For the Indians, it’s blackjack

Ramirez and Lindor are only two Indians with a lot to celebrate as it seems they've forgotten entirely how to lose . . .

Ramirez and Lindor are only two Indians with a lot to celebrate as it seems they’ve forgotten entirely how to lose . . .

Twenty-one means blackjack. Or, the name of the show proving the wick that lit the powder keg of the legendarily notorious quiz show scandal of 1959. In Cleveland, it means American League history. And, for the time being, anyway, invincibility.

Look out, 1935 Chicago Cubs? Step aside, 1916 New York Giants? The Indians aren’t that crazy no matter how invincible they feel after finishing off the teetering Tigers 5-3 Wednesday afternoon. But you wouldn’t blame them for thinking about it, either.

Jays could take Rangers badges and minds

Tulowitzki (left) and Bautista bump wrists after crossing the plate on Tulo's bomb . . .

Tulowitzki (left) and Bautista bump wrists after crossing the plate on Tulo’s second-inning bomb . . .

Police brutality—by or against—is a horrible thing. Unless you’re the Toronto Blue Jays against the Texas Rangers in the first two American League division games. The set goes to Toronto with the Rangers very much in danger of losing not only their badges but their minds.

Name one Ranger who expected to get destroyed 15-3 over the course of the two games. Name one who expected Cole Hamels to get billyclubbed for seven runs (six earned) in three and a third in Game One, or possibly still-slightly-ailing Yu Darvish to get bludgeoned for as many home runs as he had strikeouts in Game Two.

Buck Showalter didn’t do Tuesday what he did do in July

Buck Showalter, after refusing to do Tuesday what he did in July cost him and his Orioles a season . . .Charlie Dressen (Ralph Branca over Carl Erskine, 1951), phone home. Casey Stengel (Jim Coates and Ralph Terry over Luis Arroyo, 1960), there’s a call for you on line 60. Mike Matheny (Michael Wacha over Trevor Rosenthal, 2014), come out from under the rug.

All is forgiven. Buck Showalter died for your sins Tuesday night and slaughtered the Orioles’ season while he was at it.

Showalter wasn’t even close to the first manager ever to make the wrong bullpen decision in a postseason win-or-be-gone game. But he may yet prove the most ignominious. Especially because the decision he refused to make Tuesday night was one he made on 31 July—and got the result he could have gotten Tuesday making the same move.

Showalter’s vapour lets the Jays have a blast

Encarnacion, dropping his bat from a high hand, acknowledging he knows what he's just hit is sending the Blue Jays to an ALDS . . .

Encarnacion, dropping his bat from a high hand, acknowledging he knows what he’s just hit is sending the Blue Jays to an ALDS . . .

You can ask yourselves which is going to hurt for the longest time. Will it be Ubaldo Jimenez, after surrendering a wild card game-winning three-run homer on the first pitch to Edwin Encarnacion in the bottom of the eleventh Tuesday night? Or will it be Buck Showalter, after he’s roasted all the way around the Beltway for leaving Jimenez in rather than bringing in Zach Britton.

Let the intrigues begin in earnest . . .

They barely have the streets swept clean following the Kansas City Royals’ World Series parade, and the off-season intrigues have begun in earnest. OK, a couple began when it barely began sinking in that the New York Mets had blown a Series they actually could have won, or when Don Mattingly left the Los Angeles Dodgers and became the Miami Marlins’ new manager. But let’s start looking:

Rios, who forgot how many outs there were when he caught this Game Four fly . . .

Rios, who forgot how many outs there were when he caught this Game Four fly . . .

Watching the Wheels

This is one way to get even for a plunk an inning earlier . . .

This is one way to get even for a plunk an inning earlier . . .

* Don’t look now, but the Toronto Blue Jays are turning the American League East into a potential all-out war to the wire. An eleven-game winning streak approaching the All-Star break does that for you. And don’t discount the morale boost when that streak includes thumping the Texas Rangers 24-4 over four games, the Colorado Rockies 15-5 in three, and the Baltimore Orioles, a division rival, 24-13, in three, including that 13-5 fricaseeing Sunday. And to think Sunday’s carnage only began when Edwin Encarnacion scored with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the first after Freddy Garcia plunked Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia on the first pitch. Encarnacion got his payback an inning later, driving one over the left field fence with Jose Bautista aboard—and two out.