The View Beyond Pluto

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The Cleveland Indians are a major-league best 30-12 since June 4. It's been quite the turnaround for a team that many fans had all but written off in May. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says the hot streak likely has the team rethinking its strategy of trading a star player to start the rebuilding process. 

Streaking after the All-Star break
The Indians have come a long way since June 2.

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The Cleveland Browns have just wrapped up their mandatory mini-camp and won't return to the field for another six weeks. Our commentator Terry Pluto says based on what he's seen, it's not going to be hard for fans to get excited this year. But there are plenty of off-the-field distractions as the new-look team tries to mesh. 

Photo of Kawhi Leonard.
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The Toronto Raptors are making their first ever NBA Finals appearance against the Golden State Warriors. The series is tied 1-1 as of Tuesday. Our sports commentator Terry Pluto says the Raptors took a big gamble and made some sacrifices that ended up paying off. 

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For the first time in franchise history, the Toronto Raptors have made it to the NBA Finals. The team's biggest roadblock: LeBron James. The Cavs with James had beaten Toronto in the playoffs three straight years, including a sweep last year. But the door opened when James left the Eastern Conference to play for the L.A. Lakers. Now, The Raptors will take on the depfending champion Golden State Warriors in the Finals. Our commentator Terry Pluto says the Raptors are no longer "the little team that could."

a photo of Odell Beckham Jr
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The revamped Cleveland Browns are participating in OTA practices this week in Berea with new star wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. in attendance. 

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When the NFL draft begins Thursday it will be different for the Cleveland Browns. Typically, the draft is full of both excitement and anxiety for Browns fans used to losing seasons and a carousel of quarterbacks, coaches and general managers. 

But this year, WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto thinks the Browns look more like a team headed for the playoffs than the bottom of the league. That means a lot of pressure is off the team come draft day.

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A wave of emotions washed over the Cleveland Browns and their fans this week after the team introduced star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham was acquired in a blockbuster trade with the New York Giants last month. The press conference Monday electrified the kick off of the Browns offseason workouts. But WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says the hype may be premature. 

A strong team asset, when he's healthy
Pluto says Beckham Jr. is a steal for the team, but only if he can stay healthy.  

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As the Indians get close to wrapping up spring training, our sports commentator Terry Pluto caught up with team owner Paul Dolan to talk business. The team has steadily increased payroll from $49 million in 2011 to $135 million in 2018. Pluto says for 2019, the payroll will be around $120 million.

"Dolan says for the last several years they've been deficit spending. And if you look at how the Indians spent compared to Kansas City, Pittsburgh or Cincinnati, or other teams in their market size, they outspent them."

The Cleveland Indians have had quite the offseason, from free agents departing to players recovering from injuries. Our commentator Terry Pluto is in Goodyear, Arizona this week with the team for spring training, and he says there's still a lot of unanswered questions about the lineup for this season.

Pluto says he usually heads to training knowing what the Indians' roster is, but this year is a bit different; it's still a mystery as to who the outfielders will be. 

What about the outfield?

Kevin Love
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The Cleveland Cavaliers have had a very rough season — they're the third worst team in the NBA. But recently, they have garnered a few wins. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto explained what changed and how it bodes well for the future.

After former Cavs player LeBron James left for the L.A. Lakers in July, the team had one veteran who the players could lean on: forward Kevin Love. 

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Cleveland Indians star pitcher Trevor Bauer has been making headlines in the past week. For the second year, Bauer went to arbitration over his contract.

WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says one thing that came out of the hearing is Bauer's declaration that he will seek one-year contracts for the rest of his career. Pluto says that's bad for the game. 

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The Indians had one of the worst bullpens in baseball last season, and now sports commentator Terry Pluto says it's time to rebuild. Two key relievers who were free agents have officially signed with other teams: Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. 

 

The Cavs snapped their 12-game losing streak this past Sunday and it was against the L.A. Lakers. That’s former Cavs star LeBron James’ new team. No, they didn’t beat LeBron James.  James missed his 11th straight game with a groin injury. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says it shows just how much a franchise player means to a team.

“These are the Cavs without Kevin Love, Larry Nance, Jr., Rodney Hood has had a bad foot and Tristan Thompson’s on a knee that’s not 100 percent. Yeah, the Lakers don’t have LeBron, but they’re at home and the Cavs can’t beat anybody.”

The Browns are building momentum. At 5-7-1, they still have a slim chance of making the playoffs. And, while that’s unlikely this season, rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield is giving fans reason to believe. But, Mayfield had a message to fans after Sunday’s win over the Carolina Panthers: Show up to the last home game against the Bengals in two weeks. 

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says it’s hard for fans to relate to that sentiment, because Mayfield wasn’t around when the team went 1-31 with just one playoff berth since the team returned in 1999.

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Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield had his first bad game as a rookie last weekend. Cleveland lost to the Houston Texans, 29-13. 

Mayfield threw three interceptions in the first half and completed just five passes for 46 yards. "He's just running around and firing it into the end zone and praying. And there's a Browns guy surrounded by what seemed like 47 defenders," WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto said. 

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The Browns have their first two-game win streak since 2014. Their win last Sunday over the Bengals also ended a 25-game road losing streak. Now, the team faces a tough challenge. They head to Houston to take on the Texans, who are on a winning streak of their own - eight straight games.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says Houston has one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, Deshaun Watson. "He was drafted No. 12 in the 2017 draft. The Browns had the chance to take him. Instead they traded down and Texas traded for that pick and selected the Clemson standout."

The Browns return from their bye week with a big game this Sunday on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals.

WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says the team has a chance to build on its convincing win over Atlanta two weeks ago and end two bad streaks:

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The Indians are getting set to make some big changes in the offseason. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto said he got some inside information about what the team is planning to do first.

The team has more than five players who are now free agents, and it’s likely that most of them will be gone.

The Cleveland Browns bounced back from their week 4 loss against the Oakland Raiders with a big win against the Baltimore Ravens. With a record of 2-2-1, every game has been a close call, and WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says that's exactly what's making it fun for Browns fans.

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A quarter of the season down, the Browns have already drastically improved from last year with a record of 1-2-1. Still, WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says the team doesn't know how to win close games.

  

The Browns' week four 45-42 overtime loss to Oakland was the second game the team has lost this season by fewer than three points. And, it's becoming a bad pattern. "Right now the Browns are 1-9-1 in games decided by three or fewer points,” Pluto says. 

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The Cavs began training camp this week on a much different tone. The face of the franchise, LeBron James, departed in the off season for the L.A. Lakers. 

Terry Pluto said there's lots of mixed emotions. Some players are excited to see more playing time, while fans are bracing for a season of uncertainty. 

Pluto says with James gone, there's no guarantee the team will even make the playoffs.

photo of Josh Gordon
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After five seasons and playing just 11 games, the Josh Gordon saga is over in Cleveland. The Browns have traded Gordon to the New England Patriots.  The team had been patient with Gordon, whose battle with addiction has kept him sidelined for the bulk of his career.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto explored why New England is taking a chance on the troubled athlete.

A Need for a Quarterback

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The latest controversy for MLB teams and analysts seems to come from an unlikely place: Newly-acquired Indians third baseman Josh Donaldson's calf injury. Teams including the Yankees and the Red Sox are crying foul, arguing that Donaldson should not have been allowed to go on the disabled list after the Indians traded for him.

But WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says those teams should quit complaining about the trade because the Indians are already taking a gamble on Donaldson.

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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has long been a fan-favorite, but the team has developed a dilemma this season.

"Based on when he's healthy, he plays well. When's he not, he doesn't," WKSU commentator Terry Pluto said.