Indians look to close out series in New York Monday night

Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona congratulates starting pitcher Trevor Bauer as Bauer leaves during the seventh inning against the New York Yankees in Game 1 of a baseball American League Division Series, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, in Cleveland. Bauer pitched 6 2/3 innings and gave up two hits. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

So far this ALCS series hasn’t disappointed one bit. From the Indians shutout win in game one, to the offensive explosion in game two, this series has fans craving for more. And after the Yankees pulled out the 1-0 upset win last night, that’s exactly what we’re going to get.

Game four starts Monday at 7:05 on FS1, and the Yankees desperately need another win to keep their World Series hopes alive. Meanwhile, the Indians are looking to close the series and move on to their second straight ALCS. Cleveland holds a commanding 2-1 lead in this best-of-five series. With two games remaining, you have to like their chances.

What to Expect in Game 4

With each game of this series playing out differently, it’s hard to predict exactly how things will go down. But there is one constant that’s crystal clear for tonight’s contest -- the starting pitching. Trevor Bauer will take to the mound for the Tribe, and after his stellar performance in game one, that’s music to the ears of Indians’ fans everywhere.

They’ll be hoping for another ‘Bauer Outage,’ tonight, as the righty threw 6.2 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while striking out eight Yankee batters. Bauer is in the midst of perhaps the best pitching stretch of his career, as he’s gone 11-1 over his last 15 games, allowing an ERA of just 2.42.

On the other side of the match up, Luis Severino, the Yankees dynamic right-hander is coming off his worst performance of the season in the Wild Card game against the Twins. Severino only recorded one out before being pulled by Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Clearly, ‘Sevy’ was not himself, perhaps a victim to the pressure of his first career postseason start. With that terrible performance in his rear view mirror, Severino is expected to be his usual self Monday night, especially since the Yanks are at home. But if Severino doesn’t shake off the cobwebs, the Yankees season will come to an end tonight.

Offenses Have to Produce

Game three’s pitching duel could very well carry over into game four. It’s highly typical for teams lock it down when it comes to pitching in October. But both teams will need to find some momentum offensively if they wish to survive and advance.

The Bronx Bombers, have been anything of the sort in two of three games thus far, being shutout in the first game and scoring just once in game three. Although, last night’s lone run was enough to win, it’s not a recipe for success. One player who has struggled mightily is rookie sensation Aaron Judge. His game saving catch is about the only positive thing he’s done for the Yankees this series. The 25-year-old phenom has struck out eight times against Cleveland’s pitching staff this series. More impressively, the Tribe have held the likely AL Rookie of the Year hitless through three games.

But the same story goes for the Indians. Getting shutout in game three was a rare occurrence for the Tribe as it only happened 6 times all season. But good fortunes seem to be in the cards, as Cleveland has five batters that have taken Severino deep in their careers. Two of those players, Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, are going to be expected to do pick up the slack tonight. Both seem to be good candidates to step up. Against Severino, ‘Mr. Smile,’ has a career .273 average with a homer, and ‘J-Ram’ is hitting .300 with two long balls.

If all things go as anticipated, you can bet on the Indians advancing to face the winner of the Red Sox/Astros series.

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