The New York Yankees are on a mission this year to get back to the World Series and win it all. They plan to do so on the backs of their explosive offensive lineup, star pitchers, and fiery manager Aaron Boone. Their lineup boasts a former MVP in OF Giancarlo Stanton, an all-star and former Home Run Derby champion in OF Aaron Judge, 2020’s MLB home run leader in 1B Luke Voit, and this year’s batting title champion INF DJ LeMahieu.
The Cleveland Indians’ pitching staff, led by SP Shane Bieber, was marvelous this year at getting sluggers to swing and miss. The team ranked first in strikeouts, and their Ace and presumptive 2020 Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber hadn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his starts leading up to Game 1 of the Wild Card Series. Unfortunately for the Indians, Bieber would allow seven runs against the Yankees through a laborious 4.2 innings.
In what looked like it was going to be a must-watch pitching duel on paper between this year’s soon to be AL Cy Young and baseball’s most dominant pitcher, NYY’s SP Gerrit Cole, turned out to be a slugfest from the Yankees. On just the fourth pitch of the game, OF Aaron Judge muscled a two-run homer to right-center field to give the Yankees the lead. Finally, in the top of the fifth inning Shane Bieber, who didn’t have the command or the confidence we saw all season, gave up another two-run shot to Yankees IF Gleyber Torres, and the score was 7-2 Yankees. The Yankees would end up walking away with Game 1, 12-3, with a notably dominant performance from SP Gerrit Cole, who had 13 Ks and no walks in seven innings. The only other pitcher to achieve this feat in a postseason game is the late Tom Seaver in 1973.
Game 2 had a particularly odd start that was caused by inclement weather, which caused SP Masahiro Tanaka to pitch in heavy wind and rain. He give up an early run before a rain delay. Half an hour later, Tanaka, more than likely impacted by the weather and delay, gave up three more runs. In the fourth inning, RHP Carlos Carrasco gave up a Grand Slam to INF Gio Urshela. The Grand Slam put the Yankees up by one run, 5-4, shifting the momentum back into the Yankees’ hands.
The Indians would answer right back in the fifth inning with another two-run double from INF Jose Ramirez’s bat. The fourth lead change of the game came after C Gary Sanchez hit a two-run home run in the 5th inning to give the Yankees an 8-6 lead. The Indians’ offense wouldn’t go away without a fight, but the Yankees were able to outlast them in the ninth inning. CP Aroldis Chapman closed the door to earn the win, as the Yankees swept 10-9. They will face the No. 1 Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS on Oct. 5.
I'm Jordan Durrell and I'm a contributor to The Bullpen. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and I'm a lifelong Dodger fan. I've been watching and playing baseball my whole life and currently play at West LA College. I've always had a passion for writing and sports.