Game 1 of the ALDS did not go the way the Yankees had intended. Though it’s not time to panic just yet, there is plenty to fix in Game 2.
Sixteen outs — 5.2 innings. That’s how long it took the Yankees to finally get a hit off of Indians starter Trevor Bauer.
Now, no offense to Bauer, who had a stellar second-half to the regular season, finishing with a 17-9 record, 4.19 ERA and 10.0 K/9, but he’s no Corey Kluber — whom the Yanks get to face in Game 2 on Friday evening.
One would think with 76 of the 98 pitches Bauer threw being either four-seam fastballs or knuckle-curves — that the Yankees would have made some adjustments. But no.
Bauer’s breaking ball, which was used predominately as a strikeout pitch, often darted away from the corners of the plate, yet somehow fell inside home plate umpire Vic Carapazza’s increasingly wide strike zone. This lead to more than a few upset Yankees. Per NJ Advance Media.
"“I think anytime a pitcher is getting some pitches maybe players don’t think are strikes, sure, it makes it a little bit easier for them,” said Chase Headley. “But I don’t think that was the story of the game.”"
The 26-year-old Bauer may very well be coming into his own after a number of years as a highly touted prospect yet to live up to his billing, but is he really the type of pitcher that should have shut down the Bombers’ bat to the tune of two hits, one walk and eight strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched?
According to Joe Girardi, Bauer is, indeed. Per the New York Post:
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"“His curveball was really good tonight,” Joe Girardi said of Bauer. “It’s as good as we’ve seen it, and he’s been pitching better.”"
As for Sonny Gray, he failed to get out of the fourth inning — allowing three hits, four walks and three earned runs.
Gray simply never looked comfortable on the mound. After escaping a bases-loaded jam in the second inning by inducing a much-needed double-play — scoring only one run, Gray retired the side 1-2-3 in the third.
Unfortunately, his good fortune didn’t last very long as a fourth-inning walk to Edwin Encarnacion was followed by a Jay Bruce moon shot. Thanks a lot, Mets!
Regardless of the fact that once again, the Yankees refused to hit for Gray, the 27-year-old righty knew he put his team behind the eight ball, speaking to the New York Post.
"“It’s tough,” Gray said. “I put everyone on our side in a disadvantage. I put us in a hole we weren’t able to climb out of.”"
To avoid going down 0-2 in the series, the Yankees will need to jump on presumptive AL Cy Young Winner Corey Kluber, early. Much like the latter frames of Thursday night’s game, especially when Chase Headley worked a 12-pitch walk against Andrew Miller, the Yanks need to stay patient at the plate.
It’s the only way to avoid the likes of Aaron Judge getting another golden sombrero (twice looking), Greg Bird looking completely inept and Todd Frazier being overzealous at the dish.