you are. (Laughter).
Q. But you ran into someone. What happened there?
I dealt with headaches in the past, I deal --
Q. It was a headache. It wasn't a collision. Did you feel like you might have to leave the game at that point
Q. When did it come right for you, just a few minutes later?
Two minutes ago. No. (Laughter).
Q. The passing game, obviously like you just pointed out, I'm not saying bails you out again, the guy threw for 455. Parris Campbell and McLaurin and those guys, what did you see come alive as the game went on?
Dwayne would be the first one to tell you. And it's no different than when the run game's cooking, the offensive line is the reason why.
When the passing game is cooking, there's guys making phenomenal catches and runs and the offensive line is doing for the most part. I believe we gave up one sack tonight. We did have the one -- we had two turnovers, awful. But he's an accurate passer now. You give him time and you give him a good group of receivers, he's a dangerous guy.
Q. You're 6-0 halfway through the season now. You mentioned the running game and defense. How close are you or how far away are you from being a championship caliber team?
We're not worried about that. We've just got to get ready for Minnesota and you guys saw what I saw. At times we played outstanding. But the big hits and we're a man coverage team. So we've got to keep evaluating. But some of those weren't even on man coverage. So we just have to keep working at it. I trust our staff. I trust our players. We're banged up a little bit. And we've got to fight through it. But gotta play better.
Q. I know cautious you are about what I'm about to say sometimes, but through six games what Dwayne Haskins is doing, are you ready to give him your Heisman endorsement? Do you think that it's fair to include him in that conversation right now?
I never want to hold our players back. I don't know what else is out there. I'm worried about Minnesota and I'm worried about our defense and I'm worried about our run game. And worried about getting guys healthy.
But I certainly never want to take away elite -- 455 yards now. And high, high end percentage completion. It was 33 of 44. I mean, I'm not going to hold him back. But our focus is on Minnesota.
Q. You said you're a press man team. We know you guys have been that since you switched to that. Is there any possibility of a consideration that in some situations backing off of that?
We do. If you notice we do bail sometimes. We hate to give free access throws to people. I think this was -- it didn't really snap at us like it did today. Penn State, guys made some plays on us. But today we really felt it. I felt it. That first half was awful.
Q. Do you feel like the teams maybe are thinking we'll take some deep shots on these guys, maybe we'll get a flag, maybe we'll grab --
That's what you're seeing.
Q. Maybe they don't fear you guys like maybe sometimes they have in the past that your guys are going to make a play?
We have very good personnel. Something we'll keep working at. But your comment about are we going to take a look at other things, we already have.
Q. You mentioned the run game wasn't what you wanted, the defense wasn't what you wanted but you were able to take care of business. Last year against Iowa after the Penn State game you guys weren't able to do that. Do you see that as a sign of growth wherever the team is this year?
I do. And we practiced very hard this week after getting in at 3:30 in the morning. We were worried about that a little bit. The heat was there again all week.
But you get out of those things and you go work on, fix some issues that's what the game's all about.
Q. And Malik had -- Bradley both left the game early. What happened there?
They're still being evaluated. I don't know for sure yet.
Q. You put up a million yards, won by a lot, but there were a lot of things you said in terms of the defense being bad in the first half and things looking a little bit out of whack. I know at the end it looks great and everything you guys did was probably what you wanted to do is that what an Ohio State let-down is looking like this year; are you guys that good?
I'm sure the question. I guess the question is if that's a bad game, do we still win like that, that's a pretty good football team out there. We don't look at it like that out there. We're going to enjoy the win like we just did. We're going to go back and start giving up close to 300 yards passing in that first half. We did make some adjustments in the second and played much better.
Q. How would you rate it?
How would I rate it? If I'm Parris Campbell, it's a hell of game. Nine catches, 142 yards. Pass defense pass pressure, rush, no it's not very good. Knocking people off the ball and running the ball I don't think it's great. I've got to watch the videotape. We're just not consistent in those areas. Those two areas are the problem child right now.
Q. Good to see McLaurin can do more than block.
He's a hell of a player. And like I told you -- you start using the word Evan Spencer, see the way this kid plays he's fantastic.
Q. Can you go as far as you want to go with an offense like this, as dynamic as it is, but a defense that gives up big plays, is there a tradeoff?
No, you can't. At the end of the day you have to play great defense to get where you gotta get. And I'm confident that we will -- because at times we've played great defense and we have to get everybody healthy and get back to that.
Bill Landis and Doug Lesmerises on what coming off the Penn State win meant for Ohio State's win over Indiana on Saturday. Watch video
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State arrived home from State College a week ago at 3:30 Sunday morning, which is just the kind of thing that will mess with your body clock.
So why were the Buckeyes maybe not clicking at every moment in Saturday's 49-23 win over Indiana at home? They were tired.
