Wakeup Call: Manage without me, says Lowell

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Wakeup Call: Manage without me, says Lowell

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, October 9:

BASEBALL
The Orioles tied up their series against the Yankees, and now head to New York needing to win two out of three. Thing is, they've already done exactly that this year . . . twice. (CSN Baltimore)

Dan Duquette's enjoying the ride. (CSN Baltimore)

Now that's the Jim Johnson we remember! (NBCs Hardball Talk)

Buck Showalter's not a big fan of some Orioles marketer's bright idea: The BUCKleUp campaign. (CSN Baltimore)

So that's a single, a walk, and five strikeouts in 10 plate appearances for Alex Rodriguez so far in the ALDS. Any wonder cries to remove him from the No. 3 spot in the order have begun? (Hardball Talk)

The Cardinals bounced back nicely in Game 2. (AP)

The Nationals worked all year for home-field advantage, and this is why. (CSN Washington)

Eight years ago the Red Sox asked, "Why not us?" Now the A's, in an 0-2 hole to the Tigers, ask, "Why the hell not?" (CSN Bay Area)

Sometimes, says Al Alburquerque, a kiss is just a kiss. (CSN Bay Area)

With their season hanging by a thread, the Giants aren't going to entrust things to Tim Lincecum. (AP)

There are managing jobs open in Boston and Colorado right now, and it's expected Miami will have one very soon. Mike Lowell, however, says don't bother calling me. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Jerry Sandusky will be sentenced today. (AP)

Remember Al Groh, a Patriots assistant under Bill Parcells who also was head coach of the Jets and the University of Virginia? He's out of a job. (AP)

Jimbo Fisher's catching some heat at Florida State, but he's not second-guessing himself for some questionable calls in the Seminoles' 17-16 loss at North Carolina State. (AP)

Every number in Miami is trending the wrong way except one: The ACC won-loss record. (AP)

Iowa apparently isn't going let a little thing like an arrest keep Michah Hyde from playing against Michigan State this weekend. (AP)

GOLF
Tiger Woods had two words to his teammates for his Ryder Cup performance: I'm sorry. (golfchannel.com)

Still, he'd like to captain the team . . . some day. (AP)

HOCKEY
With each passing hour the owners are realizing -- or should be realizing -- that this is not their fathers' NHLPA, not with the Fehrs in charge. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk) Whether this changes their traditional take-no-prisoners negotiating strategy remains to be seen.

The Caps' Karl Alzner is getting a "pox on both their houses" vibe from the fans. (CSN Washington)

The Blackhawks players, tired of running their own practices, have hired a coach to do it for them. (CSN Chicago)

PRO BASKETBALL
Kobe Bryant may not be at the finish line just yet, but he can see it. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

So were we, Marcus. So were we. (CSN Houston)

Remember Tracy McGrady's close relationship with Yao Ming during their days in Houston? In the business world, they call that "networking". (Pro Basketball Talk)

Maybe McGrady will run into the Heat when he starts his new job. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
The Texans are still unbeaten, thanks to their 23-17 win over the Jets. But not unbloodied, thanks to an injury to linebacker Brian Cushing. (CSN Houston)

The NFL is about to lose one of its former greats, as Alex Karras apparently has only days to live. (AP)

Sounds like James Harrison has learned his lesson after all these years. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Terrell Suggs is a fast healer . . . but not that fast. (Pro Football Talk)

Now RGIII, he's a fast healer. (AP)

The rigors of NFL season are beginning to take their toll. The casualty list heading into Week Six: Troy Polamalu out, Ryan Williams gone for the year, Jake Locker still sidelined and Matt Cassel unlikely. (All AP)

At least Joe Haden didn't pull out the "I didn't know what I was taking" line. (AP)

Fumbles, schmumbles. Right, Michael Vick? (CSN Philly)

Red Sox-Indians ALDS matchup becoming increasingly likely

Red Sox-Indians ALDS matchup becoming increasingly likely

BOSTON - The Red Sox knew they'd be in the playoffs last weekend when they clinched a postseason berth for the first time since 2013.

On Wednesday, they became division champs and knew they'd avoided the dreaded wild-card game.

ANALYSIS: Nick Friar looks at potential Red Sox-Indians matchup

They still don't know their first-round opponent, though it's becoming increasingly likely that it will be the Cleveland Indians.

Here's why: the Red Sox' loss to the Yankees on Thursday night leaves them with a 92-67 record with three games remaining, the second-best mark -- for now -- among the three A.L. division winners.

The Texas Rangers, at 94-65, retain the best record, with the Indians, at 91-67, a half-game behind the Sox.

The team with the best record of the three will enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed, and will be matched against the winner of Tuesday's A.L. wild-card matchup.

To finish with the A.L.'s best record and host the wild-card winner, the Red Sox essentially need to sweep the Toronto Blue Jays on the final weekend and hope that the Rangers get swept by Tampa Bay.

That's because a tie between the Red Sox and Rangers in the standings would make the Rangers the top seed by virtue of the second tie-breaker: intra-division play.

(The first tie-breaker is head-to-head play; the Sox and Rangers split the season series, sending them to the second tie-breaker).

In other words, the Rangers have a magic number of one to clinch the best record in the A.L. and gain home-field advantage throughout the postseason. One more Red Sox loss or one more Rangers win would get the Rangers locked into the top spot.

Again, barring a sweep by the Sox and the Rangers getting swept, a matchup in the Division Series with Cleveland seems almost inevitable.

What's not known is where that series will begin, and here's where it gets tricky.

Because the Indians and Detroit Tigers were rained out Thursday, the Tribe will have played only 161 games by the time the regular season ends early Sunday evening.

That could force the Indians and Tigers to play a makeup game on Monday, since the game could have playoff seeding implications for the Indians and Tigers. Detroit is still in the running for the A.L. wild card spot, currently a game-and-a-half behind the Orioles and Jays.

Since the Red Sox won the season series against the Indians 4-2, the Sox can clinch home field by winning two-of-three games from Toronto this weekend.

Should the Sox win two from the Jays, it would wipe out the need for Monday's makeup -- at least as far as the Indians are concerned. It's possible that it would still need to be played to determine the one of the wild card spots.

No matter who wins home field in a likely Red Sox-Indians matchup, the Division Series between the two will start with games next Thursday and Friday. After a travel day, the series would resume Sunday and Monday, Oct. 9-10.

Should the Sox win home field and host the first two games, Game 3 would be played Sunday Oct. 9 in Cleveland -- on the same day and in the same city where Tom Brady will make his return to the Patriots.