Posted on October 9, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The New York Yankees have stayed alive for one more day. Facing elimination back home in the Bronx Sunday night, the Yankees managed a 1-0 win to force a Game 4 of the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians on Monday night. Masahiro Tanaka and Carlos Carrasco put on a wonderful pitcher’s duel, the kind we expect to see in October. Ultimately, the Yankees forced Carrasco out of the game and got a home run from Greg Bird. However, the weather report has cast some uncertainty upon Game 4, leaving open the possibility that it will have to be pushed back until Tuesday.
New York’s Revenge
Not only did the Yankees win Game 3, but the way they won had to feel good. Bird battled injuries all season and at one point appeared doubtful to return at all, only to come through with the biggest hit of the season to date. That hit came off of Andrew Miller, the former Yankee who was traded to the Indians last summer and helped Cleveland reach last year’s World Series. Finally, Cleveland right fielder Jay Bruce struck out four times in Game 3. Bruce hit a pair of massive home runs during the first two games of the series, so to shut him down entirely was great revenge and crucial to New York winning the game.
Indians manager Terry Francona has thrown a bit of a curveball by announcing Trevor Bauer as the Game 4 starter. Josh Tomlin appeared to be in line for the start, but Francona changed his mind after Game 3. Bauer was sensational against the Yankees in Game 1, striking out eight and allowing just two hits over 6.2 scoreless innings. He was brilliant the second half of the season and carried that over into the playoffs. Of course, Bauer will be pitching on short rest. However, Francona could potentially be betting on the weather delaying the game by a day, opening the door for Bauer to pitch Game 4 Tuesday on regular rest.
Meanwhile, the Yankees will once again put their season in the hands of Luis Severino. Severino started the Wild Card Game for the Yankees but recorded just one out and gave up three runs before being pulled. That was his first experience with postseason baseball, so he is no doubt anxious to get back on the mound and put that start behind him. Of course, how much confidence do the Yankees have in him and how quick will Joe Girardi be to pull him if he gets off to another slow start? For what it’s worth, Severino struck out nine and allowed one run on two hits over 6.2 innings when he faced the Indians in August, although that lineup didn’t include Bruce, Cleveland’s most productive hitter during the playoffs.
With uncertainty over Severino and how much rope Girardi will give him, the Yankees bullpen will be the biggest X-factor in Game 4. Specifically, Dellin Betances could play an important role. He took the loss in Game 2, but that was primarily because he was asked to begin his third inning of work, so that’s not entirely on him. Prior to the playoffs, he lost his spot in the bullpen pecking order, but he was absolutely electric in Games 1 and 2, striking out five in three scoreless innings prior to the 13th inning of Game 2. Betances could once again be a weapon out of the bullpen and give the Yankees an inning or two to help set up for Aroldis Chapman, making him an important figure in Game 4.
There’s a lot of variables in this game that will be hard to predict, but the Yankees having confidence, momentum, and the crowd behind them are things we know for sure that will give New York a boost. Severino should be able to bounce back and at least give the Yankees a few good innings, while Bauer may not be quite as sharp on short rest. Yankees win 4-3.