The Cleveland Indians still hold a comfortable 3-1 lead over the Toronto Blue Jays, but the offense must have a big day and end this series.
It is always nice when the pitching staff is able to bail out the offense. This was true for the Cleveland Indians in the first three games of the ALCS.
Three straight games were won with a combined eight runs on offense, compared to three scored by the Toronto Blue Jays in that span. But that all changed in Tuesday’s 5-1 loss.
The Blue Jays were able to get to Corey Kluber, and added a few runs later in the game to put it out of reach. But five runs is not necessarily an insurmountable deficit in a baseball game. The problem is the Indians were only able to record two hits in the entire game.
A day after Mike Napoli, Jason Kipnis and Jose Ramirez all made significant contributions in the Game 3 victory, the entire lineup was ineffective, with only Roberto Perez and Tyler Naquin recording hits.
So while all the focus heading into today’s game is on Ryan Merritt and how capable he is to start a playoff game (he will be fine), the focus should be on the play of the offense.
This will be no easy task against Marco Estrada, who only allowed two runs in eight innings to the Indians in the opening game of the series. He had himself a great game, but Corey Kluber was just a bit better that night.
It does not matter who drives in the runs as long as a few players step up and get this franchise to its first World Series since 1997. The specifics of how it was done is often forgotten when advancing in the playoffs, so big days from players like Perez, Naquin or even Coco Crisp are just fine if they can pick up the slack left by Napoli, Ramirez and others.
Baseball is a crazy game and that should continue to hold true this afternoon when the Indians have another chance to end this series. While we wait, let’s take a look at the news surrounding the Indians and the rest of the MLB in today’s edition of A.M. Wahoo’s.
Cleveland Indians News:
"After six nearly flawless games in the 2016 playoffs, the Cleveland Indians had a tough day on Tuesday in Toronto, falling in Game Four of the American League Championship Series by a score of 5-1."
"As you’re probably aware, Andrew Miller has been incredible for the Cleveland Indians so far in the postseason."
"They joke in the Indians’ clubhouse about the things that would come out of Ryan Merritt’s mouth if the club advanced to the World Series against, say, a certain team from the North Side of Chicago."
"You can spend a good amount of time looking at the roster of the Washington Nationals and you’ll come away bleary eyed if you are trying to figure out why they are sitting at home and watching the rest of the baseball season."
"Major League Baseball is pushing for an international draft as a centerpiece of change in the next collective bargaining agreement with the players’ association, according to sources familiar with the proposal."
"After going 0-for-12 in his first four games in the Arizona Fall League (with five strikeouts), many wondered aloud if Tim Tebow would ever notch a hit as a baseball player."