If the Guardians want to avenge their ALDS loss last October, they will need to recover quickly from their dramatic, come-from-behind win in extra innings yesterday because the Yankees are in town and they are slugging.
Led of course by Aaron Judge, the New York lineup ranks fourth in slugging percentage and home runs in this early season. Judge is coming off of a two-homer game against the Orioles, which broke a streak of five games without a dinger. A massive slump for the power hitter — should have DFA’d him.
This series mercifully won’t feature any left-handed starters for the Guardians to wade through, so that means they can put their best lineup out there every day — which includes yesterday’s hero, Will Brennan, starting in right field and Josh Naylor looking like a much better batter against right-handed pitching. Game-time temperatures could also reach the high-60s by Tuesday, so if Amed Rosario really is like a human box turtle that needs warm air to come out of his shell, this might be his chance to get his first streak of 2023 going.
We came so close to seeing a pairing of aces this series, but instead, Shane Bieber will face domestic abuser Domingo Germán in Game 1 and Gerrit Cole will take on Hunter Gaddis in Game 2. The finale on Wednesday will be Aaron Civale’s chance at redemption after his disastrous start in Game 5 of the ALDS when he faces Clarke Schmidt.
Germán, who served an 81-game suspension after slapping his then-girlfriend at a charity event in 2019, received a $2.6 million contract from the Yankees to avoid arbitration in the offseason. Since MLB and the Yankees see him as a fitting human being to continue to be paid millions of dollars to play a sport, the best we can hope for is that the Guardians will light him up like the Phillies did over 4.2 innings in his debut last week.
Cole is still Cole, unfortunately for Cleveland batters. In two starts this year he has already racked up 19 strikeouts to just five walks in 12.1 innings. His only “earned” run came when he walked a batter who eventually came around to score in the middle of a bullpen collapse. He has the same repertoire you’ve come to know and hate as a non-Yankee fan, featuring a high-90s four-seamer, slider, changeup, and curveball.
By the end of this series, the Yankees are probably going to be real sick and tired of stolen bases. They’re coming off a three-game series against the Orioles, who are currently ranked second in MLB with 15 swipes and will be heading straight into the stolen base buzzsaw of the Guardians, who rank third with 14.
The Yankees aren’t far behind with 11 stolen bases though, so just expect a lot of running in general when these teams get on base. The age of their lineup being all old, giant, lumbering dudes is over; they have some true stolen base threats in Gleybar Torres and rookie Anthony Volpe. Even Judge is a threat with 16 stolen bases last year and a pair of them in nine games this season.
Speaking of Volpe, he’s a new wrinkle that the Guardians didn’t have to deal with last year. Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Yanks’ No. 1 prospect heading into 2023, the rookie shortstop got the nod on Opening Day but hasn’t quite found his stride yet. He has gone 4-for-28 to start his MLB career, along with 11 strikeouts to five walks. His lone extra-base hit, a triple, came on Saturday against the Orioles.
After this series, the Guardians will take a day off and then head out down to Washington D.C. to face the Nationals for a three-game set.
Team at a glance
- Record: 6-3
- Runs scored: 44
- Run differential: +19
- Last 10: 6-4
- Slash: .247/.327/.462
- wOBA: .343
- wRC+: 120
- ERA: 2.81
- SIERA: 3.19
- K-BB%: 23.8%
Monday, April 10, 6:10 p.m. ET: RHP Domingo Germán vs. RHP Shane Bieber
Tuesday, April 11, 6:10 p.m. ET: RHP Gerrit Cole vs. RHP Hunter Gaddis
Wednesday, April 12, 1:10 p.m. ET: RHP Clarke Schmidt vs. RHP Aaron Civale
How many games will the Guardians win against the Yankees?
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