Or, at least they were tired early in the week. This isn't new. This isn't specific to Ohio State, not in a world where teenagers are flown across the country at all hours of the night some weekends to meet the demands of TV, and then have to go to class on Monday.
But Indiana won at Rutgers last week in a game that started at noon. Ohio State won at Penn State in a game that started at 7:30 p.m. And, by the way, Penn State is good at football and Rutgers is terrible.
"I don't think we were that tired today," receiver Johnnie Dixon said after Ohio State moved to 6-0. "Maybe guys were a little sore, but during the week, early in the week, you could tell guys were a little tired.
"Guys were very tired this week because we played away at night and traveling and all that kind of messes with you. Guys were a little sluggish during the week."
So the first half Saturday was 28-20 Ohio State and 351-317 in yards in favor of Ohio State.
The second half was 21-6 Ohio State and 258-89 in yards in favor of Ohio State.
So the Buckeyes got un-tired.
"We practiced very hard this week after getting in at 3:30 in the morning," Urban Meyer said. "We were worried about (a letdown) a little bit. The heat was there again all week. But you get out of those things and you go work, fix some issues, that's what the game's all about."
Watch the video at the top of this post to see what two sweaty men named Doug Lesmerises and Bill Landis had to say about the Buckeyes and their fatigue on Saturday.
In Sexton's first game at Quicken Loans Arena -- his new NBA home -- the 19-year-old rookie looked awfully comfortable, helping lead the Cavaliers to their second straight preseason win against the Boston Celtics, 113-102.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Collin Sexton seems to like his new digs.
Not just the state-of-the-art renovated locker room that awed players as they walked through the glass double doors for the first time hours before tipoff on Saturday night.
In Sexton's first game at Quicken Loans Arena -- his new NBA home -- the 19-year-old rookie looked awfully comfortable, helping lead the Cavaliers to their second straight preseason win against the Boston Celtics, 113-102.
Head coach Tyronn Lue rested a handful of regulars, including starting point guard George Hill. That gave Sexton his first NBA start. No, the Celtics didn't play Kyrie Irving, which would've been quite a test for the Cavaliers' teenager, but a bulk of Sexton's minutes came against point guard Terry Rozier, who manned Boston's lead guard spot for all 19 games during the postseason.
Sexton wasn't fazed. He was the first player on either team to reach double figures, pouring in 13 points on 4-of-6 from the field in 19 minutes during the first half, as the Cavs built a 15-point advantage and won the first 24 minutes, 58-43.
I talked to coach and he just told me to go out there and play my game," Sexton said. "Make sure everybody is in the right spots and just be the leader on the court because George wasn't playing. I had to step up and be that leader."
In Sexton's stints, Cleveland outscored Boston by 13 points. Most importantly, he continued to knock down outside shots.
The scouting report on him coming out of college was to go under screens, drop back and dare him to shoot from the outside. That's better than allowing him to get into the paint using his lightning quicks and a solid dribble-drive game.
Each time the Celtics implemented that back-away strategy, Sexton burned them. All four of his made baskets came from 21 feet or beyond. He drained both 3-point attempts, making him 4-of-5 from long range in the preseason.
It's a small sample size to be sure, but if the youngster continues to keep defenses honest by canning jumpers, it will open other areas of his game.
Sexton enjoyed the second half from the bench, smiling and joking with teammates while also encouraging point guards Kobi Simmons and Isaiah Taylor, among others.
It's a season of firsts for the Cavaliers. It's also a year that will be filled with tests. For Sexton, Tuesday marked his opening preseason game, as he hit a clutch jumper in the fourth quarter to hold of a Boston late-game rally and rose to the challenge in a boisterous building.
Saturday was his first start and first home game. He shined once again in a tough matchup.
"Collin did a great job," Lue said. "When the lights come on he's ready to play. He made some big shots, ran the team and ran the show."
Two tests. Two passing grades. Not a bad start for the rook.
JR Smith makes up for lost time
JR Smith started his preseason with a bang. No, a shove.
About 30 seconds into his debut, Smith got tangled with Celtics center Aron Baynes while the two players were fighting for post position near Boston's basket.
When Smith shoved Baynes in the chest, a mundane Saturday night preseason contest turned heated quickly. It wasn't just Baynes and Smith either. Marcus Smart, who has a history of being temperamental, pushed Smith from behind and other teammates needed to step in before it became even more violent.
Boston's Jayson Tatum and Rozier needed to restrain Smart, who kept trying to charge at the Cavaliers' volatile shooting guard. Cavs center Ante Zizic also intervened, escorting Smith toward the baseline.
