Yanks Light Up Kluber; Take Series Opener in Cleveland 7-4.
Thursday night in Cleveland featured a match up of two of the best pitchers in the A.L. Members of the All-Star team, and both the respective aces of their staffs, Luis Severino and Corey Kluber are downright filthy, and it was expected to be a pitcher’s duel when the two faced off in a rematch of the ALDS last year. Yet, it did not work out quite that way, as each pitcher had to work through trouble throughout, and at the end of the night it was the Yanks who came out on top behind seven extra base hits to take the series opener 7-4.
Severino did not look sharp in his last outing on Saturday, and it was nearly an identical performance on Thursday. Sevy was in trouble right away, allowing several hard hits in the first before ultimately allowing an RBI single to A.L MVP candidate Jose Ramirez and a home run to Edwin Encarnacion to give Cleveland an early 2-0 lead. Kluber looked on point through the first two innings, retiring the first six batters he faced, however Kluber’s dominance in this game was short lived, as the Yanks began to run rough shot on him starting in the third.
Brett Gardner got the Yanks on the board in the third with a two-run shot to tie the game up, and the Bombers were far from done. After the Indians got a third run in the bottom half of the inning, the hero from last year’s Game 5 Didi Gregorius got to face his favorite pitcher again and had a very similar result: a long ball that cleared the right field wall to tie it back up once again.
The Yanks took the lead on a Greg Bird double in the fourth, but the theme of this game was constant ties and lead changes, so it was only right that Ramirez tied it right back up for the Indians in the fifth with a solo shot, his 28th of the season. Severino was able to give the Yanks five despite not having his best stuff before handing it over to the bullpen, who as usual were exceptional on Thursday night.
Warren, Robertson, Betances, and Chapman all threw an inning each, and none of them allowed a hit, stifling an Indians offense that was all over Severino. While Aaron Boone decided to go to his bullpen in the sixth, Terry Francona did not, electing to leave Kluber in despite having a high pitch count and a below average night: this was a mistake.
With over 100 pitches thrown in the game as he worked in the eighth, Kluber had the challenge of facing Aaron Hicks, and Hicks continued his trend of being red hot at the plate with a go ahead double that put the Yanks up for good. Bird and Gardner would add two more insurance runs, with Gardy going deep for the second time of the night, to wrap it up and give the Yanks a 7-4 win.
This was the second straight Severino start in which he has not pitched all that well, yet the Yankees were still able to come out with a win. Credit to Sevy for not having his A stuff and still finding a way to grind it out and give his team five innings; that is the sign of a great pitcher, finding ways to get guys out and keeping your team in the game when you are off on a night. The Yanks and Indians will be back at it for three more games before we hit the All-Star break, as Domingo German will get the ball.
Winning Pitcher: David Robertson: (6-3, 3.19 ERA): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
Losing Pitcher: Corey Kluber: (12-5, 2.76 ERA): 7.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
Save: Aroldis Chapman (25)
Article by: Matt LuzziFollow @theluzzmachine
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