The Cleveland Indians won 33 of their final 37 games in the regular season and are 2-0 in the playoffs following a 13-inning Game 2 triumph in which they recorded the largest comeback in postseason franchise history. The Indians will go for a sweep in the best-of-five American League Division Series when they visit the New York Yankees for Game 3 on Sunday.
Cleveland rallied from an 8-3 deficit on the strength of a grand slam by Francisco Lindor and a solo shot from Jay Bruce before Yan Gomes drove in the walk-off run in the 13th. “That was what you call October baseball right there,” Gomes told reporters. “We’ve had tremendous comebacks. That’s probably one of the top ones we’ve had all year. Going up 2-0 against the Yankees into New York, it’s a good feeling right now.” Yankees manager Joe Girardi found himself answering questions about his decision not to challenge a hit-by-pitch call that preceded Lindor’s blast and his decision to pull starter CC Sabathia in the sixth inning after 77 pitches. “There was nothing that told us that he was not hit on the pitch,” Girardi, who will start Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday against Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco, told reporters. “By the time we got the super slow-mo, we are beyond a minute. It was way too late. They tell us we have the 30 seconds. They will take longer in replay.”
TV: 7:38 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Carlos Carrasco (18-6, 3.29 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74)
Carrasco has not lost since Aug. 22 and finished out the regular season by allowing one or zero runs in six of his final seven turns. The Venezuela native saved his best for last while striking out 14 over 8 1/3 scoreless innings against the Minnesota Twins. Carrasco, who is making his postseason debut after sitting out last October with a broken hand, endured one of his few rough outings during the regular season against New York on Aug. 6, when he was reached for five runs in 5 2/3 innings and suffered a loss.
Tanaka saved his best for last as well and earned a spot in the postseason rotation by striking out 15 without a walk and yielding three hits in seven scoreless innings against Toronto on Sep. 29. The Japan native allowed seven earned runs in two of his three previous starts but finished the regular season with a career-high 194 strikeouts. Tanaka lost his only previous postseason start in the 2015 wild-card game against Houston and is 1-2 with a 4.63 ERA in four career starts against Cleveland.
1. Indians DH Edwin Encarnacion left Game 2 with a sprained ankle and will continue to be evaluated.
2. New York RF and MVP candidate Aaron Judge is 0-for-7 with five strikeouts in the series.
3. Cleveland LF Michael Brantley (ankle) came on in place of Encarnacion Friday and could play the field in Game 3
PREDICTION: Indians 5, Yankees 2