2017 American League Division Series 1
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|2017 American League Division Series|
|New York Yankees
91 - 71 in the AL
|3 - 2
102 - 60 in the AL
|1||New York Yankees 0 Cleveland Indians 4||October 5||Sonny Gray (0-1) Trevor Bauer (1-0)||7:30 pm|
|2||New York Yankees 8 Cleveland Indians 9||October 6||CC Sabathia (0-0) Corey Kluber (0-0)||5:00 pm|
|3||Cleveland Indians 0 New York Yankees 1||October 8||Carlos Carrasco (0-0) Masahiro Tanaka (1-0)||7:30 pm|
|4||Cleveland Indians 3 New York Yankees 7||October 9||Trevor Bauer (1-1) Luis Severino (1-0)||7:00 pm|
|5||New York Yankees 5 Cleveland Indians 2||October 11||CC Sabathia (0-0) Corey Kluber (0-1)||8:00 pm|
Game 1 @ Progressive Field
|WP: Trevor Bauer (1-0); LP: Sonny Gray (0-1); SV: Cody Allen (1)|
|Home Runs: CLE - Jay Bruce (1)|
- Attendance: 37,612
Game 1 was dominated by Indians starter Trevor Bauer, who fully justified manager Terry Francona's decision to use him instead of ace Corey Kluber, in a bid to ensure that Kluber would be able to start an eventual Game 5 on normal rest. Bauer did not look at all like a second fiddle, as he allowed but 2 hits and a walk to the Yankees in 6 2/3 innings, the first hit coming only in the 6th when Aaron Hicks doubled with one out in the 6th but was left stranded. He struck out 8 batters as his curve ball was simply devastating, forcing the Yankees' hitters to chase at shadows all night. He left the game after allowing a two-out single to Starlin Castro in the 7th, and that was all the justification Francona needed to give his top relievers a bit of work, as Andrew Miller stepped in to strike out Greg Bird to end the inning. By that time, the Indians had a 4-0 lead and the game looked pretty much to be over. Bauer was helped by one great defensive play, a diving catch of a line drive off the bat of Chase Headley by CF Jason Kipnis, normally a second baseman and still learning the ropes of playing the outfield, to lead off the 3rd. Had the ball dropped in for a likely double, things may well have unfolded differently as the score was still only 1-0 at that point.
On the other side of the ledger, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had also made an unconventional decision in choosing his starting pitcher, preferring mid-year acquisition Sonny Gray over veterans CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka. Gray had pitched well in the postseason back when he was a member of the Oakland Athletics, but that was a few years ago, and his stint with the Bronx Bombers had been underwhelming thus far. Still, he started things off with a scoreless 1st, but immediately got in trouble in the 2nd. Jay Bruce led off the inning with a solid double, and Carlos Santana followed with a single that moved Bruce to third. Had he had reacted more quickly, Bruce might well have scored, but with no one out, the Indians did not force the play. Gray then compounded his trouble by hitting Lonnie Chisenhall with a pitch to load the bases, but Roberto Perez did him a favor by hitting a hard grounder to SS Didi Gregorius, who started a double play. Bruce scored, but New York had avoided a big inning. However, Gray could not escape in the 4th. He gave up a lead-off walk to Edwin Encarnacion, then was smoked by Bruce who drove a pitch to the right field stands to increase the lead to 3-0. Gray was clearly shaken, as he then walked Santana and after a first out, Perez as well. Girardi replaced him with Adam Warren, who allowed a single to Giovanny Urshela, but CF Hicks reacted quickly to prevent Santana from scoring. Warren then struck out Francisco Lindor and got Kipnis to fly out to keep New York's hopes alive. In the 5th inning however, Cleveland tacked on an insurance run when Jose Ramirez led off with a single, then Warren threw a wild pitch. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez had trouble with bouncing pitches all evening, as four wild pitches were charged to his pitchers, and at least a couple of them could have been prevented with better technique. Indeed, after Encarnacion had flied out and Jaime Garcia come in to face Bruce, another ball got past Sanchez to move Ramirez to third, and Bruce's fly ball to center became a sacrifice fly.
