Terry Francona's big risk might just pay off handsomely.
As for CC Sabathia, sending him out there in Game 2, in an environment he spent parts of the first eight season's of his career in - against likely '17 AL Cy Young Award Winner Corey Kluber, is a stroke of genius by Girardi. Trevor Bauer, Cleveland's starter, picked up the win after throwing 6 2/3 shutout innings. But the three runs Gray gave up - two on former Met Jay Bruce's fourth-inning homer - made the bullpen irrelevant given the Yanks' inability to generate any kind of meaningful production at the plate.
Opposing hitters batted just.227 against Bauer's curve.
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild visited Gray, but it only got worse.
Bauer aided the Indians' sprint to the finish by going 9-1 with a 2.42 ERA over his last 13 games (12 starts) and allowed two runs in 13 innings over his final two starts.
The stakes: The Yankees, who lost the wild-card game in 2015, are in their first playoff series since getting swept in the 2012 ALCS, while the Indians are hoping to return to the World Series - and win it for the first time since 1948.
"You just try to go out and perform well". It was the longest no-hit bid by a Cleveland pitcher in the postseason, bettering Hall of Famers Bob Feller (1948) and Early Wynn (1954), who both went four innings. The Indians have a deep lineup, solid rotation, and a superb bullpen. "It doesn't bother me, the crowd or anything like that".
"His curveball was really good".
It started with reliever Chad Green inheriting the mess left by Severino and cleaning it up with no excess dirt striking out the next two hitter to leave the inning with the Yankees only down three. Sonny Gray didn't help matters for his struggling squad either, as he exited after 3.1 innings.
"I had good stuff", Bauer said. He's gone multiple innings.
Fourth in the North and Central American and Caribbean region with two games left, the Americans still can earn one of the region's three automatic berths.
"Trevor will never back down from a challenge and we love that about him".
Roberto Perez grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and no outs to score Bruce in the second to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. I'm expected to go run, catch the ball and get it in as fast as I can.
He tacked another one on in the 5, a one-out sacrifice fly that scored Jose Ramirez.
"To me, it's not about me wanting to pitch the first game or wanting to pitch the second game", Kluber said. Chasen Shreve will be used for certain matchups, while Masahiro Tanaka and another player will join the pitching staff.
All in all, it was an utter domination in Cleveland during Game 1.
LeBron James hasn't had to make a decision this big in years.
The matchup that matters most: Verlander had some command issues with his fastball the first half of the season, but he has cut his walk rate from more than 10 percent to 4.3 percent in the past two months.
The Indians' official Twitter account was on point Thursday.