2017 ALDS Game Five: Yankees at Indians

2017-alds-logoSo here we are, once again. The Yankees are playing for their season tonight. They’ve done that three times within the last eight days and won all three times. Now they have to do it again, against a very good Indians team and a very good Corey Kluber. No one said winning the World Series would be easy.

The ALDS started about as poorly as possible. The Yankees were shut out in Game One, then blew a five-run lead in Game Two, thanks in part to the non-challenge. They rebounded to win Games Three and Four at home, and the Yankees have won pretty much every type of game imaginable this postseason:

  • Wild Card Game: Beat the other team’s ace and win a battle of the bullpens.
  • ALDS Game Three: Win a super close pitchers’ duel.
  • ALDS Game Four: Beat up on a pitcher you’re supposed to beat up when he’s on short rest.

So … what’s left? A blowout win? Man I’d sign up for one of those in a heartbeat. Not getting my hopes up though. Chances are Kluber won’t struggle the way he did in Game Two again. The Yankees do have their top relievers locked and loaded though, so if they get a lead in the middle innings, they’re set up well to close it out. Here are the starting lineups:

New York Yankees
1. LF Brett Gardner
2. RF Aaron Judge
3. SS Didi Gregorius
4. C Gary Sanchez
5. 1B Greg Bird
6. 2B Starlin Castro
7. CF Aaron Hicks
8. DH Jacoby Ellsbury
9. 3B Todd Frazier
LHP CC Sabathia

Cleveland Indians
1. SS Francisco Lindor
2. CF Jason Kipnis
3. 2B Jose Ramirez
4. DH Edwin Encarnacion
5. 1B Carlos Santana
6. LF Austin Jackson
7. RF Jay Bruce
8. C Roberto Perez
9. 3B Giovanny Urshela
RHP Corey Kluber

It is a cool, cloudy, and humid night in Cleveland. Similar weather to the last two games in New York. It rained earlier today, though it cleared out a while ago and it’ll stay dry the rest of the night. Tonight’s game will begin at 8pm ET and FOX Sports 1 has the broadcast. Enjoy the game.

2017 ALDS Game Four: Indians at Yankees

2017-alds-logoThe Yankees aren’t done yet. They won an instant classic in Game Three last night to force Game Four tonight. What a game that was, huh? Masahiro Tanaka was marvelous, Aaron Judge robbed a home run, Greg Bird hit the home run, Aroldis Chapman nailed down the save … that’s one of those games we’re going to remember for a long time.

Tonight, the goal remains the same. Win a game to extend the season. Don’t worry about Game Five, don’t worry about the ALCS, just win tonight. The Yankees have Luis Severino, their best starting pitcher, on the mound and he’s looking to pull a 1996 Andy Pettitte. Pettitte got rocked in Game One of the World Series that year, then came back to dominate in Game Five.

Severino struggled against the Twins in the Wild Card Game, recording just one out and allowing three runs, and now he’s looking to redeem himself with the season on the line. He was really amped up in the Wild Card Game. Hopefully he got all the postseason jitters out of the way and goes back to being his usual dominant self tonight. The Yankees need it. Here are the starting lineups:

Cleveland Indians
1. SS Francisco Lindor
2. CF Jason Kipnis
3. 2B Jose Ramirez
4. RF Jay Bruce
5. 1B Carlos Santana
6. DH Michael Brantley
7. LF Lonnie Chisenhall
8. C Roberto Perez
9. 3B Giovanny Urshela
RHP Trevor Bauer

New York Yankees
1. LF Brett Gardner
2. RF Aaron Judge
3. SS Didi Gregorius
4. C Gary Sanchez
5. 1B Greg Bird
6. 2B Starlin Castro
7. DH Chase Headley
8. 3B Todd Frazier
9. CF Aaron Hicks
RHP Luis Severino

The weather in New York is not great. It’s another grossly humid day and it has been raining on and off. The rain has cleared out for now and there’s no more in the forecast. At least nothing heavy. We might see a shower or two along the way, but I don’t think it’ll be anything that causes a long delay. Tonight’s game will begin at 7pm ET and FOX Sports 1 has the broadcast. Enjoy the game.

Pitching Update: CC Sabathia will start Game Five if the Yankees win tonight, Joe Girardi announced. No surprise there. Sonny Gray is available in the bullpen tonight.

2017 ALDS Game Three: Indians at Yankees

2017-alds-logoThe season is on the brink. The Yankees dropped Games One and Two of the ALDS in Cleveland, Game Two in particularly gut-wrenching fashion, and now they are one loss away from going home for the winter. All they have to do to extend their season is beat a team that hasn’t lost three straight games since July in three straight games. The Indians have lost only four of their last 39 games as well. Zoinks.

