Yankees Win, Get To A Decisive Game 5

Luis Severino: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 9 K. (113 pitches, 76 strikes) Twitter

Luis Severino: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 9 K. (113 pitches, 76 strikes) Twitter

By Rich Mancuso/Sports Editor

It is now three consecutive elimination games and the NY Yankees won them all to keep this October postseason run going strong.

Monday night in the Bronx their 7-3  win over the Cleveland Indians earned them a split of four games in this best of five ALDS  and now the Indians and Yankees face a elimination game.

With all the odds against them again, the Yankees made Monday’s must-win situation look easy. They got to Indians’ starter Trevor Bauer early with four runs.

Bauer, working on short rest, had only threw 1.2 innings and his manager Terry Francona took the chance. But the Yankees had a plan and were able to capitalize on Bauer, who appeared to have good control early but lost the strike zone later.

Also playing a factor was a Cleveland team committing four costly errors and combined with Bauer, seven relievers out of the pen had trouble keeping the Yankees off the bases. They walked seven Yankees who were able to get home.

Francona talked before Game 4 about the short rest and start for Bauer: “The score of the game will influence how long he goes, not the one-day, short rest.”

A four-run second inning for the Yankees opened up with the first of two errors by third baseman Giovanny Urshela. An RBI double from Todd Frazier and Aaron Hicks’ run scoring single highlighted the inning along with the first hit of the series from Aaron Judge.

“He came out with real good stuff,” Francona said about his starter. “We kept shooting ourselves in the foot. Not making plays, finishing plays. Trevor felt good about it. We did. Thought his stuff was practically the same.”

But the Yankees got the breaks, plus a memorable postseason start from Luis Severino. In his last outing against the Minnesota Twins, the righthander only lasted two-thirds of an inning in the Yanks wild card win last Tuesday night.

Last night, Severino retired 11 of the first 12 batters he faced.

From there it was all about the 23-year old and how his team responded with a well-deserved win that got them to Wednesday’s elimination game.

“The fact we’ve been able to play in some of these games, I think helps,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. “You play in the game, Minnesota. You play in the game you’re down 2-0, you’re down 2-1. You’re facing a guy that we really don’t do anything off of the last time.”

Severino said the big difference in this elimination game was his location. He became the second youngest Yankee to record nine strikeouts in a postseason game, next to Dave Righetti.

“I know I got to get my best stuff over there today because I want to get to Game 5,” he said. “The location of my pitches was great so I think that was the big difference.”

Francona said after Bauer left the game that his bullpen, which is a major strength of the Indians, “[I] tried to manage it the best we could. You get to the point where you certainly aren’t going to match up but we were trying to keep the game where we had a chance to win.”

Seven of those relief pitchers, including the reliable Andrew Miller pitched no more than 1.2 innings.Overall,Indians pitchers allowed six unearned runs, their most in a game since allowing eight unearned runs against the Yankees last July.

“Losing is not a whole lot of fun but we prepare pretty extensively and then you live with the outcome,” Francona said.

The next step for the Yankees is having CC Sabathia on the mound Wednesday evening in Cleveland. If the Yankees win, they move on and this improbable season continues with a trip to the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros, who disposed of the Boston Red Sox in four games.

One more win and that’s what it takes and with Sabathia on the mound, who is pitching his best baseball of the season, manager Joe Girardi has the lefthander going on normal rest. Sabathia got pulled in Cleveland despite a 5-run lead in a Game 2. The Yankees loss in 13-innings had Girardi in hot water over that decision and also failing to challenge a hit by pitch call that later led to an Indians rally and a come from behind win.

That is all water under the bridge. The Yankees have momentum and the Indians, a team that was verge of a three-game sweep, now face elimination.

So it comes down to a decisive Game 5. The Yankees enter with momentum and the Indians return to Progressive Field with the home field advantage.

Wasn’t it supposed to be this way?

Comment: Ring786@aol.com, Twitter @Ring786, Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

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