In the Bronx on Monday night, the Yankees bested the Indians 7-3 (box score) in Game 4 of the ALDS. It was another elimination game for the Yankees, who after dropping the opening two games of the series have now evened the best-of-five set at two games apiece.
Now let's dig into some things to know regarding Game 4 ...
Starting pitchers on three-days' rest continues to be a questionable idea
Trevor Bauer of course suffocated the Yankees in Game 1 and coming into Game 4 had pretty well dominated the Yanks all season. In Game 4, though, Bauer was going on three-days' rest. That's almost always going to exact a price -- especially for a pitcher who's not of ace quality -- and facing the same opponent in the same series on short rest may entail further "penalty." The recent history of short-rest outings in the same postseason series is not a pretty one for the pitcher in question, and Bauer was certainly not immune. He looked fairly sharp in the first inning, but in the second frame things fell apart. Here's how that bottom of the second went for Bauer ...
- Reached on error.
- Intentional walk.
- Lifted for reliever.
Bauer wound up working just 1 2/3 innings. Over that span, he allowed four runs, struck out three, walked a pair, and got worked for 55 pitches. By the time he left the game, the Yankees had an 87.7 percent chance of winning Game 4, and the Cleveland bullpen was facing a long night. So, no, the short-rest start by a non-ace didn't go well.
Severino bounced back nicely
Nothing wrong with that line against one of the AL's best offenses. And in case you were worried about Severino's career-high workload exactly a price on his stuff, well ...
Luis Severino just threw a pitch 99.9 MPH... He's averaging 97.9 MPH on his four seamer tonight. 🔥🔥🔥— Daren Willman (@darenw) October 10, 2017
And Exhibit B ...
He's doing fine on that front. Most important, the 23-year-old ace stepped up in a big way on Monday night.
The Yankees don't blow big leads at home
When Starlin Castro scurried home in the third on Giovanny Urshela's second error of the game, that pushed the score to 5-0. It also have the Yankees a hefty 93.8 percent chance of winning Game 4. Speaking of five-run leads, the Yankees haven't blown one at home in 2017 ...
Yankees: 29-0 at home with a lead of 5+ runs during regular season, best record in MLB.— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) October 10, 2017
Even though the Tribe made things a bit more interesting with Carlos Santana's two-run homer in the third, the Yankees still haven't blown a five-run lead in the Bronx this year.
The Cleveland defense had a rare bad game
When it comes to being sure-handed in the field, the 2017 Indians are usually among the best. During the regular season, Cleveland ranked first in the AL in fielding percentage, and in all of baseball only the Marlins made fewer errors. In light of that, it was surprising to see the Tribe make three errors by the fifth inning in Game 4 and wound up committing a fourth error in the seventh. Worst of all for Cleveland, six of the seven runs they allowed were unearned. They haven't allowed six more unearned runs in a game since May of 2015.
Ramirez continues to struggle
Among Cleveland position players, Jose Ramirez was probably the best of 2017 (with a nod to Francisco Lindor, as well). Ramirez is a contender for AL MVP honors, and that's with good reason. Well, when a small sample size meets postseason pitching, bad things can happen for hitters. Coming into Game 4, Ramirez had a line of .111/.200/.111, and then he went 0 for 4 with a strikeout. The Indians need that to change in Game 5.
The Yankees are trying to join elite postseason company
The Yankees are of course one win away from coming back from down 0-2 to win this best-of-five series. As you might guess, that hasn't happened often. Just nine teams have won a best-of-five series in MLB after losing the first two games, and just three of those nine teams won Game 5 on the road. That, of course, is what the Yankees must do on Wednesday.
The Indians' bullpen will get a much-needed day off
Coming into Game 4, Cleveland relievers had pitched exactly half of the team's innings in this series. Then, of course, Bauer lasted just 1 2/3 innings. That means of the 38 innings logged by Indians pitchers in this ALDS, relievers have accounted for 21 1/3 of them -- or 56.1 percent of them. Lucky for the Tribe relief corps, Tuesday is a travel day.
The decisive Game 5 is set for Wednesday in Cleveland
Game 5 -- to determine which of these teams advances to the ALCS to take on the Astros -- is scheduled for Wednesday night at Progressive Field. CC Sabathia will go for the visiting Yankees opposite Corey Kluber for the Tribe. Sabathia pitched solidly in Game 2, while Kluber was uncharacteristically awful in that same contest. First pitch is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. ET on FS1.