Bauer Back on “Short Rest” with Focus on Game 4 Win in New York
Bob Toth | On 09, Oct 2017
Despite what you might have read or been told Monday morning, what Cleveland Indians fans witnessed Sunday night was an incredibly well-pitched and well-fought playoff game, and not the “latest chapter in a tortured history¹” of a Cleveland franchise “intimately connected with pain²”.
For Game 3 of the American League Division Series, Major League Baseball fans were actually treated to a pitchers’ duel (a rarity in the postseason thus far) as Masahiro Tanaka and Carlos Carrasco each took shutouts deep into the night. One mistake, hit over the short porch in right by New York’s Greg Bird off of Cleveland’s All-Star left-hander Andrew Miller, provided the game’s only run as the Yankees staved off eliminated with a 1-0 playoff classic win over the Indians.
The never-say-die Indians (2-1) took the game down to its final strike against social menace Aroldis Chapman, with the heart of the order given a chance in the ninth with the tying and go-ahead runs on base with an opportunity to crush the Yankees’ hopes. Instead, the ALDS plays on, with the Bronx Bombers hosting the Tribe in Game 4 on Monday night.
Home teams have had the winning touch in the playoffs so far. On the American League side, every contest has been taken by the host club, with the Yankees winning the AL Wild Card Game and Game 3 of the ALDS. The Indians claimed each of the first two ALDS battles at Progressive Field. The same outcome has occurred in the other ALDS matchup between Houston and Boston, with the Red Sox avoiding a sweep with a big win at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon. Even the National League bracket has fared close to the same. Arizona won its hosted NL Wild Card Game, while the Los Angeles Dodgers have defeated them twice at Chavez Ravine in the first two games of the NLDS. Only Washington has faltered at home, splitting their series at Nationals Park with the Chicago Cubs.
PITCHING PROBABLES and RESULTS
Thursday, 10/5 – New York 0, CLEVELAND 4
Friday, 10/6 – New York 8, CLEVELAND 9
Sunday, 10/8 – Cleveland 0, NEW YORK 1
Monday, 10/9, 7:08 PM ET at NYY – RHP Trevor Bauer (17-9, 4.19) vs. RHP Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98 ERA)
*Wednesday, 10/11, 8:08 PM ET at CLE – LHP CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69) vs. RHP Corey Kluber (18-4, 2.25)
GAME 4 PITCHING NOTES
Bauer makes his return to the rubber in Game 4, pitching on just three days’ rest. Despite what would be perceived as a bad situation for the Indians, the right-hander was quick to address those concerns with the media following Cleveland’s 1-0 loss on Sunday night.
“I consider this normal rest for me,” said Bauer following the game regarding starting with just three days’ rest instead of the normal four given to starting pitchers. “I enjoy pitching on short – I guess, technical definition of short [rest]. If I could draw it out, personally, this is how I’d pitch every time.”
Bauer was stellar in the series opener last Thursday in Cleveland, working six and two-thirds innings of scoreless, two-hit baseball. He walked one and struck out eight, bringing a no-hitter into the one-out mark of the sixth inning. After three starts against the Yankees this season (two in the regular season and one in the playoffs), he has a 0.92 ERA.
Severino will make his first trip back to the mound since an outing he would rather forget last Tuesday, when he nearly cost the Yankees the chance of playing deeper into October. Getting tabbed as the starter for the AL Wild Card Game, Severino served up home runs to Brian Dozier and Eddie Rosario while working just one-third of an inning. In facing six batters and throwing 29 pitches, Severino did not miss a single bat, the first time in his entire Major League career that he was unable to get at least one swinging strike. He noted in the time after that game that the adrenaline of the moment did not help him much, and that he intended on slowing himself down and trying to breathe and think prior to each pitch.
TV – FS1 (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 4 NOTES
The Yankees have made changes to their starting lineup for Game 4, flipping Gregorius and Sanchez in the order. New York has also scooted Bird up to fifth in the lineup after hitting a pair of homers and batting .308 so far in the postseason.
Headley will get the start in the seventh spot and will play designated hitter in place of Ellsbury, who is hitless over the first three games and nine plate appearances in the playoffs. Headley has not fared much better, going hitless in seven trips with a pair of strikeouts.
Hicks will also be in the starting lineup for the Yankees once again and is one of their top hitters in the postseason so far. In four games, he is 5-for-15 (.333) with a double, one homer, and four RBI.
Kipnis has performed well at the plate, reminding all just why it was important that he was on the roster anywhere that manager Terry Francona could find a spot for him. While he misplayed a ball late in Game 3 into a double, he has been strong with the stick, batting .286 with a triple and one run batted in in the series.
Bruce had a rough go against the Yankees in his return to New York, earning the second golden sombrero of the series (the first was Judge’s in Game 1). He is hitting .231 with three hits, all of which have been for extra bases. He leads the Indians with three runs scored, four RBI, and two home runs in the postseason thus far.
The Indians need to get more production up the middle if they hope to clinch the series on Monday. Ramirez is just 2-for-13 (.154) with six strikeouts. Lindor is 2-for-11 (.091) with five strikeouts, but he is tied for the team lead with Bruce with four runs batted in.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
The Red Sox avoided a sweep by the Houston Astros on Sunday afternoon behind a 10-3 final from Boston. They actually trailed after a half-inning, 3-0, before rattling off ten unanswered runs over their final eight frames at the plate. They used a three-run third to take a 4-3 lead, then broke the game open with six runs in the seventh. Rookie Rafael Devers gave the Sox the lead in the third with his two-run homer, then added another RBI in the seventh before Jackie Bradley Jr. erased all doubt with a three-run blast.
Both National League Division Series contests took Sunday off as travel days. The Chicago Cubs will host their first playoff game of the 2017 season as the Washington Nationals come to town for a 4:08 PM ET first pitch from Wrigley Field. That series is tied at one game apiece. The Arizona Diamondbacks will host the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field at 10:08 PM ET, needing a win to avoid a sweep by their division rival.
An Indians win sends the club back to Cleveland to await the victor of the Houston/Boston series, which again could be decided before the Tribe takes the field in New York on Monday night.
A win by the Yankees will extend the series to its rubber match. The two teams would return to Progressive Field for an 8:08 PM ET first pitch on Wednesday night. If the series progresses to that point, it is expected that Sabathia and Kluber would be the pitching probables for the final game of the ALDS.
Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images
¹ Uncharacteristically poor choice of writing from the usually well-spoken Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer Tom Verducci on SI.com Monday, who somehow concluded after an incredible game between New York and Cleveland, one whose outcome was not a result of another juiced-ball slugfest but actually revolved around high quality pitching on both sides of the diamond, that the Indians’ season was essentially over, despite the club still possessing a 2-1 series lead in the ALDS.
² More clickbait writing from Verducci in his first story on the ALDS since proclaiming after Friday’s Game 2 win that the Indians had “turn[ed] Cleveland into land of true belief”. He took one of the lower roads possible to reflect back upon tough events unrelated to this current Indians roster, management, or front office, trying to cram proverbial square pegs into baseball-shaped holes. The only thing that he was missing in his diatribe was some unrelated references to “the Shot”, “the Drive”, “the Fumble”, “Red Right 88″, Art Modell, and/or a jab about LeBron James leaving for Los Angeles after the coming NBA season.