The Cleveland Indians will face their toughest challenge since yesterday when they take the field in New York for the first of four against the Yankees.
As the old saying goes, there is no rest for the weary. Under most circumstances, the Cleveland Indians would be happy to bid farewell to the Boston Red Sox after dealing with their meat grinder of a lineup for three days. But a four-game road set with the New York Yankees awaits.
The Yankees are tied with the Dodgers for the best record in MLB despite missing Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks for most of the year; despite Miguel Andujar being out for the season; despite Didi Gregorius and Aaron Judge serving lengthy stints of their own on the IL; despite Luis Severino not having thrown a single pitch.
The amount of roster adversity the Yankees have faced this season would have crippled most teams to the point where even a playoff berth seemed out of reach, let alone home field advantage throughout the entire month of October. Yet here the Yankees are.
A club notorious for weighty contracts has been largely carried on offense by D.J. LeMahieu, Gio Urshela, Luke Voit (also currently on IL), and Gleyber Torres. The highest-paid player among them is LeMahieu, with a $12 million 2019 salary. The other three make less than $2 million combined.
The starting rotation has been led not by highly-paid Masahiro Tanaka, nor celebrated winter trade acquisition James Paxton, nor even veteran J.A. Happ–but by Domingo German, who is making just over half a million dollars in 2019.
The Yankees will never be America’s darling, but there’s something to be said for the job Aaron Boone and his team have done to get to where they stand today. But things aren’t exactly going to get easier for them, either.
The Bombers are 9-2 over their last 11 games, all 11 of them having come against the Orioles and Blue Jays. They’re averaging nearly eight runs per game in this stretch, and they’ve launched 32 home runs. The Indians will have something to say about all of that.