Mancuso: Now It’s An Elimination Game For The Indians

Two games in the Bronx and the complexion of a postseason series has changed. In a best-of-five and having the two game advantage there is that expectation to close it out. The Indians came to the Bronx and now face a similar situation the Yankees have become accustomed to knowing after dropping these last two games.

Now this is a double elimination series and the finale Wednesday night at Progressive Field in Cleveland. The Yankees have been here three times the past week. The Indians, with the second best record in baseball and a team that won a record 22 in-a row are now on the same side with the Yankees.

Elimination was not in the plan, and the Indians were a confident bunch when they arrived in the Bronx this week. But who said that closing the deal is easy in postseason October baseball? These Indians, when they were bad early in the season lost three straight games seven times.

They only knew about elimination when that 22-game winning streak was snapped against the Kansas City Royals last month. And they are certain their momentum will resume when they take the field Wednesday night.

However it is now the Yankees with the momentum. The past two nights at Yankee Stadium, Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino delivered and showed what October baseball is all about in the ALDS.

Trevor Bauer on the mound and the Indians behind him on the field lost all of that momentum. Errors, four of them, took the Indians out of the equation to wrap this up and now that double-elimination game awaits them.

“I don’t think any of us were going into this thinking we were going to win every single game,” said indians center fielder Jason Kipnis. “I don’t think we went into this thinking there’d be no adversity, no part of the process that that we had to overcome. We know this is the playoffs. Every team that’s left is still good.”

And when looking at this decisive fifth game, the Yankees have that advantage. Just look at the last three games, including the Wild Card win over the Twins last Tuesday night when Severino was not at his best and lasted a third of an inning. The Yankees won it.  

Of course these last two games now have the Joe Girardi managed Yankees with the momentum that put the Indians at a disadvantage.

“The fact we’ve been able to play in some of these games, I think helps,” Girardi said.  “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,”referring to Bauer.

“The whole night, we made it hard on ourselves to win,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “We kept trying but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot. We can’t not finish plays, or, you know not make plays. It just makes it really difficult.’

The Indians need to forget about that Yankees second inning. Giovanny Urshela made the first of his two key errors in the game. Bauer kept pitches out of the strike zone and the Yankees were more patient at the plate.

Bauer won’t be on the mound Wednesday night, but Corey Kluber will have redemption on his agenda after giving up a season high six runs in Game 2 and lasting 2.2 innings. This is was not supposed to occur with a team that won so many games look easy that got them where they are.

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

But this is October and anything is possible. Double-Elimination was not in the plan and the Indians plan to celebrate and move on were suddenly put to a halt in the Bronx.

So it comes down to a decisive fifth game. The Yankees have momentum and the Indians return to Progressive Field with the home field advantage,

Wasn’t it supposed to be this way?

Comment: [email protected] Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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