By: Billy Lewis
The New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians met in Major League Baseball’s newest playoff round, the Wild Card Round. While a Wild Card team has been included in the playoffs since 1995. In 2012 MLB added a second Wild Card team to set up a winner-take-all Wild Card Game.
This season, MLB’s playoff format changed to let eight teams from each league into the playoffs. Thus setting up the best of three Wild Card Series.
Game One was touted to be a pitching duel. The Indians were sending out Shane Bieber while the Yankees countered with Gerrit Cole. DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge made sure to set the tone. After a LeMahieu leadoff single, Judge sent a ball into the Cleveland night and gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
The Yankees would be able to cruise behind Cole. Game One was picture perfect as the Yankees coasted to a 12-3 win.
We saw a little bit of everything in Game Two. It started about 50 minutes late due to a rain delay, only to get delayed again 20 minutes later. Carlos Carrasco took the mound for the Indians, while Masahiro Tanaka was on the hill for the Yanks.
The weather looked to bother Tanaka, as the Indians put a four-spot on the board in the rain-lengthened bottom of the first. Giancarlo Stanton was able to get the Bombers on the board with a home run in the second.
The game was turned on its head at the top of the fourth inning. Current Yankee third basemen, and ex Indian, Gio Urshella hit a grand slam to give the Bombers a 5-4 lead.
Game Two was a back and forth thriller that entered the ninth inning with Cleveland leading 9-8. The Yankees scratched and clawed their way to load the bases against Indians closer Brad Hand.
Gary Sanchez lifted a sac fly to tie the game at nine, and getting LeMahieu an at-bat with a runner in scoring position. LeMahieu would deliver the two-out series-clinching RBI. Aroldis Chapman would earn the win and close out the 10-9 Yankees series win.
Next up for the Bombers will be the Tampa Bay Rays. Tensions were high between the two AL East foes in the Regular Season, so this will be must-watch TV. San Diego will host Game One Monday.