"For a guy who wants to be so tough in this situation, he leads the league in flops. Easily," Smith said of Smart. "You can't flop as much as you do and then be tough. How does that even work? And then you start slinging your teammates. Like, you didn't come to play basketball today. You knew he didn't want to play. Your coach told you you gotta play and you was frustrated. Then you try to take it out on somebody else.
"At the end of the day, I'm not going to sit here and lose money over trying to fight Marcus Smart. I'm not going to lose money over my (Supreme) tattoo, so why would I lose it over him?"
Both players received technical fouls after a lengthy review. Smart was then ejected while Smith waved goodbye from center court.
Smith didn't play in the annual Wine and Gold Scrimmage. He sat out the preseason opener on Tuesday night in Boston. That was quite an entrance.
Sam Dekker seizes opportunity
In an effort to get some of his younger guys action in a non-practice environment, Lue rested Hill, Kevin Love, Kyle Korver and Tristan Thompson.
Sam Dekker took advantage.
Getting the start at power forward, he scored seven points on 3-of-6 from the field and 1-of-2 from beyond the arc. Dekker also added four rebounds, one assist, one steal and a highlight reel play that sent his teammates jumping on the sidelines.
Starting on the left wing, Dekker crossed over second-year man Tatum, sending him to the hardwood before capping the play with a tough contested layup.
The Cavs entered the night with two power forwards on the roster: Love and Dekker. That thin frontline will give Dekker a chance for consistent minutes, something he's never gotten during his three-year career. In his first chance to open some eyes, Dekker didn't disappoint.
Cedi Osman fills box score
Cedi Osman couldn't build on his double-digit performance from the first preseason game. His shot, which continues to be a work in progress, wasn't falling. He went 2-of-8 from the field and 1-of-5 from beyond the arc.
But Osman found other ways to contribute.
He pushed the ball up the floor and initiated offense in a way Lue has demanded since the opening of camp. The second-year player grabbed six rebounds, got his hands on a few loose balls and dished out three assists, one more than any other Cavalier during the first half -- a time when a bulk of regulars were on the floor for both teams.
For Osman, there will be nights when his offense won't be clicking. He's still at his best in the open floor, not having to work against halfcourt defenses. But his game has always been defined by the little things that don't always show up in the box score. That shouldn't change because he's penciled in as one of five starters and playing in LeBron James' old spot.
Jordan Clarkson gave the Cavaliers a spark off the bench once again, tallying 12 points on 4-of-8 from the field.
Zizic, getting extended playing time against the team that traded him to Cleveland last off-season, chipped in with a game-high 20 points, making seven of his eight shot attempts and punishing the smaller Celtics in the paint. He also pulled down five rebounds and made all six of his free throws.
"Big Z has a good post presence, great hands, really good around the basket and he gave us an offensive spark in the second half," Lue said.
Taylor, playing the primary backup point guard role and perhaps inching closer to solidifying the 15th roster spot, added eight points on 3-of-7 from the floor. He dished out three assists as well.
In all, Cleveland's reserves scored 72 of the team's 113 points.
So on a night when the veterans moved aside for the kids, Lue had every reason to be happy with the outcome. All the hard work behind the scenes was rewarded for the second straight game and the optimism was palpable.
The Cavaliers will host the Indiana Pacers on Monday night at The Q. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. The game will be on Fox Sports Ohio and WTAM 1100.
The Ohio State coach explained why the team doctor and trainer gathered around him in the second half.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State coach Urban Meyer dropped to his knee during the second half of the Buckeyes win over Indiana on Saturday, saying it was a flareup of a headache that took him to the ground.
The 54-year-old Meyer was attended to by team trainer Doug Calland and team doctor Chris Kaeding before standing and walking down the sideline. He kept his headset off and remained detached from the game for a few minutes, his left hand against the left side of his head. He then put his headset back on and assumed his familiar pose, bent at the waist, with his hands on his knees.
"I dealt with headaches in the past," Meyer said after the 49-26 win, clearly attempting to sidestep questions about it. He did refute a report during the game that said a collision with a staffer is what sent Meyer to the ground.
Those who know Meyer's history were aware of the possibility of a headache as the culprit. Meyer has been diagnosed with an arachnoid cyst, which is a fluid-filled sac that can put pressure on the brain and in some cases cause headaches.
Meyer had surgery to drain the cyst in March of 2014. The independent investigation before this season into Meyer's handling of former assistant Zach Smith revealed that Meyer takes medicine to deal with the headaches, and he said that medicine has caused memory issues at times.
"I'm very healthy," Meyer said at a news conference on Sept. 17. "I've had cyst issues in my head over the years. And I've had a couple of procedures and actually one surgery, also very intense medicine.
"I can just be truthful and tell you I've had some pretty heavy meds at times, but it certainly doesn't impact the way I coach."
