Carrasco Looks to Lead Tribe to Sweep in ALDS Game 3 Against Yankees
Bob Toth | On 08, Oct 2017
If momentum is a thing in Major League Baseball, one would have to think it is firmly on the side of the Cleveland Indians. They will look to ride that wave to an American League Division Series clinching win on Sunday night in the Bronx as the Indians face off with the host New York Yankees.
If a team is able to put up six runs against Corey Kluber, there should be no circumstance in which that team loses. In the same game that the Indians also lost star slugger Edwin Encarnacion with what look like a horrific right ankle injury, the Indians methodically chipped away at a five-run Yankees lead, cutting the gap to one on a grand slam from Francisco Lindor, an eighth inning solo shot from Jay Bruce to tie the game, highly effective relief pitching in between, and a perfectly placed walk-off single down the third base line by Yan Gomes in the 13th inning to give the Indians an improbable 9-8 come from behind victory in a game that will be talked about by many for years, if not decades, to come.
The Yankees will need a victory in Game 3 to force another game in the series. A win for the Tribe and starter Carlos Carrasco will complete the sweep and send the team home to await the start of the ALCS against the winner of Houston and Boston, which could potentially be decided before the Indians and Yankees even take the field on Sunday night.
Thursday, 10/5 – CLEVELAND 4, New York 0
Friday, 10/6 – CLEVELAND 9, New York 8
Sunday, 10/8, 7:38 PM ET at NYY – RHP Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74) vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco (18-6, 3.29)
*Monday, 10/9, 7:08 PM ET at NYY – RHP Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98) vs. TBA
*Wednesday, 10/11, 8:08 PM ET at CLE – TBA vs. TBA
TV – FS1 (10/8, 10/9, 10/11)
Radio (all) – ESPN Radio; Cleveland Indians Radio Network; WFAN 660/101.9 FM (New York)
Cody Anderson (SP) – out for season – right elbow surgery
Dylan Baker (P) – 60-day disabled list (9/1) – undisclosed
Edwin Encarnacion (DH) – day-to-day – right ankle sprain
Brandon Guyer (OF) – left wrist soreness
Boone Logan (RP) – 60-day disabled list (7/20) – left lat muscle
Bradley Zimmer (OF) – expected to miss rest of season (9/11) – surgery on broken fourth metacarpal in left hand
GAME 3 NOTES
Encarnacion jammed and then rolled his right ankle into second base in the bottom of the first inning of the Indians’ 9-8 win on Friday night. An MRI on the ankle confirmed a sprain, one that will keep him out of the starting lineup on Sunday. Given how the play looked live, it is amazing that he has not been scrapped for the rest of the ALDS and the possible ALCS with the sprain, but manager Terry Francona has said that he could even be considered for a pinch-hitting opportunity, depending on how he is feeling. To be fair, Encarnacion was on crutches in New York on Saturday.
“I don’t think he’s going to start tomorrow, but he’s not been ruled out, either,” shared Francona at Saturday’s media session in New York. “So we’ll take our time and allow him to continue to get treatment. But if he’s that close to being available, that’s a really good sign.
“We’ll let them do their stuff [Sunday] and then we’ll see where he’s at,” Francona continued. “He might be able to pinch-hit. He might not be able to pinch-hit. He might be able to DH. We’ll see. There’s no way to know yet.”
If there were an MVP award for ALDS play, Bruce’s name would be at the top of that short list. The veteran right fielder and late season acquisition by the Indians is 3-for-9 through two games in the series with a double, two homers, and four RBI.
Lindor has just one hit in ten plate appearances so far in the postseason, but that one hit was the big game-changing grand slam on Friday. He has also drawn three walks, tied for the most in baseball in the league championship series.
Castro is 4-for-10 in the ALDS with three singles, a double, a run scored, and one run batted in for the Yankees.
