CLEVELAND — The Indians can write a remarkable story this weekend.
Rewrite it, to be more accurate.
Chasing down the Minnesota Twins for a second time this season is once again possible with a sweep at Progressive Field.
The Twins' lead is 3 1/2 games. The Indians have their pitching set in such a way that if the Twins don’t win Friday behind Jake Odorizzi, they will have to beat Mike Clevinger or Shane Bieber to avoid three losses to a team that caught them once earlier in the season and hasn't gone away.
Make that starting pitching set.
Closer Brad Hand’s fatigue — the MRI came back clean — will likely require manager Terry Francona to go with a closer-by-committee approach in the three-game series (and maybe beyond).
Hand hasn't pitched well for a while. His absence could lead to a better alternative frankly, providing the Indians are in position in these games to need a closer.
Even one loss to the Twins could give Minnesota enough cushion to ride out the final two weeks of the season in first place.
But the Twins have their own injury issues and recently lost pitcher Michael Pineda to a 60-game suspension.
So I’m picking the Indians to sweep and the race to go down to the final week.
And I haven’t been wrong since picking the Browns over the Titans.
- Odell Beckham says players have told him former Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams urged them to target Beckham when the Browns played the Giants in the preseason in 2017.
He says the injury he suffered on a low tackle by Browns defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun not only cost him the season opener that year but eventually led to a fractured ankle.
”It's preseason. It's like a known rule. Like in preseason, nobody in the NFL is really out to do stuff like that," Beckham told reporters. "I had players on this team telling me that that's what he was telling them to do -- 'take me out of the game' -- and it's preseason. So, you just know who he is. Just that's the man ... calling the plays.”
Targeting a player to get him out of a preseason game seems crazy even by Bounty Gate standards.
If that's true, you’d expect to hear other opponents claiming Williams targeted them in the regular season when it mattered.
And we haven’t heard that.
But I guess if Beckham’s claim draws one questionable roughness penalty on the Jets defense Monday, then creating this noise will have served a purpose.
- Antonio Brown will wear No. 1 with the Patriots.
Only because rules prohibit wearing the letter “I.”
- Bill Belichick says the Patriots are taking sexual assault charges against Brown “seriously," meaning they will seriously try to get the most out of him as long as he’s allowed to play for them.
- Agent Drew Rosenhaus was quick to say Brown will be cleared of the allegations brought against him by a former personal trainer in a civil suit.
If only that were the same as being innocent of those charges, everyone involved would feel better about the first glimpse of themselves in the bathroom mirror every morning.
- What to make of the Mets scoring nine runs on 11 hits on the anniversary of 9/11?
Since rain postponed a game between the Tigers and Yankees that same night and don't know whether the Yankees would have scored exactly the same number of runs on the same number of hits, we can’t just say what the Mets did was coincidence.
Though it was.
- LeBron James attempt to trademark “Taco Tuesday” was initially denied on what we want to now call “Waste of Time Wednesday.”
- The ruling said the term “Taco Tuesday” was too common to trademark.
"The applied-for mark is a commonplace term, message, or expression widely used by a variety of sources that merely conveys an ordinary, familiar, well-recognized concept or sentiment message," the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said.
James camp says the filing accomplished what the NBA star sought — to ensure that his use of the term in his family videos cannot result in trademark infringement.
OK, then. Was someone threatening that?
If he needs any further consolation — or just something to do — he can celebrate the fact that he’s as unlikely to be sued for using “Taco Tuesday” as Ohio State is for using “The.”
- Now, can we all go back to worrying about something important — like Odell Beckham Jr.’s watch?
- Beckham on the talk about the $190,000 Richard Mille watch he wore during the Titans game: “If it ain’t this, it would’ve been the way I tied my shoes.”
Only if he tied them with streamers or live snakes.
- Chances are if anyone else wore a $190,000 watch during a NFL game, someone would ask why they wore a $190,000 watch during a NFL game.
Or any other watch.
- Beckham would like everyone to stop noticing the non-football stuff he does to get noticed. Is that so wrong?
- Now let him drive his orange Rolls with the popup hood ornament in the anonymity he so desperately seeks.
- Freddie Kitchens said after the Titans loss that nobody thought the Browns would go 16-0 anyway.
But as long as the problems that arose in that Titans game don’t get fixed 0-16 is still in play.
- If the Browns cut their penalties in half against the Jets, they’ll still get whistled nine times for 91 yards. And to beat the Jets while doing that will require Sam Darnold to come down with a case of mono.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their seventh straight NL West division title this week, proving that a lot of money goes a long way.
- Fearful prediction: Browns 23, Jets 13.
- Have a weekend.