With Bauer out of the game, the Yankees mounted their only threat in the 8th as Miller walked Headley after one out, and then Brett Gardner with two outs. With Aaron Judge coming up, Francona called on closer Cody Allen, and he got the tall slugger to chase at a couple of pitches outside the strike zone to strike him out, making him wear the proverbial golden sombrero. The 9th inning was just a formality for Allen, as he got two outs, allowed a harmless single to Castro, then struck out Bird to notch a relatively easy save. For the Yankees, the only positive out of the game was that they had had a chance to rest their front-line relievers, who had worked very hard in the Wild Card Game, and that both Garcia and the enigmatic Dellin Betances - who had struck out the side in the bottom of the 8th - had pitched well when asked to keep the game close.
Game 2 @ Progressive Field
|WP: Josh Tomlin (1-0); LP: Dellin Betances (0-1)|
|Home Runs: NY - Gary Sanchez (1), Aaron Hicks (1), Greg Bird (1); CLE - Francisco Lindor (1), Jay Bruce (2)|
- Attendance: 37,681
Game 2 was a real barnburner, featuring 17 runs, but also four extra innings and over five hours of baseball, as Cleveland took a two games to none lead with a 13-inning, 9-8 win. To achieve this result, they had to overcome a disastrous start by their ace, Corey Kluber, a likely serious injury to their best hitter, Edwin Encarnacion, and an 8-3 deficit in the 6th inning. For the Yankees, they now had two days to ponder how they could have dropped a game they had in hand, while some of manager Joe Girardi's moves would be gone over time and again.
It was clear from the start that Kluber was not on a good day. After one out, he walked Aaron Judge, then gave up a two-run homer to Gary Sanchez The Yankees then put runners on second on third before Aaron Hicks struck out for third out. That first lead was short-lived, though, as CC Sabathia did not start the game on the right foot either, victim on Todd Frazier's error on lead-off hitter Francisco Lindor's grounder. He walked Jose Ramirez and hit Encarnacion with a pitch to load the bases with one out and a single by Carlos Santana scored two runs. Then, on a play that could have major repercussions for the remainder of the postseason, Jay Bruce hit a line drive to SS Didi Gregorius, and Encarnacion seemed to badly injure his ankle when he unsuccessfully tried to avoid being doubled off second base. He had been called safe at first, but that call was overturned on one of many video reviews used in the game. The Indians then took a short-lived lead after Frazier was caught stealing to end the top of the 2nd. Austin Jackson led off with a single, then made it to second when Frazier committed his second error in two innings, throwing wildly while trying to force Jackson at second on a grounder by Yan Gomes. Giovanny Urshela advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt, and after an intentional walk to Lindor, Jason Kipnis singled in Jackson for a 3-2 lead. They had Sabathia in the ropes, but he just managed to escape.
The Yankees' bats truly got going in the 3rd, however. After striking out Judge, Kluber allowed a single to Sanchez, who moved to second on a ground out by Gregorius. But he could never record the third out. Starlin Castro singled to tie the game again, then Greg Bird singled as well. Up next was Hicks, and he hit a home run to right field, good for three runs and a 6-3 lead. After the game, Terry Francona would state that he had left Kluber in the game too long, as it was obvious that he did not have his good stuff that day. Tyler Olson replaced him to record the final out. But now, Sabathia had begun a roll, now that his defense was not laying booby-traps for him, retiring Cleveland in order in the bottom of the 3rd and again in the 4th. In the meantime, Mike Clevinger had taken over on the mound for the Indians. In the 5th though, he walked Castro and then allowed a homer to Bird as New York increased its lead to 8-3. The Yankees seemed to be fully in control of the game at that point.
Sabathia pitched his third straight perfect inning in the bottom of the 5th, but in the 6th, he issued a lead-off walk to Santana. He retired Bruce on a line drive, and then Girardi decided to take him out, trusting that his bullpen would have no difficulty preserving a five-run year. But boy, was he ever wrong. With Chad Green on the mound, Jackson flied out and Gomes doubled to place a second runner on base. Francona then sent Lonnie Chisenhall to pinch hit for Urshela. With two strikes, home plate umpire Dan Iassogna, who had quite a rough day calling balls and strikes, ruled that Chisenhall had been grazed by one of Green's pitches. The replay clearly showed that the ball had hit the knob of Chisenhall's bat and then been caught cleanly by C Sanchez, which should have been called an inning-ending strikeout. Sanchez protested, but Girardi did not ask for a video review, and the bases were now loaded. Lindor then made the Yankees pay by absolutely crushing one of Green's pitches, very deep to right field and just fair, for a grand slam that completely changed the shape of the game.