Coming back from a 0-2 deficit in the ALDS doesn’t happen often, but it isn’t unprecedented. The Yankees themselves have done it once before. They rallied from an 0-2 deficit to beat the 102-win Athletics in the 2001 ALDS. That was the Derek Jeter flip play series. Some quick numbers:

  • Teams that win the first two games of the ALDS at home are 38-6 in the series overall (86.4%).
  • Teams that win the first two games of the ALDS regardless of venue are 49-7 in the series overall (87.5%).
  • Since 2004, teams that win the first two games of the ALDS are 30-2 in the series overall (93.8%).

You don’t have to look too far back for the last time a team came back from an 0-2 deficit to win the ALDS. The 2015 Blue Jays did it against the Rangers after dropping the first two games at home. That was the Jose Bautista bat flip series. The only other team since 2004 to come back from an 0-2 LDS deficit to win the series is the 2012 Giants. They did it against the Reds. Is a comeback from an 0-2 deficit against the powerhouse Indians possible? Of course! Reality says it’s very unlikely.

Before you can win three straight, you need to win one, and as Alex Speier writes, just about every team that came back from 0-2 received a dominant start in Game Three. The flip play gets all the attention and understandably so, but Mike Mussina threw seven shutout innings in Game Three of that 2001 ALDS against the A’s. Tonight the Yankees are asking Masahiro Tanaka, who struck out 15 last time out, to save their season. Here are the starting lineups:

Cleveland Indians
1. SS Francisco Lindor
2. CF Jason Kipnis
3. 2B Jose Ramirez
4. RF Jay Bruce
5. 1B Carlos Santana
6. LF Austin Jackson
7. DH Michael Brantley
8. C Roberto Perez
9. 3B Giovanny Urshela
RHP Carlos Carrasco

New York Yankees
1. LF Brett Gardner
2. RF Aaron Judge
3. C Gary Sanchez
4. SS Didi Gregorius
5. 2B Starlin Castro
6. 1B Greg Bird
7. 3B Todd Frazier
8. DH Jacoby Ellsbury
9. CF Aaron Hicks
RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Not the best weather in New York. It rained this morning and it’s supposed to rain again later tonight, around midnight or so, but there’s a big enough window to play Game Three, even one of those extra slow moving postseason games. Tonight’s game will start at 7:30pm ET and FOX Sports 1 will have the broadcast. Enjoy the game.

2017 ALDS Game Two: Yankees at Indians

2017-alds-logoGame One of the ALDS did not go particularly well for the Yankees last night. They were completely flummoxed by Trevor Bauer and held to three hits and three walks in the shutout loss. That means the Yankees have to win three of the next four games against the best team in the AL (and MLB?) to advance to the ALCS. Daunting!

HowEVA, I like to be optimistic, so let’s highlight some positives today. A few:

  • Sonny Gray stunk and the Plan B relievers pitched, and the Yankees still held a very good offense to only four runs and five hits last night.
  • Chad Green and David Robertson will be available today, and with an off-day tomorrow, both should be available for multiple innings.
  • In 12 starts following a loss this season, CC Sabathia had a 1.71 ERA and the Yankees went 11-1. The big man is still a stopper.

All true! As is the fact Corey Kluber starts for the Indians today, and that’s kinda scary. He’s sooo good. The Yankees are going to have their hands full with this one. I think the goal in the first two games of any series on the road is to earn a split, and if the Yankees are going to earn that split, they’ll really have to earn it against Kluber. Here are the starting lineups:

New York Yankees
1. LF Brett Gardner
2. RF Aaron Judge
3. C Gary Sanchez
4. SS Didi Gregorius
5. 2B Starlin Castro
6. 1B Greg Bird
7. CF Aaron Hicks
8. DH Jacoby Ellsbury
9. 3B Todd Frazier
LHP CC Sabathia

Cleveland Indians
1. SS Francisco Lindor
2. CF Jason Kipnis
3. 2B Jose Ramirez
4. DH Edwin Encarnacion
5. RF Jay Bruce
6. 1B Carlos Santana
7. LF Austin Jackson
8. C Yan Gomes
9. 3B Giovanny Urshela
RHP Corey Kluber

The heaviest rain has stopped and we will have baseball in Cleveland today, as scheduled. It’s not the best baseball weather, but it’s playable and that’s all that matters. Game Two begins at 5pm ET and MLB Network has the broadcast. Enjoy the game.

2017 ALDS Game One: Yankees at Indians

2017-alds-logoFor the first time since way back in 2012, the Yankees are playing a full postseason series. They beat up on the Twins in the AL Wild Card Game earlier this week — well, maybe “beat up” is overstating it, but they won the game and that’s all that matters — and are now facing the Indians in the best-of-five ALDS. This series features the two best run differentials in baseball. The Indians were at +254 while the Yankees were second at +198.

It’s been a little while since these two teams last met in the postseason. Not since the 2007 ALDS, when CC Sabathia was still with Cleveland and Chien-Ming Wang was the Yankees ace. Today, by the way, is the ten-year anniversary of the midge game, so get ready to hear about that during the broadcast. It’s also the four-year anniversary of Sonny Gray, tonight’s starter, outpitching Justin Verlander in his postseason debut.