Meyer said Saturday he never felt like he would have to leave the sideline as the result of the headache. And he seemed himself in the postgame interview after the Buckeyes moved to 6-0.
The Indians' 2018 season is on the brink of elimination. If Houston beats them on Monday at Progressive Field it will mark the first time they've been swept in the postseason since losing four straight in the 1954 World Series. Watch video
HOUSTON - The Indians have not been swept in a postseason series since Willie Mays and the New York Giants won four straight in the 1954 World Series. It's taken 64 years, but they are at that place again.
The stakes aren't as high. The Indians, following Saturday's 3-1 loss in Game 2 of the ALDS, need to beat Houston in three straight games to advance to the ALCS. Then they'd have to win that best-of-seven series to reach the World Series.
When Mays broke Cleveland's heart with his over-the-shoulder catch against Vic Wertz in World Series opener on Sept. 29, 1954, there was no ALDS or ALCS. The Indians won a franchise record 111 games in the regular season and went straight to the Fall Classic only to be derailed in a sweep that still echoes in Cleveland.
The 2018 Indians won 91 games in a lackluster AL Central Division and have been thoroughly out-pitched and out-hit in the first two games of the ALDS by the defending World Series champion. They lost the first two games by a combined score of 10-3, but it seems like 30-3.
Justin Verlander muted their bats in Game 1 on Friday. Gerrit Cole was even better in Game 2 on Saturday. They Indians' offense has gone 6-for-60 (.100) in the first two games. Their only run Saturday came on Francisco Lindor's home run.
In Friday's 7-2 loss, the Indians couldn't even muster a RBI hit. Yan Gomes scored on a wild pitch and Lindor scored on a ground out by Jose Ramirez.
Asked if his team has been done in by small mistakes, manager Terry Francona said, "I don't know that there's anything small in games like this. Part of why they're good is that they always push. The continue to push. And they put heat on you all the time."
All the Astros seem to do is hit big home runs. They hit four in Game 1 - three against ace Corey Kluber - and one in Game 2. Alex Bregman, who is playing like Ramirez played in the first 4 1/2 months of the season, hit his second homer of the series on Saturday to complete a 3-1 win. Ramirez, by the way, is 0-for-7 in the ALDS. That makes him 2-for-27 over the last two years in this best-of-five series.
The Indians have struck out 24 times in two games and now they're going home for Game 3. Mike Clevinger will face Houston left-hander Dallas Keuchel in what could be the last game where promise was always better than what was delivered.
Francona has been on both sides of the equation as a manager. In 2004, his Red Sox were down 3-0 in the ALCS to the Yankees and won four straight. Last year, his Indians were up 2-0 against the Yankees in the ALDS and lost three straight.
"We just need to find a way to win on Monday," he said. "I'm guessing that Houston will enjoy its off-day more than we will."
Said Lindor, "They've got to win three games and so do we. We've got to win three in a row. It's possible to win three in a row. We'll just focus on the one game on Monday."
The problem is this is the first time the Indians have been put in a corner all year. This is the first time they've actually had to play for something. And to think they can win three straight against the Astros is a stretch.
They are not a good late-inning team, especially with their bullpen in a state of flux. They had seven walk-off wins during the regular season, but they lost 13 games in walk-off fashion. The Twins were the only team with more such losses.
The arms they road to Game 7 of the World Series in 2016 and to 102 wins in 2017, look tired. Carlos Carrasco pitched well in Saturday's start, but when Andrew Miller relieved him in the sixth, he turned a 1-0 lead into a 2-1 loss on his second pitch.
"I blew the game for us," said Miller.
And the Astros pitching has made it look worse than it is.
"They locate. They locate. They execute," said Lindor, of Houston's pitching staff. "They've done a very, very good job."
Lindor pointed to the Astros' two-run rally in the sixth that erased the Tribe's 1-0 lead. It started when Jose Altuve sent a roller to third, slipped coming out of the box and beat Josh Donaldson's offline throw to first. Donaldson said he normally would have let the ball go foul, but thought he had a good chance to get Altuve for the first out of the inning. Altuve and Bregman ended up scoring on the two-run double Miller gave up to Marwin Gonzalez.
"Altuve started a rally with a ground ball to third base," said Lindor. "We haven't had any of those. We'll be fine."
Fine? Maybe Lindor was talking about next year. Right now, winter is calling, and the wrong kind of sweep is near.
The incident, which occurred at the 3:38 mark of the first quarter -- about 30 seconds after Smith entered the game for the first time in the preseason -- actually began with Smith and Celtics center Aron Baynes getting locked up underneath the basket while the two were battling for position. Watch video
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- JR Smith and Marcus Smart nearly exchanged blows during Saturday night's preseason matchup.
Then they exchanged words -- through the media.