In the meantime, after Bird's homer, Bryan Shaw had come in to pitch for Cleveland, and he gave up nothing in 2 2/3 innings. David Robertson had replaced Green, and after his tremendous performance in the Wild Card Game, he was back taking a star turn, getting the Indians' last out in the 6th, and then shutting them down in order in the 7th. In the 8th, Andrew Miller took over on the mound for Cleveland and got the Yankees in order again, as their bats seemed to have gone completely to sleep. But Girardi asked Robertson for another inning of work, and he served up a fastball in the middle of the plate to Bruce, who hit it to the opposite field for his second homer in two games to tie the score at 8. Tommy Kahnle finished the inning, but he probably should have started it as well... The Yankees finally stirred in the 9th, as Frazier hit a lead-off infield single and Brett Gardner bunted him to second. Joe Smith replaced Miller, and he got Judge to ground out, although Frazier moved up to third base. He ended the threat by striking out Sanchez however. Aroldis Chapman then came out for the 9th, and while he gave up a single to Jason Kipnis, he stranded him there, pushing the game into extra innings.
Girardi now had a problem, in that he had his closer already on the mound, had used his four best relievers, and had also had to use both of his long men in Game 1. The longer the game went, the more he would be at a disadvantage, given that his opponent, Francona, had a few more options available. In the 10th, Francona called on his own closer, Cody Allen, and while he put a pair of runners on with two out, he forced Chase Headley to ground out to second for the final out. Chapman came back for a second inning and after two outs, Jackson hit a soft dribbler between the third base line and the mound. Chapman picked it up and unwisely decided to throw to first although his chances of getting the speedy Jackson were slim to none. His throw eluded 1B Bird and hit a photographer behind first base, putting Jackson on second. Girardi then issued an intentional walk to Gomes, but Erik Gonzalez, who had come in to play third after Chisenhall's game-changing at-bat, flied out to end the inning. Frazier then led off the 11th with a routine ground ball to Gonzalez at third, who airmailed his throw to first, as it landed in the back of the photographers' well, placing him on second base. Girardi sent in Ronald Torreyes to pinch-run for Frazier, and asked Gardner to lay down another bunt. But Gardner missed Allen's pitch, and Gomes threw a bullet to second base, picking off Torreyes (the original call was safe, but it was overturned upon review). That play deflated the Yankees completely.
Girardi now turned to Dellin Betances to pitch. He had fallen out of favor because of issuing too many walks in September, but he remained one of the hardest pitchers off which to get a base hit, and an absolute strikeout machine, so it was not like the Yankees were putting some Triple-A call-up on the mound. His first inning of work was excellent, as he retired the Indians in order in the bottom of the 11th. In the 12th, Francona sent his penciled-in starter for an eventual Game 4, Josh Tomlin, to pitch. It was clear he was in for the long run, as he was well rested, and he got things going by retiring the Yankees in order. Betances imitated him, however, and we were now starting the 13th inning with the game approaching 5 hours (in fact the NLDS game between the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals, which had started two and a half hours after this one, was already winding down). Tomlin continued his excellent work, picking up another 1-2-3 inning. Girardi was now faced with either leaving Betances who had already pitched two innings, putting him in uncharted territory, or calling on Adam Warren, just back from an injury and who had pitched a lengthy stint of his own the night before. He went with Betances, but Jackson worked him for a walk. He then stole second base easily, taking advantage of the tall pitcher's slow delivery to the plate. Gomes was up, and after missing on a bunt attempt, he began to swing away. He worked the count full by fouling off a few pitches from the clearly tired hurler, then lined a ball sharply down the third base line. Jackson scored without even drawing a throw and the Indians had dealt a devastating psychological blow to their opponents as the series headed to New York.
