The Cleveland Indians took a 1-0 lead in the ALDS after defeating the New York Yankees 4-0 on Thursday night. Tito Francona continued to show his Midas Touch, riding the golden arm of Trevor Bauer for six and two-thirds scoreless innings. The Tribe showed why they are the most complete team in baseball, as they outclassed the New York Yankees with their starting pitching, dazzling defense, deep lineup, and shut-down bullpen. The Yankees are a fantastic baseball team, but at least through one game, the Indians looked a class above.
Many people (mostly me) had questioned Francona’s decision to go with the enigmatic Bauer for Game 1. The Indians feature two of the best starting pitchers in baseball with Cy Young favorite Corey Kluber and the fantastic Carlos Carrasco. The conventional wisdom would have been to start either of those aces to jump out to an early lead in the series. Francona went instead with Bauer, and was rewarded handsomely. It certainly looks like the right decision now, but it will be interesting to see how Carrasco pitches on Sunday after an extended lay-off and if the Tribe wishes they could have pitched him twice if the series gets extended beyond three games. With a lead and the two aces yet to pitch, those scenarios seem less important than they did prior to first pitch.
This loss had to be deflating to the Yankees for two reasons. First, Jay Bruce was either responsible or participated in all four of the Tribe’s runs. If you remember, the Yankees had a deal in place to land Jay Bruce in a trade, but were unwilling to pay the remainder of his salary. The Indians swooped in and stole Bruce, and he now helped them steal Game 1. The Indians also got a fantastic defensive play from Jason Kipnis in center field. Kipnis is new to the position and certainly a liability at one of the game’s most important defensive positions. He saved a double with a fantastic diving catch that showed range and athleticism. When Jason Kipnis is making diving catches in center field, it has to be difficult to find hope from the opposing dugout.
Here’s my quick video reaction immediately following the game. It’s always fun to dissect and review these games, but there is also something to be said about the feelings and takeaways that happen right as the game ends. Hopefully there will be a lot more happy videos to post.