In all of Major League Baseball’s infinite wisdom, an off-day was already scheduled between Games 1 and 2 of the American League Division Series between the Cleveland Guardians and New York Yankees.
And now, thanks to Thursday’s postponement due to inclement weather, the teams haven’t played in two days, and could potentially play four games in a row should the ALDS go the full five games.
By this point in the series, everyone knows that Cleveland’s bullpen is the one true strength that could put the Guardians above New York. The Yankees’ pen is more or less in shambles due to injuries and Aroldis Chapman’s convenient abandonment of the team, and it would certainly behoove the Guardians to rid themselves of New York’s starters as quickly as possible in any of this weekend’s games.
Meanwhile, Cleveland’s bullpen is rested and ready to go, having played only one game this week. It would have been an all-hands-on-deck situation regardless, but the Guardians really are in a much more enviable position in regards to their pitching.
One just hopes manager Terry Francona has a bit more of a quick trigger finger if needed. In Game 1, he allowed starter Cal Quantrill to start the sixth inning and face the top of the Yankees’ lineup for a third time. That would ultimately be his demise, as Anthony Rizzo socked a two-run homer that put the Yankees up 4-1 and effectively closed out the game based on how Cleveland’s offense has been struggling in the postseason.
Game 2 starter Shane Bieber will of course be tasked with trying to pitch late into the game himself. The Yankees are a team that is built to simply mash home runs; if Bieber can keep the ball in the park – which is often easier said than done in Yankee Stadium – the Guardians have a great shot at evening the series. The offense just needs to hold up its end of the bargain and continue to work counts, get on base, wreak a little havoc while there, and push more than one run across.
Four straight days of games in the postseason is essentially unheard of, but it does provide the Guardians a golden opportunity. Let’s see if they can take advantage.
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