Sports: Indians stage huge comeback, beat Yankees in extra innings of Game 2: What to know

Indians stage huge comeback, beat Yankees in extra innings of Game 2: What to know Indians stage huge comeback, beat Yankees in extra inning...

Indians stage huge comeback, beat Yankees in extra innings of Game 2: What to know

Indians stage huge comeback, beat Yankees in extra innings of Game 2: What to know

The Indians staged a furious comeback on Friday to take a 2-0 lead over the Yankees

  • @daynperry
  • • 6 min read

On Friday night in Cleveland, the Indians moved a step closer to the ALCS as they beat the Yanke es 9-8 in 13 innings (box score) and took a 2-0 lead in the ALDS. It turned out to be the wildest game of the 2017 postseason thus far. How wild? Take a look at the win expectancy chart ...


Source: FanGraphs

In the end, Yan Gomes' walk-off hit plated Austin Jackson with the winning run ...

One swing, and there’s BEDLAM in The Land. #Walkoffpic.twitter.com/3kedTSSAwn

â€" MLB (@MLB) October 7, 2017

Now let's break it down further ...

Green and Robertson didn't get it done

The trade additions of David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle paired with Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, and Chad Green give the Yankees a powerhouse bullpen. Forty percent of those relievers didn't enjoy customary success on Friday night, however.

Yanks starter CC Sabathia settled down nicely after a rough first inning and wound up retiring 12 of the last 13 batters he faced. Also, he handed the Yankee pen an 8-3 lead an d a 94.1 percent chance of winning Game 2. The pen then proceeded to give up five runs.

The big blow was Francisco Lindor's clutch grand slam off Green, which brought the Tribe within a run (see below for the circumstances that led up to it), and then came Jay Bruce's second homer of the ALDS, this one off Robertson ...

BRUUUUUUUUCE!!!!!!!!
8-8 in the 8th! #RallyTogetherpic.twitter.com/tI9KltBsHW

â€" SportsTime Ohio (@SportsTimeOhio) October 7, 2017

And with that the Yankees had blown a five-run postseason lead for the first time since 2002.

The Cleveland bullpen finished up strong

Kluber of course allowed six runs, and after Tyler Olson worked a scoreless inning Mike Clevinger allowed a two-run homer to Greg Bird. After that, though, a conga line of Cleveland relievers -- Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller, Joe Smith, Cody Allen, and Josh Tomlin -- combined to allow no runs in 8 2/3 innings. That allowed the Indians' ; bats to get them back in the game and eventually win it.

The Yankees made Kluber work hard in the first inning

Kluber this season, as you would expect, hasn't had much trouble in the opening frame. During the regular season, Kluber pitched to a 1.55 ERA with 38 strikeouts against five unintentional walks. In Game 2, though, here's how his first inning went ...

  • Brett Gardner lines out.
  • Aaron Judge walks.
  • Gary Sanchez homers (more on that below).
  • Didi Gregorius strikes out on eight pitches.
  • Starlin Castro doubles.
  • Greg Bird reaches on an error.
  • Aaron Hicks strikes out on six pitches.

The Yankees plated a pair of runs and worked Kluber for 38 pitches. That's the first time he'd thrown 30 or pitched in an inning since July. Maybe all that early work exacted a price ...

Kluber had his worst start in a long time

So here's Kluber's final line for Game 2 ...

Corey Kluber SP / Indians (vs. NYY, 10/6) IP: 2 2/3 H: 7 R: 6 ER: 6 SO: 4 BB: 1 HR: 2

That's the first time he's given up six runs in a start since April 15, when he allowed six in 6 1/3 to the Tigers. It's his shortest outing all yea r. It's just the fourth time this season that he's allowed two or more home runs in a start. In terms of Game Score, which is a quick-and-dirty Bill James metric that measures a pitcher's dominance or lack thereof in a given start (50 is average and anything 90 or higher is an absolute gem), Kluber registered a 14 on Friday. Only once his career has he put up a worse Game Score, and that was back in May of 2013.

Here's the blow in Game 2 that did him in ...

