It doesn’t get much more exciting than a closeout game in the playoffs, but one thing is for certain – it does horrible work on the heart, the mind, and the stomach, especially if you’re a fan of the team that lost a 2-0 lead.
The Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees will play one final game on Wednesday night to declare a winner in their American League Division Series matchup, one that has teetered in favor of the home club throughout the first four games. To the benefit of the Indians, they have returned to their home at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario in downtown Cleveland, hoping to defend their home turf and, more importantly, their title as the reigning champions of the American League while punching their ticket to an American League Championship Series meeting with the Houston Astros. The Tribe has not lost three consecutive games since the start of the second half of the season, when it lost four straight wrapped around the All-Star break.
It’s win or go home time for the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees as a poor defensive showing from the Tribe led to six unearned runs and the Yankees rode a dominant performance from Luis Severino in a 7-3 rout to force a Game 5 in Cleveland on Wednesday.
Home field has been all the advantage throughout the playoffs thus far, but especially in the contest between the Indians and Yankees, as both teams have won their hosted games through four games of the series. It was the collapse of the usually sound Indians defense on Monday that led to a half dozen unearned runs, forcing an early exit from starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, who made the start on just three days’ rest.
In a game dominated by stellar pitching by both ball clubs, a leadoff solo home run by New York’s Greg Bird off of former teammate Andrew Miller in the seventh inning provided the only run of the contest and the Yankees held off a late Cleveland Indians rally in a 1-0 final on Sunday night.
The victory guaranteed at least one more day in the Yankees’ season as they fended off elimination in the American League Division Series and avoided a sweep at the hands of the Tribe, who lost for just the fifth time in the last 40 games and were shut out for the first time since July 14 in Oakland, the first game of the second half of the season.
Things have not gone the way that Yan Gomes would have wanted them to over the last couple of years. Signed to a big contract extension in 2014, he has struggled with his performance at the plate, dealt with several injuries, and watched as his playing time has dwindled into a time share with fellow backstop Roberto Perez. Late season injuries deprived him of a significant role for the Indians in their incredible run through the postseason in 2016, as he appeared solely in the World Series and was 0-for-4, grounding into a double play and striking out twice.
He made sure his first start of the 2017 playoffs was one that he and Indians fans everywhere will not soon forget. His 13th inning walk-off single down the left field line capped six unanswered runs by the Indians as they completed an improbable comeback win over the New York Yankees to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series Friday night.
After a well deserved day off, the Cleveland Indians will get back to action across the country as the Los Angeles Angels host the top team in the American League from their home in Anaheim, California.
The Indians (93-57) remain in the driver’s seat in the race to the top record in the AL this season with the hopes of claiming home field advantage throughout the junior circuit half of the postseason. They head into the weekday series with a game and a half lead over the Houston Astros for the best record in the league. They took care of the Angels in three games back in July at Progressive Field, winning on a walk-off Edwin Encarnacion grand slam on July 25 before winning 10-4 and 2-1 decisions to close out the series.
The Cleveland Indians sent a very loud message to the Kansas City Royals when the two clubs met six times over two series in August. The Tribe took two of three early in the month, outscoring KC 22-5, and then swept a later set in Cleveland, putting up three straight shutouts while tallying 20 runs of their own.
The Royals will try to change that trend during a four-game weekend series with the Indians in Cleveland, but will have the daunting task of trying to stop the Indians’ 21-game winning streak first.
Is there any pitcher in Major League Baseball you would want on the mound in a big game?
The list is probably small, but Corey Kluber is a must mention. He proved once again why he is charging towards the American League Cy Young Award on Tuesday night, as he blanked the Detroit Tigers on five hits for his third complete game shutout of the season while giving the Cleveland Indians their 20th consecutive win.
The improbable winning streak by the Tribe (89-56) has now matched the AL record of 20, set by the Oakland Athletics in 2002. The team will take aim at the Chicago Cubs’ Major League record of 21 straight wins in the series finale with the Tigers on Wednesday afternoon.
The streak remained alive on Saturday afternoon as the Cleveland Indians overcame an early deficit with runs in three straight innings and added an insurance run late on the way to a 4-2 win.
The Indians (86-56) extended their franchise record for consecutive wins to 17 straight with the victory, as Cleveland guaranteed itself its fifth straight series win. Including ties, the Indians have not dropped a series since losing two games and having a third rained out on July 31 and August 1 in Boston against the Red Sox.
For the second season in a row, the Cleveland Indians have won 14 straight games, sealing the deal with a 5-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
It was a historic effort for the Tribe, which matched the club’s franchise record just one season after breaking a 75-year-old mark for consecutive wins in a row. Carlos Carrasco made it look easy, as he faced one batter over the minimum in scattering three hits and just one run while throwing his first complete game of the season.
Baseball sure is fun when you’re on the winning side of the ledger.
For the Cleveland Indians, it’s been nearly two straight weeks of good times. And while there was a holiday to celebrate Monday in Labor Day, it was no off day for the Tribe as they won their 12th straight ball game with a 5-3 win over the White Sox from Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.
The Indians (81-56) had some timely hitting, some good quality starting pitching from Trevor Bauer, and a bit of a tight rope act from the bullpen, but the club secured yet another win in formally knocking the White Sox (54-82) out of playoff contention while guaranteeing the south side club a losing season. Cleveland, meanwhile, has locked in a fifth straight winning season.
Ryan Merritt made his second consecutive strong spot start and the Cleveland bats came alive as the Indians completed the rare three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium with a 9-4 win over the New York Yankees in game two of Wednesday’s doubleheader.
The Indians (76-56) will take a well deserved Thursday off, holding a voluntary practice session in Detroit prior to their four-game series against the Tigers this weekend that includes another doubleheader on Friday night. They moved to 19-9 in the month of August and have a seven-game lead in the American League Central at day’s end as Minnesota defeated the Chicago White Sox for the second consecutive night with an 11-1 victory to improve to 19-10 in the month.
There were plenty of bombs in the Bronx on Monday, but just one came courtesy of the Bronx Bombers as the Cleveland Indians supported Corey Kluber with four of their own in their defeat of the New York Yankees, 6-2.
The game was everything one could expect from a matchup of two of the top pitchers in the American League and teammates on the league’s All-Star squad back in July. The AL Central’s top club got out to an early lead with their ace on the mound, but would need a power surge in the late innings to ensure a win over the Wild Card leading Yankees.