Judge is tied for the LDS lead in walks with three, but is also tops in the AL in five strikeouts (half of his plate appearances). In ten trips total, he is 0-for-7 with three walks.
GAME 3 PITCHING NOTES
Carrasco comes into action on Sunday riding a six-game winning streak, which included a perfect 5-0 record in six starts in September while posting a 1.48 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. He has not lost since August 22, when he allowed six runs in six and two-thirds innings in a second rough outing against Boston this season.
The 30-year-old righty made just one start against the Yankees this season, nearly a year to the day of his previous start against them. As has been the case for Carrasco in his last three starts against New York, he took the loss after allowing five runs on six hits in five and two-thirds innings. He last defeated the Yankees on August 21, 2015, when he allowed a run on five hits with a walk and eleven strikeouts in six and two-thirds innings. He has a 4-5 career mark against them in eleven appearances (nine starts) with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP.
Carrasco was moved into a start in Game 3 instead of a start at Progressive Field in large part due to his success away from home again this season. His eleven road wins were tied for the most in all of baseball this year. His 2.65 ERA was third to New York’s Severino (2.24) and teammate Clevinger (2.45) in the American League. His 119 road Ks were tied for fourth in MLB.
It was in New York a few years ago that Carrasco made his return to the starting rotation after being banished to the bullpen due to his struggles in the rotation. He has not forgotten that game and what it meant to his career, as his coaching staff, especially pitching coach Mickey Callaway and then-bullpen coach Kevin Cash pushed for a second chance for the right-hander and he rewarded their faith in him.
It will be the first postseason appearance of Carrasco’s career after missing all of the playoffs last season while injured.
Tanaka had an up and down season on the mound for the Yankees, but certainly saved his best for last in his final start of the regular season. In a home start against the Toronto Blue Jays and in his second straight start against the division rivals, he fired seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball and struck out a career-high 15 batters while walking none in moving above the .500 mark with his 13th win of the season.
The 28-year-old right-hander has faced the Indians four times in his career as a starter, posting a 1-2 record in the process. The one win came last August, when he allowed just one earned run on six hits in six innings of work. He had previously allowed 16 runs (11 earned) in 17 1/3 innings against them.
As is the case for Carrasco, it will be the first postseason action for Tanaka. The 2014 AL All-Star has averaged 13 wins a season during his four-year MLB career with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Like the Indians and Yankees, the Astros and Red Sox were idle as their ALDS series shifted from Houston to Boston for Game 3, with the AL West winners leading the series, 2-0. The two clubs will resume their series Sunday afternoon from Fenway Park.
The Los Angeles Dodgers continued their series against the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday and claimed an 8-5 victory to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five series in the National League Division Series. A four-run Dodgers’ fifth inning proved to be too much for the Diamondbacks to overcome.
The Chicago Cubs blew a 3-1 lead in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals, which rallied for five runs in the home half of the frame and held on for a 6-3 win on Saturday. Bryce Harper tied the game with a two-run home run and several batters later, Ryan Zimmerman just cleared the wall in left field for a three-run home run to break the 3-3 tie.
Game 4, if necessary, between the Indians and Yankees is scheduled for a 7:08 PM ET start time from Yankee Stadium on Monday night. It is believed that right-hander Luis Severino would make his first appearance of the ALDS for the Yankees after being hit hard in the AL Wild Card Game against the Minnesota Twins last Tuesday, but it could be an all-hands-on-deck situation for the Bronx Bombers on Sunday night. The Indians have several options to consider, including Salazar, who has yet to pitch in the postseason and warmed up late in the game on Friday night, as well as Bauer on short rest to keep Kluber lined up for a Game 5 start on normal rest or Tomlin, who worked two innings Friday and could help start the game before turning it over early to the bullpen.
An Indians win on Sunday would secure a sweep and eliminate any Game 4 concerns while sending the team back to Cleveland, after a well-deserved celebration, while awaiting the start of the American League Championship Series.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images