The Bronx Bombers managed to stave off elimination in Game Three Sunday night, beating the Cleveland Indians 1-0 in a thrilling ALDS contest at Yankee Stadium. Masahiro Tanaka threw seven brilliant innings, Aaron Judge made a leaping catch to prevent a two-run home run, Greg Bird hit a towering shot for the only run of the game, and Aroldis Chapman pitched into and out of trouble to nail down the win in a heart-stopping ninth. There will be no rest for the Yankees though, as they face their third elimination game in a week tonight in Game Four.
Luis Severino will make the start for the Yankees on extra rest, looking to rebound from his disastrous outing in the Wild Card Game. He allowed three runs on four hits — two of which were home runs — while only managing to record a single out. He threw 64 pitches in that game last Tuesday.
The Indians will start Trevor Bauer on short rest. Bauer dominated the Yankees in Game One at Jacobs Field, hurling 6 2/3 scoreless innings while allowing only three baserunners.
Bauer is 3-0 against the Yankees this season. He gave up one run on seven hits on August 4th in Cleveland, and followed with six innings of one-run ball in the first game of a doubleheader on August 30th in New York. Overall, Bauer has pitched better at home than on the road this season. In 14 games away from Jacobs Field, Bauer has a 4.54 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, and .777 OPS against. He has never started a game on only three-days' rest.
Conversely, Severino has performed better on the road this year. He is 8-5 with a 3.71 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and .627 OPS against in 16 home starts. He has also allowed 15 home runs at Yankee Stadium, versus only six on the road. (Those numbers don't include the Wild Card Game.)
Severino is 1-1 in two starts versus the Indians this year. He gave up one run -- a first-inning homer by Michael Brantley -- on only two hits at Jacobs Field on August 6th. He walked one and struck out nine, in what was one of his best starts of the year. He followed that with a clunker against the Tribe in the Bronx on August 28th. He gave up four solo home runs, including two by Jose Ramirez. Carlos Santana and Austin Jackson also took Sevy deep in that game.
Joe Girardi will likely keep Severino on a short leash for Game Four. If Sevy should falter, the Yankee skipper has a fully rested bullpen to turn to. Thanks to Tanaka's great start, Girardi only used two relievers in Game Three: David Robertson threw only nine pitches, while Chapman threw 34. Chapman might only be available to pitch one inning in Game Four, but Garcia, Montgomery, Kahnle, Robertson, Betances, Green, and Warren could probably all go longer if needed.
The Yankees did a great job of moving past Friday's heart-breaking loss, combined with all the distracting questions and innuendo surrounding Girardi's decisions, to win a hard-fought Game Three. They played flawless defense, and worked counts at the plate to break up the pitching duel and drive starter Carlos Carrasco from the game in the sixth. Greg Bird even managed to become the only left-handed hitter besides Cody Bellinger to homer off of lights-out reliever Andrew Miller this year.
Do the Yankees have an encore performance in them? We'll find out soon enough. If they do manage to force a decisive Game Five, history is on their side. Since the format was adopted in 1969, the Yankees have pushed a best-of-five playoff series to the limit nine times, winning six.
|CLEVELAND INDIANS||NEW YORK YANKEES|
|Francisco Lindor - SS||Brett Gardner - LF|
|Jason Kipnis - CF||Aaron Judge - RF|
|Jose Ramirez - 2B||Didi Gregorius - SS|
|Jay Bruce - RF||Gary Sanchez - C|
|Carlos Santana - 1B||Greg Bird - 1B|
|Michael Brantley - DH||Starlin Castro - 2B|
|Lonnie Chisenhall - LF||Chase Headley - DH|
|Roberto Perez - C||Todd Frazier - 3B|
|Giovanny Urshela - 3B||Aaron Hicks - CF|
|Trevor Bauer - RHP||Luis Severino - RHP|