Game 3 @ New Yankee Stadium
|WP: Masahiro Tanaka (1-0); LP: Andrew Miller (0-1); SV: Aroldis Chapman (1)|
|Home Runs: NY - Greg Bird (2)|
- Attendance: 48,614
In contrast with all the runs scored in Game 2, Game 3 was a low-scoring pitchers' duel, with Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco battling New York's Masahiro Tanaka. Both pitchers only gave up 3 hits and no runs during their turn on the mound, but Carrasco only lasted until the 6th, and the game was decided in the 7th inning.
There was perfect symmetry in the 1st inning as both starters went 1-2-3 with a pair of strikeouts. In the 2nd. Carlos Santana singled with one out for the Indians, but was immediately erased when Austin Jackson grounded into a double play. Greg Bird was New York's first baserunner, when he was hit by a Carrasco pitch with two outs in the bottom of the 2nd, but he was left stranded. And so it went until the 4th, when Jason Kipnis tripled with one out, finally placing a runner in scoring position. But Tanaka was not fazed: he struck out Jose Ramirez and Jay Bruce in succession, two tough customers, to let Kipnis die on third base. In the 6th, Roberto Pérez opened things with a lead-off single, but he did not advance any further as the next three batters all flew out to the outfield, although RF Aaron Judge needed all of his 6'7" frame to corral Francisco Lindor's drive to deep right for the second out, as it was clearly headed for the stands.
Things finally stirred a bit for the Yankees in the bottom of the 6th. Aaron Hicks hit a lead-off single but was wiped out in a double play - already the fourth of the game as both teams had turned two. Judge then drew a walk, and Gary Sanchez drew a walk, prompting Terry Francona to pay a mound visit. When Carrasco walked Didi Gregorius as well to load the bases, Francona pulled the trigger, bringing in Andrew Miller, who got Starlin Castro to pop up for the final out. Meanwhile, Tanaka was still cruising, and he retired the Indians in order in the top of the 7th. In the bottom of the inning, though, Greg Bird surprised Miller, defying the unfavorable lefty-on-lefty match-up to drive a ball to the second deck in right field for a solo homer. Miller retired the next batter and Tyler Olson struck out Chase Headley and Hicks for the final two outs of the inning, but the damage had been done. The sole run would stand until the end.
Tanaka was removed after 7 innings, having pitched a great game with 7 strikeouts and only one walk, his slider having proved devastating. The Yankees needed six more outs, though. David Robertson got the first of these by getting Jackson to fly out, but he then walked Michael Brantley. When Francona called on Lonnie Chisenhall to pinch-hit for Perez, Joe Girardi went straight for his closer, asking Aroldis Chapman to record the last five outs. He finished the inning in typical fashion, with a pair of strikeouts. The Yankees then threatened to double their lead in the bottom of the 8th, with Brett Gardner hitting a lead-off double against Olson. Francona called on Joe Smith to pitch. He quickly struck out Judge and Sanchez, then after an intentional walk to Gregorius, he induced Castro to ground out to end the inning. Thus, Chapman still only had a one-run lead to work with as the 9th inning started. After striking out Lindor, he gave up back-to-back singles to Kipnis and Ramirez, but then struck out Bruce and got Santana to fly out to end the game. The Yankees were alive to play another day.
Game 4 @ New Yankee Stadium
|WP: Luis Severino (1-0); LP: Trevor Bauer (1-1); SV: Tommy Kahnle (1)|
|Home Runs: CLE - Carlos Santana (1), Roberto Perez (1); NY - Gary Sanchez (1)|
- Attendance: 47,316
The Yankees won Game 4 easily, to force a decisive game and inflict Cleveland its first back-to-back losses since early August. Trevor Bauer was starting on short rest for Cleveland, and he was a completely different pitcher from the one who dominated in the series opener, not even making it out of the 2nd inning. He was also let down by his defence in a big way, as four errors and a passed ball resulted in only one of New York's seven runs being earned. In contrast to Bauer, Yankees starter Luis Severino had had plenty of time to rest since his last time out, and had likely mulled over thoroughly what had gone wrong for him when he could only record one out in the Wild Card Game; this time it was the All-Star Severino who showed up, dominating Cleveland's batters as he pitched seven strong innings to earn the win.
