In 2007, CC Sabathia was on the mound for Cleveland in the postseason at the tail end of a Cy Young Award winning year for the Indians as he became the second Tribe pitcher to ever bring home the top pitching award of a season. Seven years later, Corey Kluber joined him on that short list when he became the fourth Indians hurler to be recognized as the American League’s top pitcher.
On Friday night, the two will square off from opposite sides in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.
The Indians took a 1-0 series lead on Thursday with their 20th shutout of the season, blanking the Yankees in a 4-0 final from Progressive Field. The team followed its recipe for success, using its usual balanced attack – strong starting pitching, timely offensive support, and quality work from the bullpen. Trevor Bauer was superb, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning and working six and two-thirds in total while allowing just two hits. Jay Bruce had a role in all four runs scored – doubling and coming around to score the first run, then adding a two-run home run and a sacrifice fly later. Andrew Miller and Cody Allen worked two and one-third innings of scoreless, one-hit relief while striking out six of the seven outs recorded.
Thursday, 10/5 – Cleveland 4, New York 0
Friday, 10/6, 5:00 PM ET at CLE – LHP CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69) vs. RHP Corey Kluber (18-4, 2.25)
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, TBA at NYY – RHP Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98) vs. RHP Josh Tomlin (10-9, 4.98)
*Wednesday, 10/11, TBA at CLE – TBA vs. RHP Corey Kluber
TV – FS1 (10/5, 10/8, 10/9, 10/11); MLB Network (10/6)
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
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
New York (AL):
Luis Cessa (SP) – 60-day disabled list – rib cage injury
Michael Pineda (SP) – 60-day disabled list (7/17) – recovery from July 2017 Tommy John surgery
GAME 2 NOTES
Jackson is expected to be in the starting lineup in left field for the Indians on Friday night, replacing the left-handed hitting Chisenhall against the left-hander Sabathia. Gomes will likely be behind the plate for Kluber in the place of Perez.
Friday marks the fifth anniversary of Indians manager Terry Francona returning to the organization as its 42nd manager. His ten-year MLB career brought him to Cleveland for one season as a player in 1988. The 58-year-old 17-year managerial vet has not had a losing season as a skipper since 2000 (Philadelphia).
Kluber’s candidacy for the Cy Young this season was loud and clear. He led or was tied for the Major League lead in wins (18), ERA (2.25), ERA+ (202), WHIP (0.87), strikeouts/walks (7.36), complete games (5), and shutouts (3). He was also best in the AL with a .818 winning percentage, a hit/nine rate of 6.2, and a walk/nine rate of 1.6. Despite missing a month of action, he finished third in the game with 265 strikeouts.
Kluber has won six straight decisions and eleven of his last 12. Since returning from the disabled list on June 1, he has gone 15-2 in 23 starts with 224 strikeouts and 23 walks in 166 1/3 innings of work while holding opposing hitters to a .175 batting average.
The 31-year-old right-hander has shown little difficulty when pitching against the Yankees over the last several seasons. Since his Cy Young season in 2014, Kluber has won all five starts against the Yankees, allowing just five earned runs in 39 innings (1.15 ERA). He has given up just 20 hits and four walks in that span (0.62 WHIP). This season, he faced New York twice and took home two wins, including a complete game. He allowed three runs on six hits (including two homers) while striking out 18 and walking two in 17 innings of work (1.59 ERA and 0.47 WHIP).
Sabathia will come home to Progressive Field, where he started his 17-year career with eight seasons with the Indians before his 2008 trade to the Milwaukee Brewers, to make the 20th postseason appearance of his career (19th start). He has not taken the mound in the playoffs since 2012, when he dominated the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS before suffering his first postseason loss since 2009 in his Game 4 ALCS loss to Detroit that completed a four-game sweep by the Tigers of the Yankees.
He has bounced back nicely this season after a rough few years on the mound, earning a double digit win total for the first time since 2013. His strikeout rate has declined and his walk rate has increased as he has approached the twilight of his career, but his return to form has made him an effective starter again while in his ninth season in the Bronx.
The 6’7” lefty has won three straight starts for the Yankees and five straight decisions overall dating back to mid-August. He won as many as five straight games back in May and June before landing on the disabled list. He did not pitch against the Indians during the regular season and has not earned a win against Cleveland since 2013. He made a pair of starts against them last season, allowing eight earned runs on 13 hits with seven strikeouts and six walks in 11 1/3 innings.
The 37-year-old was a first round pick (20th overall) by Cleveland in the 1998 draft.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
The Houston Astros took a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five ALDS series with the Boston Red Sox with an 8-2 win. Justin Verlander made a quality start for the Astros, striking out three and allowing two runs in six innings of work. Boston’s Chris Sale was blasted in the afternoon contest, allowing seven runs on nine hits with a walk and six strikeouts in five innings of work. The bulk of the damage off of Sale came from the long ball – two hit by Jose Altuve. The MVP candidate added a third solo homer in the seventh inning off of Austin Maddox. Marwin Gonzalez and Brian McCann each had two runs batted in and Alex Bregman homered in the first before Altuve followed with his own for the back-to-back jacks to give Houston an early lead with which to work.
MLB has a full slate of games for Friday. The Red Sox and Astros will continue their series in Houston with a 2:00 PM ET start. The Yankees and Indians follow at 5:00 PM ET.
The National League side of the postseason will begin Friday evening, when the Washington Nationals host the Chicago Cubs at 7:30 PM ET. The winningest team in baseball this year, the Los Angeles Dodgers, will welcome in the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks in a 10:30 PM ET first pitch.
ON THE MOVE
The series will relocate to Yankee Stadium for Game 3 in a pivotal game. The Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka out in a must-win game for New York, regardless of the outcome of Game 2, while the Indians will counter with Carlos Carrasco.
Game 3 of the ALDS is scheduled for Sunday night at 7:38 PM ET.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images