"For a guy who wants to be so tough in this situation, he leads the league in flops. Easily," Smith said following the Cavaliers' 113-102 win. "You can't flop as much as you do and then be tough. How does that even work? And then you start slinging your teammates. Like, you didn't come to play basketball today. You knew he didn't want to play. Your coach told you you gotta play and you was frustrated. Then you try to take it out on somebody else.
"At the end of the day, I'm not going to sit here and lose money over trying to fight Marcus Smart. I'm not going to lose money over my (Supreme) tattoo, so why would I lose it over him?"
The incident, which occurred at the 3:38 mark of the first quarter -- about 30 seconds after Smith entered the game for the first time in the preseason -- actually began with Smith and Celtics center Aron Baynes getting locked up underneath the basket while the two were battling for position.
According to Smith, he was just trying to front the post, exactly what he's told to do when switched onto a big. That's when Smith said Baynes attempted to lock his arm and get a favorable whistle. When Baynes swung him twice before a stoppage, the Cavaliers' explosive shooting guard had enough.
"They still called a double foul, which was awkward," he said. "I was frustrated with the situation, he was clearly frustrated, so I pushed him. Y'all seen the rest."
Smith is listed at 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds. Baynes is 6-foot-10 and 260. So did Smith even think twice about mixing it up with Boston's imposing big man?
"Hell no, I've fought people bigger than me; I've fought people smaller than me," Smith said. "That ain't going to change. He whoop my ass, he whoop my ass."
Smith said he likes those kinds of skirmishes. He believes they are good for the game, good for the competition. It clearly fired up the crowd inside Quicken Loans Arena and sent a jolt through his teammates.
"It brings out the best in our team," Smith said. "We show how strong we are as a team, people got your back and that's what you need to see."
Following the game, as he was recapping the incident, Smith expressed his frustration with how the game is now being called. He believes the recent rule changes have led to the game becoming "too soft," preventing defenders from playing the way they are supposed to play.
It's hard to know where shoving a guy in the chest and creating a heated altercation comes into the equation, but that's the path Smith chose Saturday night, enlivening an exhibition game.
While Smith and Baynes were face-to-face, shouting at each other, Smart ran up shoved Smith him from behind. So angry, Smart kept charging forward while Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier tried to hold him back. Eventually Smart's teammates tackled him near the sideline just to keep the situation from escalating further.
As all of that was going on, Smith smiled and made a "chatterbox" motion with his hands.
"I don't know where that came from," Smith said of Smart's rage. "I don't know him. Obviously, we've played against each other for a couple years, but for the most part I don't know him. I don't even know where he's from. I knew he went to Oklahoma State and when he came out he was kind of a big deal. But I don't know him."
Well, they certainly got acquainted in the first quarter Saturday night and it adds a little more spice to the four meetings in the regular season.
Smith and Smart were each assessed a technical foul following a lengthy review. But only Smart was tossed out of the game.
"Once again, you get to pushing and shoving and I just wasn't having it," Smart said. "We went through this last year and I'm not trying to do it again. It is what it is. I did what I had to do [for] my teammates. Just like if it was me, my teammates would do the same thing.
"This is crazy, especially with me getting ejected for shoving. The same thing happened -- he shoved Baynes first. It is what it is. I did it. I owned up to it. I accept the consequences. I'm not afraid of that. Whatever comes with it, comes with it."
Smart, who was emotional after the game, said he didn't get any explanation from the officiating crew on why he was ejected. He doesn't care if any discipline comes his way either. On his way to the locker room, Smart seemed to make a gesture while Smith waved goodbye to him from midcourt.
Apparently, Smart was signaling for Smith to meet him in the back.
"I told him to come back to the back," Smart said. "All that on the court, we can handle that off the court. I ain't with that. And that's on my mama, may she rest in peace. Ain't no punk right here. Whatever happens, happens. JR knows where I'm at. Everyone knows where I'm at. It is what is."
JR and Smart looking hyped up for Conor/Khabib [?] pic.twitter.com/y8AIS9keX0-- Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 7, 2018
Check here for the live final-round leaderboard for the European Tour's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship 2018 on Sunday, Oct. 7, in Scotland.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Tyrrell Hatton (14-under) led by one shot entering the final round of the European Tour's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship 2018 on Sunday, Oct. 7, in Scotland. Marcus Fraser was in second place.
ALFRED DUNHILL LINKS CHAMPIONSHIP
Site: St. Andrews, Scotland.
Courses: Old Course at St. Andrews (Yardage: 7,307. Par: 72); Carnoustie GL (Yardage: 7,345. Par: 72); Kingsbarn GC (Yardage: 7,227. Par: 72)
Purse: $5 million. Winner's share: $833,333.
Television: Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Golf Channel.
Defending champion: Tyrrell Hatton.
Race to Dubai leader: Francesco Molinari.