After a scoreless 1st inning, the Yankees got going in the bottom of the 2nd when after one out, Starlin Castro reached on error by 3B Giovanny Urshela. After Bauer had struck out Chase Headley for the second out, he couldn't do anything right anymore, however. Todd Frazier hit a double that fell just inside the line in the left-field corner to open the score. Aaron Hicks then singled to drive in Frazier. Brett Gardner singled in turn, then Aaron Judge, who had been 0 for 11 with 9 strikeouts thus far in the series, had the key hit of the game, a double to left that scored both runners for a 4-0 lead. Bauer then issued an intentional pass to Didi Gregorius, and his night was over as he was replaced by Joe Smith, who finally recorded the final out by getting Gary Sanchez to pop up. All four runs were unearned, as Frazier should not even have come to bat, never mind those who followed him, were it not for Urshela's costly error.
Mike Clevinger replaced Smith on the mound to start the 3rd, but he immediately gave up a walk to Greg Bird and a double to Starlin Castro. He struck out Headley, then walked Frazier to load the bases. Hicks followed with a grounder to 1B Carlos Santana, who threw home for the second out. Clevinger was almost out of the inning, but Urshela let his team down again, as he fielded a routine grounder from Gardner, looked to second where he had no play, wasting some time, then rushed his throw to first, pulling Santana off the bag and allowing a 5th run to score, also unearned. That was the end for Clevinger, and with the 3rd inning not even complete, the Indians had their fourth pitcher in the game in Danny Salazar. The Indians then managed to get on the scoreboard in the top of the 4th when Jay Bruce drew a two-out walk and Santana followed with a homer to center. In the 5th, Roberto Perez homered as well with one out, and suddenly, Cleveland was back in the game, now only trailing 5-3. They would never get any closer however. In the bottom of the 5th, New York took Perez's run back when Frazier made it to second on a throwing error by P Salazar, who could not get a clean throw off to Santana on what was a relatively easy grounder. Frazier advanced to third on a ground out, then Tyler Olson replaced Salazar to face Gardner. The Yankees' left-fielder lifted a pitch to shallow center, but Jason Kipnis, not used to playing the position, could not get a strong throw off to home plate, and Frazier, who had challenged his arm all the way, scored easily.
At this point, time was starting to run out for the Indians and Severino got a second wind, retiring the side in order in the top of the 6th. New York then immediately added an insurance run as Sanchez homered with one out, victimizing Bryan Shaw. In the 7th, Michael Brantley, playing DH in place of the injured Edwin Encarnacion, hit a one-out single. It was the first hit by either team's designated hitter in the series, after they had gone a combined 0 for 26. He was left stranded however, as Severino completed his night's work with 7 innings of four-hit ball in which he struck out 9 and walked only 1. New York placed two more runners in scoring position in the bottom of the 7th, this time due to an error by 1B Santana, who let a ground ball by Hicks get past him and into right field, but Cody Allen managed to strand them there. In the 8th, Joe Girardi tried to give his top four relievers a rest by calling on Dellin Betances, but he was completely wild, throwing a pitch over Yan Gomes' head and walking him and Francisco Lindor as well before Girardi pulled the plug. Tommy Kahnle came in and in what was the best performance of his career, got the final six outs in order, five of them on strikeouts, to earn credit for the save as the game ended with a 7-3 score.
Game 5 @ Progressive Field
|WP: David Robertson (1-0); LP: Corey Kluber (0-1); SV: Aroldis Chapman (2)|
|Home Runs: NY - Didi Gregorius 2 (2)|
- Attendance: 37,802
The Yankees completed a stunning comeback by winning Game 5, 5-2 in Cleveland. The stars seemed to be aligned for the Indians, who were playing at home and, as planned, had their regular season ace Corey Kluber on the mound. However, as had been the case in Game 2, Kluber was but a shadow of himself and was chased early after placing his team in an early hole. This time, though, the Indians were unable to climb out of it.
