The Cleveland Guardians head into Game 2 of the ALDS in as close to a must-win situation as you can get. While it is not an elimination game, they cannot go back home down 2-0 in the series, knowing they will have to face Yankees ace Gerrit Cole again.
Save for a first-inning fielding error by shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa on a difficult play up the middle, and a couple base-running gaffes by third baseman Josh Donaldson, the Yankees looked sharp. They played their style of baseball – hitting home runs, playing solid defense, riding their starting pitcher deep into the game and closing it out while avoiding their middle relievers.
The Guardians, meanwhile, looked more like themselves, threatening multiple times early in the game and driving Cole’s pitch count up in the first three innings. How the Guardians respond in Game 2, and whether or not they can break through against Yankees left-hander Nestor Cortes will be critical to extending this series.
Here are three things to watch in Game 2 Friday afternoon.