Yankees To Go With Gray And Sabathia In ALDS Games 1 & 2

Oddly, the Indians won't start their best pitcher in Game 1 of ALDS

Oddly, the Indians won't start their best pitcher in Game 1 of ALDS

All of that aside, Francona is playing the long game with this move.

With a rotation featuring Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and likely Cy Young victor Corey Kluber, the Indians don't have to be. But, this year is different than others. Still, everything hit toward him will leave Cleveland fans holding their breath. Three batters would hit a home run in their first appearance in the Wild Card game. He had an impressive line of six innings pitched, no runs, and two hits. While this does not take away from the importance of winning Game 1, it can certainly be considered quite the safety net. Ervin Santana and Zack Greinke are veterans.

"Theirs is, you know, the obvious names", Francona said while talking about the Yankees bullpen. He allowed a solo homer the next inning and didn't come out for the third. He allowed seven runs in his first outing and four in his third. It was the first time that neither starters for each team recorded a strike out in the Wild Card game.

The expression "trusting the hot hand" is one that transcends sports.

The total for runs scored was set at 8.5. Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorious have also had fantastic years, combining for 58 home runs and 177 RBI. Neither slugger carried his team, but they rose to the occasion.

Bauer did not have the best postseason a year ago. Chad Green threw 41 pitches, David Robertson 52, Tommy Kahnle 29 and Aroldis Chapman 20.

"You just try to go out and perform well".

Baseball was the center of discussion in the Cavs locker room past year after James attended Game 2 of the 2016 ALDS between the Indians and the Red Sox.

Bauer was lifted in the fifth inning with the Indians nursing a 4-3 lead. He said after the game he was exhausted taking the mound following his sprint and, in hindsight, probably should have stopped at second base.

Sure, Gray has only been a Yankee for a short time, but he understands what it means to take the ball in the opener, with an opportunity to win a game on the road even before Corey Kluber toes the rubber.

"These are two teams that can shorten the game real quick with the bullpens that we have", Indians center fielder Jason Kipnis said.

- Special Season. These Indians have the look and feel of a destined team. During the regular season, the Astros have led nearly every offensive category, while hitting 237 HR, placing them second in the Major League Baseball behind the Yankees. During Game 1 of the ALDS presented by Doosan between the Yankees and the Indians, a bearded Cleveland fan made his presence known.

- Big Weapon. The 6-foot-7 Miller was magnificent in last year's postseason, striking out 30 over 19 1/3 innings and winning ALCS MVP award. None of their key players are free agents this offseason.

Chris Sale will get the start for the Red Sox. That honour will go to Trevor Bauer, the former number three overall pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011.

In the nation's capital, the Washington Nationals are entering the playoffs years of failed expectations on their backs.

"From the moment I stepped foot in the clubhouse, it was something that I was hoping to do, " Gray said of starting a Yankees playoff series.

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