NEW YORK — Cleveland manager Terry Francona says you can usually gauge his anxiety by measuring the pile of chewing gum and tobacco pellets strewn in front of him. Those readings would have been off the charts as the Guardians and Yankees battled to extra innings in Game 2 of Friday’s American League Division Series.
Yet, as shadows encroached on the playing field and the afternoon dragged into the early evening, Francona kept thinking, “We’ll find a way. Cleveland did just that, picking up a few hits in the 10th inning to complete a hard-fought 4-2 victory, returning a tied series at Progressive Field for Game 3 on Saturday.
“We’re excited to be back as a team,” Guardians first baseman Josh Naylor said. “Get on the plane and enjoy the moment, enjoy the victory [Friday] and re-enclose [Saturday].”
The Yankees have won six of eight meetings with the Guardians this season, including splitting the first two ALDS games. As they dressed for their flight to Cleveland, a Bob Marley playlist spilled from the Yankee Stadium clubhouse speakers; despite the loss, Aaron Judge echoed the reggae legend’s intonation of worrying about nothing.
“That’s what it’s all about,” the judge said. “I love this team. I love the guys in this room. You can’t think about it too much. Take it one game at a time, and if you keep doing it, we’ll be where we want to be at the time. end.
When is the game and how can I watch it?
ALDS Game 3 is at 7:37 p.m. ET Saturday at Progressive Field. The match will be televised by TBS. All series are available in the United States on MLB.TV with authentication from a participating pay-TV provider. Live games are also available in select countries outside of the United States. For more information, click here.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Yankees: Luis Severino (7-3, 3.18 ERA) is set to make the ninth start of his playoff career (10th appearance) after ending his season on an extremely strong note, tossing seven no-hitter innings the October 3 at Texas before being retired due to a pitch count problem – at 94, he had already thrown as much as the club was willing to allow him in his third start since returning from a right-wing injury . Severino hasn’t faced Cleveland this year, but he did defeat them in Game 4 of the 2017 ALDS.
Guardians: Triston McKenzie (11-11, 2.96 ERA) was stellar against the Rays in the Wild Card series, throwing six scoreless frames while allowing just two hits, and the right-hander will look to build on that momentum against the Yankees on Saturday. Although McKenzie is known for the limited number of hits he allows, the problem in this game might be keeping the ball inside the ballpark. McKenzie has been prone to allowing home runs, doing so in half of his starts this season, and dealing with a powerful roster like the Yankees could be a tough task. But McKenzie has shown extreme maturity and control this season and will look to build on that in his second playoff start.
What might the starting lineups look like?
Yankees: Don’t expect the Yankees to change their roster much against McKenzie; their only trade between Games 1 and 2 was to switch Oswaldo Cabrera and Josh Donaldson into the lineup, which Boone said he did to create more space between left-handed hitters, a nod to success of Shane Bieber against lefties. McKenzie was also tougher on lefties (.194 BA against lefties, .205 against righties).
Guardians: The Guardians have been creatures of habit so far this playoff when it comes to their rosters against righties and lefties. With right-hander Severino on the rubber, it’s likely the team will stick to their regular right-handed roster with Will Brennan as the designated hitter.
How will the paddocks line up after the starter?
Yankees: Rain between Games 1 and 2 means most arms are relatively cool, even after New York used six relievers to navigate Game 2. Only Jonathan Loáisiga (27 pitches on Games 1-2), Wandy Peralta (23 throws on Games 1-2) and Clay Holmes (26 throws on Games 1-2) have been used in both ALDS games so far. They’ll likely try to stay clear of Jameson Taillon after he threw 18 pitches in his first career relief appearance.
Guardians: Cleveland’s relief corps has been ready to take the ball as often as needed this season, despite the number of pitches each pitcher was able to throw the day before. James Karinchak throwing 29 pitches and closer Emmanuel Clase throwing 33 in his career-high 2 1/3 innings on Friday could make the Guardians think twice before turning to them on Saturday, but if the situation demanded it, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Clase available in a pinch for Game 3. Trevor Stephan should be able to work back-to-back days and Cleveland didn’t have to turn to guys like Enyel De Los Santos or Sam Hentges in Game 2, leaving them fresh for games at Progressive Field.
Yankees: The 26-man playoff roster is healthy and playable, though DJ LeMahieu, Andrew Benintendi, Scott Effross, Ron Marinaccio and Frankie Montas are all watchers for this round. LeMahieu will travel with the club to Cleveland; Benintendi, Marinaccio and Montas all travel to Tampa, Florida to participate in live batting practice.
Guardians: Other than Nick Sandlin having to be kicked off the ALDS roster due to a major right-round strain, Cleveland is injury-free.
Who’s hot and who’s not?
Yankees: Stanton hit his 10th playoff homer in Game 2, joining Carlos Beltrán (11) as the only player to hit at least 10 homers in his first 20 playoff games. … Kiner-Falefa is 3 for 7 with a running, walking and flying base in the ALDS. … Judge is 0 for 8 with seven strikeouts in the ALDS so far; the probable AL MVP heard boos after striking for the fourth time in Game 2.
Guardians: Gonzalez may not have fired the exit speed radar guns on Friday afternoon, but he was able to put the ball in play when Cleveland needed it. After last weekend’s home run in the Wild Card Series to send his team to the ALDS, Gonzalez gave the go-ahead again on Friday to help keep Cleveland in the series. But guys like Owen Miller and Hedges are still looking for their first playoff hits. If a southpaw comes out of the bullpen, Miller will likely hit Brennan, and the club could definitely benefit from Miller’s exit from that slip.
Anything else fans might want to know?
• Including the playoffs, the Yankees are 6-2 against the Guardians this season and 12-5 against them since the start of the 2020 season. New York is 13-11 in 24 playoff games against Cleveland, a period that includes the 1997 ALDS, 1998 ALCS, 2007 ALDS, 2017 ALDS and the 2020 Wild Card Series.
• Stanton has hit nine homers in 12 playoff games since Game 1 of the 2019 ALCS. He is only the fourth Major League player to hit nine homers in 12 playoff games; Lou Gehrig (1928-36), Babe Ruth (1926-28) and Jim Thome (1998-2001) are the others.
• The Guardians have won three of their last four playoff games after losing their last eight in a row and 12 of their previous 14. Cleveland is 10-5 in the playoffs in overtime.