No shortage of offense in Game 2 on MLB Network! #ALDS
Visit https://t.co/tmrbR6Aud6 for channel info. pic.twitter.com/3J6IMTzaQm

â€" MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) October 6, 2017

That's the other Yankee outfielder named Aaron doling out some abuse.

Anyhow, what made Kluber's struggles even more unexpected is how dominant he's been lately ...

And of course let's not forget last postseason ...

All of this, of cou rse, is fully in keeping with a 2017 postseason mini-trend ...

Baseball, man. Baseball.

Joe Girardi made a critical decision not to ask for replay

With two out and runners on the corners in the bottom of the sixth and reliever Chad Green staked to an 8-3 lead, Lonnie Chisenhall fouled off six straight pitches before plate ump ruled that the seventh pitch of the at-bat hit him on the hand. That, of course, loaded the bases. The problem is that it appeared on reply and, really, to the naked eye that the pitch hit the knob of Chisenhall's bat and then settled into Gary Sanchez's glove. Here's a look ...

That's just before the ball nicks the knob. As you can see, there's space between the ball and Chisenhall's gloved bottom hand. Click here if you want to see the footage.

That, of course, would've been a strikeout. Whether the ball hit the player or the bat in such a situation is also reviewable. Here's t he relevant portion of the replay rules ...

The following calls are reviewable via replay:

...

  • Hit by pitch: Calls involving whether a pitched ball may have hit a player, a piece of his clothing or his bat. Whether the ball was in the strike zone when it touched the batter and whether the batter made any attempt to avoid being touched by the ball is not be reviewable.

For whatever reason, though, Yankees manager Joe Girardi opted not to ask for a review, even though in postseason play a manager is allowed not one but two replay requests.

Well, two pitches later this happened, courtesy of Francisco Lindor ...

You want clutch?@Lindor12BC will give you clutch: https://t.co/VsnD7nbQ7j#PapaSlampic.twitter.com/wxZ3mzVFEs

â€" MLB (@MLB) October 7, 2017

And that cut the Yankee lead to 8-7. Again, it's hard to understand why the Yankee dugout wouldn't have challenged the HBP. Gi ven how the late innings played out, the Yanks would no doubt love a do-over.

Sanchez made a bit of history

Yanks catcher Gary Sanchez did this in that aforementioned top of the first ...

GARY. SANCHEZ.
2-run homer off Corey Kluber for the @Yankees 😱ðŸ'Ž (via @MLBNetwork) pic.twitter.com/ZyD1ps66k7

â€" FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 6, 2017

With that blast, Sanchez achieved this footnote ...

The 24-year-old slugger has 53 home runs in 177 regular season games, so he's certainly got power. On the other side, Kluber allowed a SLG of just .321 to right-handed batters this season.

Edwin Encarnacion's status is worth monitoring

Encarnacion in the first inning turned his right ankle while scrambling to get back to second base in an effort to avoid getting doubled up. Here's a look:

He was later diagnosed with a right ankle sprain. There's also this:

E.E . is course one of the Indians' best hitters, so this is concerning news for Cleveland. There's an off day on Saturday, which is fortunate. As well, Encarnacion doesn't play the field often, so the bar for being game healthy is perhaps a bit lower for the primary DH. Here's the latest:

We'll have our eye on this situation, obviously.

That Francona had to use Tomlin may affect his ALDS rotation

In the 12th inning, Indians manager Terry Francona was resigned to using Josh Tomlin -- his eighth pitching of the night -- out of the bullpen. That's significant because Tomlin was penciled in as Cleveland's Game 4 starter. Now it seems likely that Francona would turn to Trevor Bauer on short rest instead. Bauer of course dominated the Yankees in Game 1.

The Indians are one win away

With the Friday win, Cleveland is up 2-0 in this best-of-five and as such needs only one more win to advance to the ALCS for a secon d straight year. Game 3 and, if necessary, Game 4 will be at Yankee Stadium. Speaking of which, during the regular season the Yankees played .630 ball at home, while their winning percentage on the road was just .494. On the other hand, the Indians were actually better on the road this season, so go figure.

Game 3 is scheduled for Sunday in the Bronx, first pitch at 7:38 p.m. ET.

Dayn Perry CBS Sports Writer follow

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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