The Runner Sports

Back To Cleveland: Luis Severino Redeems Himself And Yankees Capitalize On Opportunities To Force Game 5 In ALDS

The New York Yankees protected the house. Winning both Games 3 and 4 at Yankee Stadium, the team has forced a Game 5 with the Cleveland Indians. Winning Monday night 7-3, this ALDS will come down to a winner take all Game 5 back in Cleveland. The Houston Astros will have to wait to see who they will play in the ALCS. After the heartbreak that was Game 2, the Yankees have bounced back and restored some confidence heading into Game 5.

A Quick Recap of Game 4

Luis Severino had to have a bounce-back game after his disastrous Wild Card Game start. After going only a third of an inning and giving up 3 runs, anything would have been an improvement. Although it was not as excellent as Masahiro Tanaka in Game 3, Severino looked good Monday night. Going 7 innings, Severino struck out 9 Cleveland hitters while giving up 3 runs again. Once again, those runs were surrendered on a solo home run and a 2-run home run. This time, though, it was after the first inning.

Meanwhile, the offense capitalized on the opportunities that the Cleveland defense gave them. Trevor Bauer, who was pitching on short rest, looked better than his final line score might indicate. However, he was not the same pitcher from Thursday. After Giovanny Urshela caught a Starlin Castro line drive off of his calf rather than his glove, the Yankees jumped to score 4 runs that inning. All of those runs were scored with two outs, starting with Todd Frazier’s double. Later, with the bases loaded and two away, Brett Garnder grounded to Urshela, which resulted in a throw that caused Carlos Santana to jump, which resulted in Gardner being safe and a run scoring. The only earned run for the Indians on the night was from the Gary Sanchez home run in the sixth.

Looking Ahead to Game 5

Game 4 was a great win for the Yankees. However, it was not the perfect win. There were missed opportunities, bad performances from certain players, and other worrying signs heading into Game 5. At the same time, there are promising signs to look at to give Yankee fans hope on Wednesday night.

Warning Flags

Aaron Judge Needs to Stop Striking Out

Everybody assumed that this would be a problem heading into the postseason. In the postseason, the pitching is at its best and every at-bat is studied, analyzed, and planned out. In the ALDS, Aaron Judge has struck out 12 times in 15 at-bats. Including his 4 walks, Judge has only put three balls in play out of 19 plate appearances. Thankfully, one of those three balls in play turned into a 2-run double on Monday. However, the strikeouts are a huge problem. Yes, Judge does work the count in most of his strikeouts. He gets to 3-2 and manages to foul a few balls off.

The thing is, there is something to be said for putting the ball in play. Judge has gotten on base on one of his strikeouts thanks to a wild pitch. However, Judge needs to start putting pressure on the defense. Even if he swings at 70%, he has enough power where that can still result in a gap shot. The average of .067 would not be as big of a deal if it were not for the 12 punchouts. Judge needs to stop the trend in Game 5.

Wild Thing Dellin Betances

Dellin Betances was the first reliever out of the bullpen Monday. He lasted two hitters. After walking Yan Gomes on 8 pitches, Betances lost all of his control against Francisco Lindor, walking him on 4 pitches. During the Gomes plate appearance, Betances threw a ball that went behind Gomes. Turning an inning from normal to extremely stressful in a matter of minutes, Tommy Kahnle had to come in and put out the fire. Betances has been struggling over the past month. Ending the season with a 5.59 ERA in September, Betances has carried over those struggles to the postseason.

He did pitch a clean inning on Thursday in a game that was already lost in Game 1. In Game 2, he was the pitcher of record after giving up the winning run to Gomes. Monday night was the worst he has looked in the ALDS. That is not a good sign for a team who might have to use the entire bullpen in Game 5.

Does Anybody Expect Another Bad Game From Corey Kluber?

The Yankees jumped all over Corey Kluber in Game 2. Scoring 6 runs in 2.2 innings off of Cleveland’s ace, that was a feel-good moment for the entire team. Now, looking at a Game 2 matchup between Kluber and C.C. Sabathia, who thinks that Kluber will be that off again? Yes, the Yankees deserve credit for hitting Kluber around. However, Kluber did not have his best stuff. The Yankees hit the mistakes. How many mistakes will there be on Wednesday?

Positive Signs

Production From the Bottom

Todd Frazier, Greg Bird, and Aaron Hicks have been leading the way for the Yankees’ offense. All three have batting averages above .286 (Hicks leading the way with .313) and they have combined for 8 RBIs. Hicks and Bird might be more on the mind of the Yankee fans when it comes to production. Both have hit crucial home runs in the ALDS, with Bird having the most significant home run in the series (for the Yankees). However, Todd Frazier has been getting on base and he sparked the rally yesterday that resulted in 4 runs in the second inning. Then he scored an insurance run in the fifth inning.

The highest any of these three guys have been in the order is fifth (Bird). Hicks and Frazier have toiled in the bottom of the order all series. Each of them has taken a turn as the last man in the order, including Hicks last night. In addition to their 8 RBIs, these three hitters have 8 runs and 4 walks among them. If the Yankees’ top of the order could replicate this production, then Wednesday might be a good night.

Cleveland’s Defensive Realignments

Terry Francona has been trying a different formula for his lineup this ALDS. Second baseman Jason Kipnis is playing center field and third baseman Jose Ramirez is playing second base. While these two guys have not made errors on the stat sheet, there have been miscues by both of them. Kipnis in Game 3 misplayed a Brett Gardner shallow fly ball. Though that did not result in a run, the ball off the wall by Starlin Castro in Game 4 did. While it looked reasonable to play it off of the wall, it hit off the base of the wall. An argument can be made that an everyday center fielder would have read it better and caught it on the warning track.

Remember the Urshela error on the Brett Gardner ground ball? While his high throw is on him, the reason for the rushed throw is on Jose Ramirez. With the bases loaded, Urshela looked to throw the ball to second to get that out. However, Ramirez was not rushing to make it to the bag. That caused Urshela to rush his throw to first to try to throw out the speedy Gardner. Once again, an everyday second baseman would have been hustling to the bag in order to give Urshela the option to throw to second base. The Yankees need to capitalize on these defensive miscues.

Game 5 Prediction

I do not think this will be another bad game for Kluber. Kluber will likely go at least 6 innings without surrendering more than 2 runs. Unfortunately for the Yankees, I do not think that will be enough to beat the Tribe. Game 5 will go to the Indians, 4-2.

Griffin Fuller
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Griffin Fuller

Former Division 1 pitcher at Stetson University with an immense passion for the game of baseball. Grew up playing baseball from the age of 3. Student of the game of baseball in every aspect.Located out of Debary, Florida.
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Griffin Fuller
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