Last tournament: Tom Lewis won the Portugal Masters.
Notes: U.S. Open and PGA champion Brooks Koepka is playing with his caddie, Ricky Elliott of Northern Ireland. Koepka, who began his career on the European Tour, previously played with his father. ... The tournament is patterned after the AT&T Pebble Beach, with professionals playing with an amateur partner over three courses before the final round at the Old Course. ... Koepka is among five Ryder Cup players in the field. The others are Tommy Fleetwood, Tony Finau, Hatton and Thorbjorn Olesen. Also playing are four vice captains -- Matt Kuchar, Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington and Robert Karlsson. ... Sponsor exemptions were given to Norman Xiong and Ken Duke. ... Harrington and Hatton are two-time winners of the event, which dates to 2001. ... Carnoustie plays as a par 72 for the Dunhill Links.
Next week: British Masters.
(Fact box from Associated Press.)
Conor McGregor tapped out in the fourth round of his comeback fight at UFC 229 against Khabib Nurmagomedov, who then climbed over the cage and set off a brawl by scuffling with another fighter in McGregor's corner on Saturday night.
LAS VEGAS -- Conor McGregor tapped out in the fourth round of his comeback fight at UFC 229 against Khabib Nurmagomedov, who then climbed over the cage and set off a brawl by scuffling with another fighter in McGregor's corner on Saturday night.
The wild scene occurred after McGregor (21-4) got caught in a choke by Nurmagomedov (27-0), who defended his lightweight belt with an impressive victory over the superstar who infamously attacked a bus carrying Nurmagomedov in Brooklyn last April.
But the Russian champion from Dagestan then exacerbated several months of hostilities between the fighters' camps. Nurmagomedov stepped away from the prone McGregor and immediately pointed at the Irishman's corner, shouting and throwing his mouthpiece.
The men in McGregor's corner appeared to respond with taunts, and Nurmagomedov climbed over the fence and fought with Dillon Danis, a Bellator welterweight who trains with McGregor. Meanwhile, two men apparently from Nurmagomedov's entourage entered the cage and sucker-punched McGregor, who defended himself before security personnel separated everyone.
Nurmagomedov and McGregor both left the ring before the championship belt could be put around Nurmagomedov's waist, and fans in the pro-Conor crowd threw beers and debris at Nurmagomedov on his way out. UFC President Dana White said he feared a melee in an arena if he awarded the belt to Nurmagomedov.
Both fighters' purses will be withheld pending an investigation by the Nevada Athletic Commission, White said. He also claimed three members of Nurmagomedov's entourage "are on their way to jail right now."
"I don't even know what to say right now," White said. "I'm just disgusted and sick over it. ... We had so much security and (police) here. I didn't see that one coming."
UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is a teammate of Nurmagomedov at their gym in San Jose, California. He attempted to calm Nurmagomedov after the bout.
"Two wrongs don't make it right," Cormier tweeted after the brawl. "Conor didn't deserve that. No one did. But some things aren't for fight promotion. Religion, family, country. Throwing stuff in Brooklyn. For Khabib it wasn't fight promotion, it was really personal. Diff culture man."
Nurmagomedov and McGregor made no secret of their mutual loathing in the past few months, and the UFC used footage of McGregor's attack on the bus to promote UFC 229, which could be the best-selling pay-per-view card in UFC history. McGregor lobbed several creative insults at Nurmagomedov during the promotion of this matchup, including labeling Nurmagomedov's manager, Ali Abdelaziz, as a "snitch terrorist rat."
The main event has been eagerly anticipated across the sport ever since McGregor threw a hand truck at a bus containing Nurmagomedov before a UFC show in Brooklyn last spring. McGregor was furious about a confrontation between Nurmagomedov and a member of McGregor's team earlier in the week.
McGregor was arrested after seriously hurting two other fighters with broken glass from the attack, but Nurmagomedov shrugged it off and won the lightweight title by beating Al Iaquinta. When McGregor agreed to return to the UFC, he eagerly accepted Nurmagomedov as his opponent.
Before the post-fight madness, Nurmagomedov firmly asserted his grappling dominance over McGregor's striking skill in the Irish superstar's first MMA bout in 23 months. McGregor hadn't been in a fight since losing his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather last year, and Nurmagomedov proved an insurmountably tough opponent for his comeback.
McGregor's dislike for Nurmagomedov likely fueled his decision to take a fight that created a difficult stylistic matchup for him. McGregor's strength is his striking, while Nurmagomedov is one of the most dominant grapplers in UFC history.
Four security guards separated the fighters while they didn't touch gloves before the bout, and Nurmagomedov went for a takedown in the opening minute while dominating the opening round.
