The Yankees stunned the baseball world, completing a comeback from an 0-2 deficit in their best-of-five ALDS series vs. Cleveland, by beating the Indians, 5-2 on Wednesday night.
Before losing the last three games of this division series, Cleveland had won 35 of their previous 39 games. Cleveland manager Terry Francona, while with Boston, led them to their historic comeback from down 0-3 to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, but now has seen the Indians lose a 3-1 WS lead last year, and a 2-0 ALDS lead this year.
The Indians’ last WS title? 1948.
For Joe Girardi, a reprieve from what happened with the non-challenge in Game 2.
The Yankees now head to Houston to take on the Astros for the AL pennant. The ALCS is a best-of-seven.
Didi Gregorius got the Yanks on the board in the first inning with his first HR of the night.
In the third, Didi did it again, hitting a 2-run HR to put the Yanks up 3-0.
CC Sabathia was brilliant for 4 1/3 innings, striking out nine, but faltered in the fifth, giving up four straight hits, and two runs.
David Robertson came in and got a DP to get out of the inning, then went two more innings.
It was nail-biter time until the ninth, when the Yanks got two insurance runs to put the game away. With one out, Hicks singled and went to second on an error. After an out, Todd Frazier walked, and Brett Gardner got his third hit of the night to drive in a run. When the throw to the infield got away for another Cleveland error, Frazier scored.
Aroldis Chapman then closed out the game.
The Yanks won despite striking out 16x. Judge struck out 4x. The Yanks struck out 15 Indians.
Sabathia 4 1/3 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 0 W, 9 K.
Robertson (Winner) 2 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K.
Chapman (Save) 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 4 K.
Gardner 3 hits, RBI.
Didi 3 hits, 2 HR, 3 RBI.
What to do about Aaron Judge? 1 for 20 in the series with 16 strikeouts. Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird had a rough Game 5, each took 0-for’s with 3 K each. Chase Headley had an 0 for the series.
Despite some players having offensive woes that they need to break out of vs. Houston, the Yanks came back from a seemingly impossible situation and advance.
Game 1 of the ALCS is Friday in Houston. I would expect the Yanks’ rotation to go like this for the ALCS:
Severino (lined up for Games 3 and 7)
One problem with that is that Tanaka has pitched far better at home than on the road, and with this scenario, Games 2 and 6 are on the road. The Yanks could (and probably won’t) use Montgomery, but Montgomery hasn’t pitched in a while, and with that short LF fence in Houston, the Yanks probably wouldn’t want to use a lefty there.
As for that trade with Chicago this summer? Getting Robertson back has been huge.
And better things to come? The Arizona Fall League started yesterday, and Yankees’ prospects did well in a 7-4 win.
Yankees’ prospects for the Scottsdale Scorpions:
Justus Sheffield 5 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 6 K. Win
Cody Carroll 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 3 K. Save
SS Thairo Estrada 2 for 4, RBI
OF Billy McKinney 1 for 4, 3 -run HR.
OF Estevan Florial 1 for 4.
Lastly, Boston manager John Farrell got the axe yesterday. Brad Ausmus of the Tigers is history. So the Phils, Mets, Tigers and Red Sox are all currently looking for new managers.