Indians lead ALCS 2-0
Before we get into the specifics of this one, can we all take a moment and enjoy Andrew Miller? Seriously, it's difficult for a relief pitcher to be this crucial to the success of a team, but Andrew Miller is in the running for Cleveland's MVP of the postseason. Seriously, look at these numbers:
7.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 17 K
If you were to create a pitcher in MLB: The Show and pump up all his stats to cartoonish levels, he wouldn't be as good as Andrew Miller. In just the ALCS alone, Miller has thrown 3.2 innings and has struck out 10 batters without giving up a run. With this type of weapon in the bullpen, coupled with Cody Allen (who is also doing incredible work this postseason) and Bryan Shaw, the game shortens significantly.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Andrew Miller is dominant, no doubt. But since he's not hitting 30 home runs per game or throwing complete game shutouts, he's going to need some help. Today, the support came from an authoritative Josh Tomlin and the muscle of Carlos Santana and Francisco Lindor.
In the second inning, Lando Calrissian lined a Solo shot over the wall in left field to put the Tribe up 1-0. Today's weather seemed like it would be perfect conditions to drop some bombs, but Santana had the only one on the day. The Blue Jays would tie the game in the third, but a seeing eye single by Francisco Lindor in the bottom of the inning scored Rajai Davis to take the lead right back; a lead that the Indians would never relinquish.
In the third inning, Josh Tomlin gave up his only hard hit ball of the day to Josh Donaldson, a double to right field that easily scored Darwin Barney from second to tie the game in the third inning. But Tomlin buckled down and shut the door on the rest of the Toronto lineup for the rest of the day, allowing only 2 fly balls all game. Tomlin induced 10 ground outs and struck out 6, which is the most he's had in a game since July. Tomlin, who was supposed to start on Monday, got bumped to today's start and performed excellently. Tomlin's numbers in the postseason, to this point, are impressive: 10.2 IP, 3 ER, 0 HR, 3 BB, 10 K. If Tomlin can keep rolling like he has been, Cleveland has an incredible shot at something special this October.
Is it a little concerning that the Indians, as a team, only had four hits on the afternoon? A little. Jason Kipnis struggled, going 0-for-4 (but no strikeouts), Mike Napoli continues to struggle with 3 more empty at-bats, and Clutch King Jose Ramirez was baffled all day, going 0-for-3. But that's the beauty of this team. Just because the team isn't firing on all cylinders doesn't mean that they can't find a way to win. Today, the pitching showed up big time and the offense did just enough to squeak out a victory. In the playoffs, the only numbers that matter are the ones in the W column.
But Miller's numbers are still really fun to look at, too.
When Andrew Miller comes in the game. pic.twitter.com/i1xOG75K45— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) October 15, 2016
baseball is so rooted in traditions thats hitters still take their bats to the plate against Andrew Miller even though they're not needed— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) October 15, 2016
The next game will be on Monday, October 17 at 8:00 PM EST. This game will start a (potential) 3 game set in Toronto. However, if the Tribe can win 2 more games, they will be headed to their first World Series since 1997.