Yankees come back from 2-0 series deficit to defeat Indians
The New York Yankees advanced to the American League Championship Series after a five-game American League Divisional Series win against the Cleveland Indians. The win capped off the ALDS against an Indians team that had not lost three consecutive games in months. Even though they were a heavy underdog against the Indians, who won 102 games this season, the Yankees pulled off the biggest upset of the postseason so far.
The Indians are one-year removed from a dramatic Game 7 World Series loss against the Chicago Cubs. Interestingly, since World War II, every time the Indians make it to the World Series, the Yankees do the same the following season. This would be a wonderful surprise for Yankees fans who believe the Bombers are a few years away from a possible return to the Fall Classic. The ALDS was an extremely exciting rollercoaster of a series that could go down as one of baseball’s greatest playoff series ever.
In Game 1, Trevor Bauer and Jay Bruce stole the show. Bauer pitched six and two-thirds scoreless innings, while Bruce was responsible for every run the Indians put on the board.
The Yankees would get just three hits all game, two of them from Starlin Castro. Sonny Gray struggled with command, giving up three runs, three hits and four walks in three and one-third innings. The Indians took Game 1 by a score of 4-0.
In Game 2, the Yankees blew a five-run lead. The Yankees scored six runs on former Cy Young Award winner, Corey Kluber. In the fifth inning, Greg Bird hit a towering, two-run home run to right field that gave the Yankees an 8-3 lead. When the sixth inning began, the game slipped away from the Yankees.
In the sixth, Chad Green faced Lonnie Chisenhall with runners on second and third base with one out. Green’s 1-2 offering hit the knob of Chisenhall’s bat and landed in Gary Sánchez’s glove for what should have been the third out of the inning. However, it was ruled a hit by pitch by the umpire. This decision loaded the bases. Manager Joe Girardi made the mistake of the game by deciding not to challenge the play despite the pleas by Sánchez and players on the Yankees’ bench. After the non-challenge, Francisco Lindor hit a grand slam off the right field foul pole, pulling the Indians within one run.
The game would become tied 8-8 in the eighth inning when the Yankees once again gave Bruce a fastball down in the zone. He launched the pitch into the left center field bleachers. With the game still tied in the eleventh inning, Ronald Torreyes was picked off second base for the first out of the inning.
Then, in the 13th inning, the Indians had a runner on second with nobody out. Yan Gomes then worked a ten pitch at-bat before lining a single down the third base line and giving the Indians a 9-8 walk off victory.
In Game 3, it was a pitching and defense night. In the top of the sixth inning, with a runner on first, Lindor hit a deep fly ball to right field. Aaron Judge leaped up with his back against the wall and robbed Lindor of a home run.
Then, in the seventh inning, Bird hit a moonshot into the right field seats off former Yankee Andrew Miller. Bird was just the second lefty to hit a home run off Miller all season. It would be the only run in a 1-0 Yankee victory.
In Game 4, Luis Severino showed that his performance in the wild card was just a blip. Severino was very much in control for most of the game, pitching seven innings, giving up three runs and striking out nine batter. He seemed to feed off the energy of the crowd, pumping his fist and shouting after big strikeouts.
The Indians, on the other hand, played sloppy baseball and the Yankees capitalized, scoring six unearned runs. Bauer was nowhere near as dominant as he was in Game 1. He lasted just one and two-thirds innings and gave up four runs. The Yankees won 7-3, forcing a decisive Game 5.
In Game 5, Didi Gregorius powered the Yankees offense. Gregorius hit two home runs off Kluber, giving the Yankees a lead they would hold onto until the end. The Indians’ best chance of coming back was in the bottom of the fifth when they were down 3-2 and had runners on first and second. They failed to execute and hit into an inning-ending double play. The Yankees won 5-2 and advance to the ALCS where they will face the Houston Astros.
The Astros were one of the best teams all season and will look to spoil the Yankees’ “Cinderella” season. The team, led by MVP candidate José Altuve, will look to knock off another American League East Division opponent as they defeated the Yankees’ rival Boston Red Sox to advance to the ALCS.
If the Yankees want to defeat the Astros, they will need Aaron Judge to return to his regular season form as he will want to forget his miserable performance at the plate in the ALDS. The Yankees will look to defeat one of the best teams in baseball once again and advance to the Fall Classic for the first time since 2009.