The Indians won five of their seven head-to-head meetings with the Yankees during the regular season, which of course means nothing now. The Yankees went 6-0 against the Indians in 2007, then lost the ALDS in four games. The postseason is a different animal. Strategies change and we go from a marathon to a sprint. Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

New York Yankees
1. LF Brett Gardner
2. RF Aaron Judge
3. C Gary Sanchez
4. SS Didi Gregorius
5. 2B Starlin Castro
6. 1B Greg Bird
7. 3B Todd Frazier
8. DH Chase Headley
9. CF Aaron Hicks
RHP Sonny Gray

Cleveland Indians
1. SS Francisco Lindor
2. CF Jason Kipnis
3. 2B Jose Ramirez
4. DH Edwin Encarnacion
5. RF Jay Bruce
6. 1B Carlos Santana
7. LF Lonnie Chisenhall
8. C Roberto Perez
9. 3B Giovanny Urshela
RHP Trevor Bauer

It is cloudy and humid in Cleveland this evening, and there are some on-and-off sprinkles in the forecast throughout the evening. Shouldn’t be anything heavy enough to delay the game. Tonight’s game will begin at 7:30pm ET and FOX Sports 1 will have the broadcast. Enjoy the game.

2017 AL Wild Card Game Thread: Twins at Yankees

2017_wild_card_game_logoSo here we are. The Wild Card Game. The Yankees enjoyed a tremendously successful regular season, one in which they went 91-71 with the sport’s second best run differential (+198), but a few too many blown leads mean they’ll play for their season tonight. One tricky hop or one ball juuust fair inside the line can change everything. Baseball can be like that sometimes.

If nothing else, the Yankees are coming into the Wild Card Game hot. They went 20-9 with a +69 (nice) run differential in the season’s final month. The Twins, meanwhile, went 15-14 with a +42 run differential in the final month, and six of those 15 wins came against the ain’t even tryin’ Tigers. That’s … good for the Yankees? I dunno. I reckon it means nothing whatsoever tonight.

Are the Yankees a better team than the Twins? Almost certainly. Everything that happened in the regular season points in that direction. But in one individual game, the best and most talented team doesn’t always win. The team that executes best tends to win. So hope for that. Good execution allowing the more talented team to win. Here are the starting lineups for tonight’s game:

Minnesota Twins
1. 2B Brian Dozier
2. 1B Joe Mauer
3. SS Jorge Polanco
4. LF Eddie Rosario
5. 3B Eduardo Escobar
6. RF Max Kepler
7. CF Byron Buxton
8. C Jason Castro
9. DH Robbie Grossman
RHP Ervin Santana

New York Yankees
1. LF Brett Gardner
2. RF Aaron Judge
3. C Gary Sanchez
4. SS Didi Gregorius
5. 2B Starlin Castro
6. 1B Greg Bird
7. CF Aaron Hicks
8. DH Jacoby Ellsbury
9. 3B Todd Frazier
RHP Luis Severino

The weather tonight? Pretty much perfect. Nice clear skies and no rain in the forecast. A good night for someone’s season to end. Tonight’s game will start at 8pm ET and ESPN will have the broadcast. Enjoy the game. No matter what happens, this season was fun as hell.

Game 162: The season is long, but it goes so damn fast

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

So this is it. The final game of the 2017 regular season. It’s been a fun one. A really fun one. Most fun season since 2009? It’s in the conservation for sure. Of course, the season is not ending today. The Yankees qualified for the postseason and will play the Twins in the winner-take-all Wild Card Game on Tuesday night. It wasn’t until yesterday that the Yankees were eliminated in the AL East race. A heck of a fight, they put up.

This afternoon’s season finale is meaningless. Nothing to play for at all. Everything that can be clinched has been clinched. The goals today: get Adam Warren some work, get Dellin Betances some work, and make sure no one gets hurt. That’s about it, right? That last one is really important. No one get hurt, please. I’d rather the Yankees lose 147-0 than anyone get hurt. One last meaningless game to go before the intensity gets cranked up in the postseason. Here is the Blue Jays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Aaron Hicks
  2. SS Ronald Torreyes
  3. 2B Starlin Castro
  4. DH Matt Holliday
  5. 1B Chase Headley
  6. 3B Todd Frazier
  7. C Austin Romine
  8. LF Clint Frazier
  9. RF Tyler Austin
    LHP Jordan Montgomery

Joe Girardi said most of the regulars will only get one or two at-bats today, so Tyler Wade and Miguel Andujar will be coming off the bench at some point. Anyway, it is a splendid day for baseball in New York. Nice and sunny but also cool. Today’s regular season finale will begin a little after 3pm ET and YES will have the broadcast. Enjoy the game.