The Cleveland Indians magical season continues as they host the New York Yankees at home to start the three-game opening round.
The Cleveland Indians are 9-2 in their last 11, sealing the 4th seed in the AL playoffs with a victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. The team is now set to host all three games (if necessary) against the New York Yankees starting Tuesday.
The matchup couldn’t have been better for the Indians, who turned around a slumping season in the final two and a half weeks with some magical come from behind wins, including three walk-off victories. The Tribe goes into their series with the Yankees with two major players to worry about in the AL Cy Young front-runner, Shane Bieber and Jose Ramirez, who is expected to finish in the top-three of the AL MVP voting for the third time in his career.
Ramirez is also the front runner to win it in the eyes of many.
The Yankees on the other hand are a mess. They’re 2-6 in their last eight and are 17-21 since they swept Boston back in mid-August. First basemen Luke Voit has been an unexpected surprise for them, hitting 22 home runs this year, one more than he hit in all of 2019 and with twice as many games. Stars Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton played in just 28 and 23 games respectively, and have just 13 home runs between them. Not only have they missed large chunks of time, but their play at the play has been down in previous years as well.
Pitching-wise, Yankee ace Gerrit Cole has pitched well but the rest of the Yankees staff is suspect on good days. The bullpen is weaker compared to years past and even their better relievers are often rotated out of spots on occasion. The Yankees, heading into Sunday’s games, were 14th in team ERA and tied for 7th with the most home runs given up by their pitchers.
The Indians lucked out, as the Yankees might just be the most vulnerable team in the entire playoffs and the Indians get to stay home and play host.