The Baby Bombers, led by MVP candidate Aaron Judge, just dispatched the Minnesota Twins with ruthless efficiency (barring that first inning, of course). In 1981, the Dodgers beat Houston in a best-of-five NL Division Series, and the previous year, the division race came down to a one-game playoff after Los Angeles took three in a row from the Astros to pull even. Houston won the playoff 7-1 behind Joe Niekro. Each of these teams is fun to watch, but it's not like there's some sort of compelling storyline aside from "both of these teams would really like to win because historically, they have not won".
Severino is scheduled to pitch Game 4 if the best-of-five series goes that far.
The matchup that matters most: Verlander had some command issues with his fastball the first half of the season, but he has cut his walk rate from more than 10 percent to 4.3 percent in the past two months.
The Nationals' two-headed pitching monster of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg could trouble the Cubs hitters as long as the former shows no ill effects from a tweaked hamstring he suffered last Saturday.
The Indians are back, but there's now a 6-foot-7, 280-pound baseball-bashing behemoth standing in their way.
Manager Terry Francona lifted Ramirez and Lindor in the top of the eighth inning after Miller retired Chicago's Alen Henson.
Offensively, the Yankees (91-71) finished second in the AL in runs scored (858) while Cleveland was third (818). NY went 51-30 at home, best in the AL, while the Indians were 49-32 at home and 53-28 on road. Cleveland led the majors with a 3.30 team ERA and a 2.89 bullpen mark. The Yankees were fifth at 3.72. Three off those victories were part of the 22-game winning streak that spurred the Indians to the best record in the American League at 102-60.
As for getting on the field, Brantley said Wednesday that was still possible.
"If you look at some of the outings against them, (Gray) fared as well as any pitcher that we have", Girardi said.
The prediction: Bauer walks Judge a couple of times, but navigates the rest of the lineup for five innings. They have the highest chances of winning the World Series of any of the eight remaining playoff teams. We've done it this year and we'd like to do the same.
This time it feels more like those 1990s encounters, as the Indians are the stronger team, fresh off of an AL pennant while the Yankees are on the rise.
To find a team that lost the World Series back-to-back and then finally came up a victor, you have to go back nearly 100 years. That, perhaps, explains why the Indians started slowly this season; they were saving their best for last. "I got that (postseason) vibe right away...my first day in NY". But they have certainly trod over the same ground at roughly the same time on a number of occasions in baseball history, making for some fun historical connections (and that's without even mentioning the midge game back in 2007). That's what we were missing.
"So I think it's very well-balanced".
The Indians went into spring training claiming they had some unfinished business to tend do. Then the Yankees' offense got to work on dismantling Minnesota ace Ervin Santana through a 44-pitch bottom of the first.