What a miserable game.
The primary source of that misery — the New York Yankees — took the best pitcher in baseball and put him through the worst night of his season. Shane Bieber, the presumptive American League Cy Young winner, made the first postseason start of his career and exited after having experienced one of the worst starts of his career. The Bronx Bombers roughed him up for nine hits and seven earned runs over 4.2 innings. Not since July 24, 2018 had Bieber allowed seven earned runs in a start — and that was his eighth big league start.
If you haven’t already figured it out from looking at the box score, not much was working for Bieber. The Yankees took a patient approach at the plate, laying off his breaking pitches to work the count and then hammering his fastball. They put six of his fastballs in play and the average exit velocity on those six pitches was 101.7 mph. His slider and change-up weren’t fooling anyone, and for a while Bieber tried to get by on his four-seamer and knuckle curve alone. But the location on his fastball was atrocious at times, and the Yankees punished every mistake.
Take a look at the first-pitch fastball Bieber offered up to Aaron Judge in the first inning, which Judge promptly converted into a 2-0 lead for New York:
That was the story of the night for Bieber.
Once the Yankees extended their lead to 7-2 in the fifth inning thanks to a Gleyber Torres two-run homer, the Indians sent Bieber to the showers and effectively punted from there, trotting out Phil Maton, Adam Cimber, Cam Hill, and Óliver Pérez to eat up innings and drag the corpse of this game across the finish line. It did not go well — the Tribe’s bullpen surrendered the final five runs of the game — but the game did eventually end, so I commend them for getting us there.
As for the Indians’ lineup, Gerrit Cole dominated, plain and simple. Josh Naylor was 3-for-3 with a single, a double, and a home run against the Yankee ace, but everyone else had a rough go of it. José Ramírez contributed an RBI double in the third inning. Cole went seven innings and struck out a baker’s dozen (13), surrendering six hits and two earned runs.
Again, what a miserable game.
I feel obligated to mention the final score somewhere: Yankees 12, Indians 3.
Tomorrow, the Indians face elimination with Carlos Carrasco on the mound.