Monday, 18 December, 2017

Yankees ALDS notebook: CC gets the call if there's a Game 5

Joe Girardi has a rough night in Cleveland with several questionable decisions during Game 2 Joe Girardi has a rough night in Cleveland with several questionable decisions during Game 2
Kristopher Love | 11 October, 2017, 03:28

The Yankees were leading the Indians, 8-3, in the bottom of the 6th inning of ALDS Game 2 at Cleveland's Progressive Field when Girardi chose to pull out starter CC Sabathia and relieve him with Chad Green.

After failing to get across the board in Game 1 of the American League division series against Cleveland Indians starter Trevor Bauer, the New York Yankees pounced on the potential AL CY Young victor Corey Kluber, tacking on six runs by the 3rd inning thanks to a 1st inning 2 run home run by Gary Sanchez, a single in the 3rd by Starlin Castro and a 3 run home run by Aaron Hicks.

Feeding off the dismal play of Indians third baseman Giovanny Urshela, who committed a pair of errors, the Yankees were able to put up five runs in the first three innings off Trevor Bauer and Mike Clevinger.

Bird came through with the huge hit NY had to have when he connected against Miller leading off the seventh.

"He was brilliant", Girardi said. Girardi said Sunday that he believes it was an accident.

So, the Yankees are down two game to none and they must win the two games in NY or the 2017 season ends as soon as today.

A distressed Yankees fan base and industry reporters alike were critical of Girardi's deflection of blame and challenge passivity. It wasn't quite like Aroldis Chapman's blunder - accidentally or otherwise "liking" a tweet by another calling manager Joe Girardi an imbecile following his replay faux pas from Game 2 - but it nonetheless caused a bit of a stir. While fans blame managers far too often for a team's losses, the theory that "the players lose, not the manager" is not universal to every game.

"We've had our backs, each other's backs all year long", he said. One thing to keep an eye on will be the availability of Indians slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who left Game 2 with an ankle injury.

"He is, I would say, I don't know if "remarkably" better is a good word, but pretty close".

"The trainers are encouraging him to go down to the cage, probably like as we speak".

This leaves the Indians in an objectively worse spot than the Yankees. He's doing much better today.

Michael Brantley is expected to be the designated hitter in Encarnacion's place Sunday. While I think it is harsh trying to point flaws out of a lineup after only two games - especially the one that scored 6 runs off of Corey Kluber - but the Yankees have their back against the wall. Then, of course, Bauer lasted just 1 2/3 innings. The two-time All-Star missed Cleveland's run to the World Series previous year and only recently returned from an ankle ligament injury that kept him out for 50 games after August 8 this season.

Masahiro Tanaka makes his second postseason start for NY - he lost a 3-0 AL wild-card game to Houston in 2015.

On Sunday, it was Tanaka, who threw the most important seven scoreless innings of his major league career.

For the most part, it's been an enjoyable season in charge.

Here are the Indians starters lined up for the next two games - Carlos Carrasco and Josh Tomlin. Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and Didi Gregorius each hit critical homers in New York's wild-card win over Minnesota, but the group is a combined 2 for 24 with nine strikeouts in the ALDS. Tanaka is 1-2 against the Indians in four previous games with a 4.63 ERA.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.