at NEW YORK YANKEES
ALDS – Game 3 – Yankee Stadium – Bronx, NYBRFirst pitch: Sunday, 7:40 p.m. ET
Line: N/A, Total: N/A
The series heads back to New York for a crucial Game 3 between the Indians and Yankees on Sunday.
The Indians absolutely dominated the series opener against the Yankees, winning 4-0 and allowing only three hits in the entire game. The Yankees will now be hoping that their home crowd will be able to bring them some of that same luck on Sunday. New York has already played one playoff game at Yankee Stadium this year, as the team beat Minnesota 8-4 in the AL Wild Card Game. The Yankees have thrived when playing at home this year, as they were 51-30 at Yankee Stadium during the regular season and then had that win against the Twins. It is, however, going to be tough to beat this Indians team on Sunday, as Cleveland has been the best team in baseball since the All-Star break. The starters in this Sunday night game are going to be RHP Carlos Carrasco (18-6, 3.29 ERA, 226 K) for Cleveland and RHP Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74 ERA, 194 K) for New York. While Tanaka’s numbers might be miserable, the pitcher is certainly capable of performing at a high level still. He still has ridiculous stuff and the Yankees will be confident with him out there.
The Indians will be sending Carlos Carrasco to the hill on Sunday and he is almost as reliable as an ace for this Indians team. Carrasco is a guy that will have a bad start here or there, but he is shutting down his opponent completely on most nights. Carrasco allowed two or fewer earned runs in 12 of his final 17 starts of the regular season, but he did struggle with the Yankees in one of those games. Carrasco faced New York on Aug. 6 and allowed five earned runs on five hits in only 5.2 innings of work. He’ll obviously need to be a lot better than he was in that game. If he isn’t then the Yankees will have plenty of momentum heading into Game 4. As for the Indians offense, the team should be pretty excited to be facing Tanaka in this one. Cleveland has hit a combined .349 against Tanaka, but a lot of that production came from DH Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion was injured in Game 2 and will likely be out for a week or so at least. That means somebody else will need to step up and two guys that might be able to do it are SS Francisco Lindor and 1B Carlos Santana. The two of them are a combined 8-for-21 with two doubles, a homer, and three RBI against Tanaka. They’ll need to keep it up.
The Yankees are going to be hungry for a victory on Sunday and they’re sending their former ace Masahiro Tanaka to the mound on Sunday. Tanaka had a rough regular season, but he did have some bright spots on the year. One of those happened to come in the last game of the regular season, so Tanaka just might be entering this contest with a ton of confidence. The righty faced the Blue Jays in that game on Sep. 29 and allowed no earned runs in seven innings of work. He also happened to have struck out 15 batters and walked none. That type of dominance is truly rare, so maybe he found something with his mechanics that he can carry over into this start. Offensively, two guys to keep an eye on in this lineup are OF Jacoby Ellsbury and 3B Todd Frazier. It’s always possible that one of the two might be out of the lineup, but it’d be pretty surprising given their success against Carrasco. The two of them are a combined 17-for-44 with four doubles, a triple, two homers and 13 RBI against the righty. The Yankees will be looking for a spark and perhaps they can provide that.