Trouble started early for Kluber, as after two quick outs in the 1st, he let Didi Gregorius hit a ball to deep right field, landing in the stands for a homer and a 1-0 Yankees lead. Meanwhile, his opponent on the mound, veteran CC Sabathia, seemed perfectly at ease with the pressure-packed situation and struck out Cleveland's first two batters, then induced Jose Ramirez to ground out to third for a perfect 1st inning. Kluber was striking out batters galore - five through the first three innings - but he was also allowing plenty of baserunners. In the 2nd, he walked Aaron Hicks with two outs, then Jacoby Ellsbury executed his peculiar specialty, reaching on catcher's interference, to put a second runner on, before Todd Frazier flied out to right field. In the bottom of the 2nd, Edwin Encarnacion, back in Cleveland's starting line-up after an ankle injury in Game 2, hit a long fly ball just foul down the right field line, before striking out swinging. In the 3rd, though, Brett Gardner led off with a single and after Aaron Judge struck out yet again (he would finish the series with 16 Ks), Gregorius hit another homer, once again putting the ball into the right field stands, for a 3-0 Yankees lead.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Roberto Perez tried to liven things up by pushing a bunt towards Sabathia, who is notorious for not liking to field those, but the big man made a nice play, sliding on his knees (and digging a deep divot in the process) to catch the ball just before it hit the ground. In fact, Sabathia retired the first nine Indians batters in order, adding to the nervousness of the hometown fans. In the 4th, Kluber walked Ellsbury with two outs, and Terry Francona decided to remove him at that point. He had already had Andrew Miller warming up in the 3rd, and obviously decided he would rather have him in the game than warming up on the sidelines while Kluber was struggling visibly. Miller ended the inning by striking out Frazier, settling things down for a time. That's when Cleveland's bats finally showed a bit of life, as Francisco Lindor led off the bottom of the 4th with a single to be the team's first baserunner; however he made it no further than second base.
With Miller having quieted the Yankees' bats for a spell, Cleveland got on the board in the 5th. Austin Jackson and Jay Bruce hit back-to-back singles with one out. Perez and Giovanny Urshela both followed with singles as well, each driving in a run, and the score was now 3-2. Joe Girardi brought in one of his most trusted men out of the bullpen, David Robertson, and on his second pitch to Lindor, he induced an inning-ending double play that had a huge deflating effect. In the 6th, Bryan Shaw replaced Miller with 1 on and 2 out, and ended the inning by striking out Headley, as the K's were piling up for the Indians' pitchers (they finished the game with 16). There was no more scoring until the 9th inning, with Cody Allen coming in to pitch for the Indians with two outs in the 8th, and Aroldis Chapman replacing Robertson to start the 8th. In the 9th, Hicks singled with one out and advanced to second on an error by LF Jackson; after a second out, Allen walked Frazier and Headley singled to Bruce in right field. He also misplayed the ball, allowing both runners to score to increase the Yankees' lead to 5-2. This was a crushing blow to Cleveland, as any hope of tying the game against Chapman in the 9th just about evaporated at that point. Chapman walked Ramirez, but then struck out Encarnacion, got Carlos Santana to ground into a force out, and then struck out Jackson to end the game. New York was moving on, and Cleveland was stunned as their 100+ win season and record 22-game winning streak had meant nothing against a determined Yankees team.
- Jordan Bastian: "Tribe expects to be tested by Yankees: ALDS matchup pits MLB's best rotation vs. best bullpen", mlb.com, October 4, 2017. 
- Anthony Castrovince: "'Empire' is back: Yankees reclaim elite status: Remarkable ALDS rally puts 28th title eight wins away", mlb.com, October 12, 2017. 
- Anthony Castrovince: "For Tribe, too much change not a good thing: ALDS loss magnifies difference between 2016 run, post-Streak club", mlb.com, October 12, 2017. 
- John Perrotto: "Why the Cleveland Indians will beat the New York Yankees in the AL Division Series", USA Today Sports, October 5, 2017. 
- Mike Petriello: "Yankees-Indians: ALDS position-by-position: Cleveland took five of seven meetings between the clubs this season", October 5, 2017. 
|Major League Baseball American League Division Series