- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
CLEVELAND -- Indians GM Chris Antonetti was asked about how many relievers the Indians intend to carry on their roster in Wednesday night’s AL wild-card game, and he laughed and said that Terry Francona’s preference is to carry about two dozen, so that he can play match up.
Antonetti was joking, but in the playoffs -- and especially in a one-game, winner-take-all situation -- the baseball that we know disappears, replaced by something that more closely resembles speed chess wrapped up in a drag race.
Players and managers are conditioned over the course of the long summer to hone their sense of urgency, to strike a balance between the need for immediate results and to not allow themselves to be overcome by anxiety. But in a one-game playoff, anxiety is the norm; adrenaline is inherent for the managers and the players.