Nurmagomedov staggered McGregor with a right hand early in the second round, but McGregor got up and landed a flying knee. Nurmagomedov made another takedown and steadily improved his position throughout a dominant round, eventually standing and raining down blows on the prone McGregor.
Nurmagomedov decided to stand and strike with McGregor in the third round, apparently unafraid of McGregor's famed power. McGregor landed several significant shots, but Nurmagomedov took them and eventually reasserted control against the cage.
McGregor did decent work in the fourth round before Nurmagomedov got control, climbed on McGregor's back and finally submitted the former two-division champion.
All three judges' scorecards favored Nurmagomedov 29-27, with the champion winning the second round 10-8 on all three cards. McGregor won the third round on every card.
--By Greg Beacham
Here's how to watch, listen to and stream the Browns-Ravens game on Sunday.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Browns return home on Sunday, looking for their first division win in nearly three years. The Ravens come to town with a 3-1 record. Here's how to watch, listen and stream it online.
Time: 1 p.m. EST
Location: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland.
TV: CBS, Ch. 19 Cleveland
* Play-by-play: Andrew Catalon; Analyst: James Lofton; Sideline: John Schriffen.
Radio: 92.3 The Fan (WKRK), ESPN 850 WKNR and WNCX (98.5).
* Play-by-play: Jim Donovan; Analyst: Doug Dieken; Sideline: Dustin Fox.
Spanish Radio: La Mega 87.7 FM
* Play-by-play: Rafael "Rafa" Hernandez-Brito; Analyst: Octavio Sequera
Streaming: fuboTV (free trial)
FuboTV is a paid affiliate of Advance Local Media LLC. Advance Local Media LLC may receive compensation if you access the FuboTV service through the link above.
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The Cleveland Browns have a 1-2-1 record after four games. It's been a season where the parts have been much better than the entire team.
THE QUARTERLY REPORT
General Manager John Dorsey divides the season into "quarters," sections of four games. I don't know what the quarterly report looks like to the Browns general manager, but here are some of my thoughts:
1. The draft has been a stunning success. The Browns have had three NFL Rookies of the Week. That's right, THREE in four weeks. Denzel Ward was the first. Then Baker Mayfield. Last week, it was Nick Chubb.
2. I don't recall the Browns ever having a draft class off to such a fast start. A concussion to Tyrod Taylor pushed Mayfield into action faster than planned. He's only played six quarters, but it's easy to see he's the Browns quarterback of the future. Will he be pretty good, or great? That won't be answered for a while.
3. Dorsey and the Browns have been smiling about all the Brett Farvre, John Elway and other lofty comparisons people away from the Browns have made about Mayfield. Way too early. But it's a safe projection that "pretty good" is the baseline for Mayfield's future -- with a lot of upside.
4. Mayfield and Ward are playing the two hardest positions for a rookie. Fans know that's true for a quarterback. But cornerback is nearly as demanding, especially when the rookie cornerback is covering the best receiver -- Ward is doing that.
5. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams on Ward: "He is one of the best I've ever had at separating the ball from the man at the end. He paints a picture for other guys on how to do it."
6. Williams means Ward is able to knock the ball out of the receiver's hands after it appears the receiver has caught the ball. It's high praise for the rookie from Ohio State and Nordonia.
7. Chubb is a second round pick who runs faster during games. Dorsey likes to say there is stopwatch speed - running the 40-yard dash for time - and game speed. Chubb seems even faster when tacklers are chasing him. Add in Carlos Hyde, and the Browns have two productive power runners.
8. So at the quarter pole, it seems the Browns have a quarterback, a running back and a cornerback making an impact as rookies.
9. Another front office move that is extremely promising is the decision to go with Desmond Harrison at left tackle. Ratings are subjective. Profootbalfocus (PFF) ranks Harrison No. 14 among the 61 offensive tackles who have played at least 50 percent of the snaps this season.
10. In his opening game against Pittsburgh, Harrison allowed his only sack of the season. He allowed five more "quarterback hurries." He was flagged for three penalties. It was the kind of game you'd expect from an undrafted rookie who played last season at D-2 West Georgia.
11. But in the last three games, Harrison has allowed zero sacks...one quarterback hit...seven "hurries." He was flagged for two penalties. Remember, that's in three games. He has settled down at left tackle. So add a fourth rookie to the category of making an impact.
12. Right tackle has been a bigger problem, where Chris Hubbard has a allowed a team-high three sacks. PFF ranks him No. 37 out of 61 tackles. The Brown believe the offensive line had its best game of the season in the 45-42 loss in Oakland. Mayfield was sacked twice. Overall, he had a lot of time to throw.
13. The Browns are upbeat about the line going forward. The five starters plus Mayfield have only played together slightly more than six quarters. Cohesion is a key to the offensive line, and the Browns are developing it. That said, they have yet to face a defense this season as challenging as the Baltimore defense when the Ravens come to town Sunday.
14. Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi have emerged as big-time defensive linemen in their second pro seasons. Williams raves about linebacker Joe Schobert, insisting Schobert is one of the best the coach has ever had in terms of organizing his defense and knowing the opponent's game plans.
15. Another rookie making an impact is Genard Avery, a fifth-round pass rusher from Memphis. He's had two sacks. PFF has him tied with several other players ranking second in the NFL with five quarterback hits.
16. The most underrated player on defense is Damarious Randall. He is the ideal free safety (or angel) for the scheme played by Williams. Randall was a cornerback for the Packers, but he was a free safety in college.
17. When Dorsey traded DeShone Kizer to Green Bay for Randall, it was with the plan to switch Randall to safety - something Williams wanted.
18. Williams on Dorsey: "I trust John Dorsey so much."
19. The Browns are still iffy at receiver. Josh Gordon is gone. Antonio Callaway has 10 catches and three dropped passes. He can make a big play, but often looks lost. He's a rookie who didn't play last season at Florida. Just as his natural physical talent is on display, so is his inexperience.
20. Jarvis Landry (24 catches, 3 drops) will improve the more he plays with Mayfield. Rashard Higgins has caught 13-of-17 passes thrown in his direction, but he has two drops. Overall, the receivers have been underperforming.
21. The Browns still don't know what to do with Duke Johnson. It could be simply a matter of offensive coordinator Todd Haley wanting Hyde and Chubb to receive the carries. Johnson should be implemented more in the passing game, especially given the struggles of some of the receivers.
22. I've written about it a lot: The special teams are a disaster. They are ranked dead last in most analytical ratings. This is a direct reflection on the coaching staff. No one is claiming the Browns should be in the top 10 in special teams. But how about being mediocre? They are a long way from that low standard.
23. Hue Jackson on special teams: "I spent time with the special teams...Me and (special teams coordinator) Amos (Jones) talked through some things along with (special teams coaching intern) Josh (Cribbs) and (special teams assistant) Sam (Shade). Hopefully, we will be better in that area."
24. The Browns have lost two more games by a 3-point margin. They are 1-9-1 in games decided by three or fewer points in the 36 games coached by Jackson. That is an issue.
25. The officials did cost the game in Oakland, at least to some extent. Two blown calls at key parts of the game set up the overtime. But the defense also fell apart in clutch moments. In the overtime period, the offense had a quick 3-and-out.
26. This team has a 1-2-1 record because it doesn't know how to win games. Players don't make big plays. Coaches may not make the best calls. With the Browns, there is a sense of the parts being far better than the whole.
27. To be fair to Jackson, he has a new coaching staff on offense. It's obvious Jackson and Haley are still working things out in terms of the best way to build an offense around Mayfield.
28. Since Mayfield took over, the Browns have scored 63 points in slightly more than six quarters. They had 39 points in the previous 10 quarters. It's not all Mayfield, but he's made a difference.
29. The Browns are in that rut where when the defense plays well (Pittsburgh and New Orleans), the offense struggles. And when the offense is good (in Oakland), the defense has a hard time.
30. Finally, the special teams usually have a major breakdown every week. That is something to watch in the next four games. Can this coaching staff make some improvements?
Doug and Bill answer your questions following Ohio State's 49-26 win over Indiana.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- We're breaking down Ohio State's 49-26 win over Indiana on a postgame episode of our Buckeye Talk Podcast.
Doug Lesmerises and Bill Landis answer your questions on the Buckeyes following the win, most of which registered as concerned following a game in which OSU had 600 yards of offense and held Indiana to 89 yards in the second half, but also got bit by a handful of big plays again and gave up 300 yards to the Hoosiers in a back-and-forth first half.
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.
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Cleveland Browns try to knock off Baltimore Ravens with rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns (1-2-1) play the Baltimore Ravens (3-1) today at FirstEnergy Stadium and all eyes will be on Baker Mayfield as he tries to knock the Ravens off their perch and win Cleveland's first divisional game since they beat the Ravens in 2015.
Mayfield has been getting plenty of accolades for his performance since taking over for Tyrod Taylor late in the first half against the New York Jets. His accuracy, his quick release, his mobility in the pocket, his leadership and his physical stature have led some to compare him with Drew Brees.
Now the Ravens' defensive coordinator is weighing in, a comparing Mayfield to Hall of Famers Brett Favre and John Elway, heady stuff, considering Mayfield hasn't won a game he started yet.
Sure, the hype is mostly a coach trying to motivate his defense, but watching Mayfield, it doesn't seem that farfetched.
Crowquill, by Plain Dealer artist Ted Crow, appears three times a week in The Plain Dealer and on cleveland.com.