2020: Playoffs in a Bubble
Burn on, big river, burn on.
In what will likely be his final inning in an Indians uniform, Brad Hand blew his first save of the season and handed the Yankees a pair of runs in the top of the ninth as New York rallied in a messy, ugly, crazy game to defeat Cleveland, 10-9.
The city of Cleveland got 75 minutes of October baseball and was dealt a devastating first round exit for the third time in four years as the Indians could not hold off the pesky New York baseball team, which got healthy just in time to spoil any hopes for the Indians to end a 72-year championship drought in the realm of Major League Baseball.
The Indians went off-script on Tuesday from what had worked all season long and the results were undebatable as the New York Yankees rocked Cleveland’s Shane Bieber for a season-worst seven runs in rolling the host Tribe in a 12-3 statement game.
Instead of what was hyped as the top pitching matchup of the eight postseason contests slated to start the 2020 Major League Baseball playoffs, fans watched a stunning exchange as the likely unanimous American League Cy Young winner lost his duel with New York’s Gerrit Cole, whose $324 million rebuttal on the mound included 13 strikeouts, six hits allowed, and two runs scattered over seven innings of dominance.
The Cleveland Indians make their return to the postseason this week as the fourth seed in the eight-team format specially implemented for this pandemic-shortened season. The Indians will host the series in Cleveland for the only time allowed in the bracket system, with the rival New York Yankees coming to town for a battle to two wins in the three-game American League Wild Card Series.
The Indians (35-25) used some home field magic over the course of the last week of the regular season, jumping from the seventh seed to the fourth seed on the final day of play with a big come-from-behind victory on Sunday to take two of three from the Pittsburgh Pirates on the heels of a four-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox. The better results down the stretch earned the team the right to host the first round Wild Card Series from Progressive Field, as opposed to having to travel for road matchups in Chicago, Minnesota, or Oakland that may not have been as favorable for the Tribe.