Last Updated: 2017-10-09
Mother Nature may have other ideas about when Game 4 will be played, but the game is tentatively scheduled for Monday night at 7:08 p.m. ET. The Cleveland Indians will send out Trevor Bauer on what most people believe to be short rest, but not Bauer. The New York Yankees will counter with Wild Card Game starter Luis Severino, who is on pretty regular rest and may even have an extra day if the rain doesn’t stop by gametime.
A rainout would hurt the Indians. Aroldis Chapman was pressed into extended relief duty and the Indians managed their bullpen assets really well in Game 3. Bauer seems eager to go on three days rest, though an extra day would ease some of the concerns of the fan base. An extra day for Severino to think about the biggest start of his career may not be a good thing for the Yankees, but the status of the bullpen is more important than the feelings of the starter. With heavy rain expected throughout the day, along with gusty winds, it seems like we’ll be looking at Game 4 on Tuesday, when weather conditions are supposed to be picture perfect. Either way, we’ll plan for tonight, but consider the high likelihood that Game 4 will be tomorrow and then there will not be a travel day for Game 5.
The Indians never made any adjustments to Masahiro Tanaka’s splitter, which started low and went even lower. With Tanaka’s exceptionally low fastball usage, it was surprising to see the Indians without a better approach, but Tanaka located well until his command started to fail him in the fifth and sixth. Unfortunately, Cleveland couldn’t take advantage of some mistake pitches, either popping them up or fouling them back. Aaron Judge’s “home run” saving catch would have been a deep fly out in any other park, but it did add to the dramatics of the game. The Indians will now get their first look at Severino, while the Yankees will see Bauer for the second time, which should be an advantage for the home team in its quest to force Game 5.
Bauer was tremendous in Game 1, holding the Yankees without a hit until the fifth. He worked 6.2 shutout innings, struck out eight, and only walked one. He threw 98 pitches, but Bauer’s unconventional routine allows him to come back quickly and he carries a higher pitch threshold than just about every starter in the league. We’ll see what, if any, adjustments Bauer makes in this outing. The biggest adjustment that the Indians need is the real return of the real Andrew Miller. Miller allowed the game’s only run on Sunday night, a home run that hasn’t landed yet by Greg Bird. In three playoff innings so far, Miller has allowed just two hits, but he only has three strikeouts and has walked two batters. He just doesn’t look like the superhuman weapon we saw in last year’s postseason. Cody Allen did get a much needed day off on Sunday and so did Bryan Shaw, so the Indians can be aggressive with the bullpen in support of Bauer.
While the Yankees won, they can’t be very happy about their second lackluster offensive performance of the series. Carlos Carrasco was mostly untouchable until a missed call by the home plate umpire allowed Aaron Judge to walk in the sixth and Carrasco failed to finish the inning. He worked 5.2 innings with just three hits allowed, three walks, and seven strikeouts. Judge struck out three more times and remains hitless in the series. In fact, Bird and Aaron Hicks have been the only consistent offensive threats for the Yankees in this series. Somebody will have to step up and be a hero in Game 4.
Luis Severino didn’t even make it out of the first inning in the Wild Card Game. He allowed three runs and exited quickly in favor of Chad Green. It was a surprising dud from Severino, who posted a 2.98 ERA with a 3.07 FIP and a 3.04 xFIP in his 31 starts this season. It seems unlikely that Edwin Encarnacion will be able to go, so Severino will be facing a lighter Indians lineup, especially without anything from Jose Ramirez and just one enormous swing from Francisco Lindor in this series. Severino may not match up that well with the Indians, though. His 35.5 percent slider usage ranked high among starters and the Indians were the best offense in baseball against sliders this season.
Free MLB Pick: Cleveland Indians
This type of game is Terry Francona’s postseason element. He’ll have to cobble together the final innings and will likely pull Trevor Bauer at the first sign of trouble. With ultimate safety net Corey Kluber going in a potential Game 5, Francona will be very aggressive with the bullpen. The Indians are probably the team most equipped to face a premier arm like Severino, as they have a lot of bat-to-ball skills in the lineup and led the league in linear pitch type weights against sliders.
Game 3, like most playoff games, came down to variance in five high-leverage plate appearances. Jose Ramirez left Jason Kipnis on third with less than two outs. Francisco Lindor’s home run was caught. Greg Bird’s was not. Andrew Miller got Starlin Castro with the bases loaded in the sixth. Carlos Santana flew out to end the game. The odds are good that we will see the same thing here, so taking the Indians at a big plus-money price makes a lot of sense as they look to do what Tito Francona envisioned and save a Corey Kluber start for Game 1 of the ALCS.
<< Previous PostNext Post >>