It doesn’t get a whole lot better than what transpired yesterday for Cleveland fans. The Indians won their tenth straight game to take the top spot in the American League Wild Card race and secure a playoff game at home on Wednesday night. The Browns beat the Cincinnati Bengals to climb into a three-way tie atop the AFC North.
Folks, welcome to the best Victory Monday in recent memory.
The Indians deserve priority here, as their season could not have ended on a better note. Even Rob Chudzinski opened his presser this morning in Berea by asking the media if they were wearing their Tribe gear. Terry Francona, Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, and Jason Giambi have been everything Chris Antonetti envisioned when they all got on board ahead of Spring Training in February. The aggressiveness of not only Antonetti but the Dolans to open up the check book deserves a round of applause, and it has paid off in a big way.
Zack Meisel echos those sentiments and more in his recap of the regular season today on Cleveland.com, which is excellent.
Tickets for Wednesday night’s Wild Card showdown at Progressive Field are sold out, but you can still get your tickets for potential ALDS games against the Boston Red Sox here. I did, so it’s definitely what the hip kids are doing.
Tonight, we all get to sit back and take a breather while the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays use up pitching that the Indians don’t have to before heading to Cleveland. David Price will go for the Rays against Texas’ Martin Perez in Arlington. Everyone should be watching to ensure that we all have a proper scouting report ahead of Wednesday night’s game. As the postseason fever gets going in earnest, it’s time to go all in if you haven’t already.
Final note on the Indians for now, go buy at least two more t-shirts than you really need right now.
Now is a good time to repeat that the Cleveland Browns (!?) are now on a two-Victory Monday streak. Chud proved again this morning why he’s tied with Francona for the coolest coach in the world with his presser-opening comments, and the team on the field hasn’t been too bad either.
For another week, at least one Cleveland running back (this week it was both) had a better average per carry than Trent Richardson. That means that Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi still look smart, which can be best described as annoyingly strange greatness.
For another week, Brian Hoyer is still every Clevelander’s hero. While he has certainly benefitted from the excellent form of Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron, Hoyer has been impressive in his own right. Cincinnati’s defensive backfield was depleted on Sunday, but the St. Ignatius alum improved from his first start of the year and didn’t throw a pick. Marvin Lewis would have taken him over Andy Dalton, and probably would from here on out because Dalton is awful.
If you haven’t heard…
Hoyer is the new Brady. Someone had to say it.
— Believing Since 1999 (@BS1999CLE) September 29, 2013
For the first time this season, the Browns find themselves in the thick of a playoff race, and the fact that it’s only September can’t kill my vibe.
This has all been helped by the fact that the defense has flourished under new coordinator Ray Horton. Barkevious Mingo continues to prove his worth as a top-ten pick, and was outstanding in his first career NFL start. If you’re curious as to just how good the defense has been, they’re 9th in the league against the pass and 4th against the rush. Those two stats alone don’t paint the whole picture, but they’re a telling snapshot.
On another defensive note, Buster Skrine has been the Ryan Raburn of the Browns, making me happily eat my words one outstanding play at a time.
Just to make sure nobody’s left out in this joyous Monday, the Cavs open up camp tomorrow and had their Media Day festivities today. Here’s three quick takeaways from the day at Cleveland Clinic Courts:
– DeSagana Diop is back.
– Breath enhancement is just the latest in the ever-changing world of enhancements.
Indians are up next on Wednesday, Browns will follow on Thursday Night Football. Tomorrow’s already Tuesday. This is all happening so fast.