As the 27th and final out was made it was back to the drawing board for the Tribe. The trip to the Bronx is one that they will have to forget. What was a 2-0 lead has now evaporated into a series tie with game 5 back in Cleveland with a chance for one team to punch their ticket to the ALCS. The Indians are turning to the man that has led the way the past several years in potential Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. The Indians now must withstand not only the momentum of the Yanks, but the ghosts of haunted postseasons past.
The last 3 postseasons the Tribe has competed in excluding the 2013 Wild Card game, the Tribe blew a series lead in each of those series since 1999. In 1999, the Indians blew a 2-0 lead to the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. In 2007, the Red Sox would do it again as the they overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Indians in 7 games of the ALCS. Then as much as it stings the Tribe again had a 3-1 lead only this time it was the 2016 World Series in which the Cubs would end their dreaded 108-year curse and outlasted the Indians in 10 innings in that memorable game 7.
Not only do the Indians have playoff demons, the Yankees have their own when it comes to Progressive Field. Since 1997 the Indians and the Yankees have met what would be now 4 times, the previous 3 times the Indians won 2 out of the 3. 1997, The Indians roared back to shock the defending World Champion Yankees in 5 games of the ALDS. The Yankees would get payback in 1998 as they would defeat the Indians in 6 games of the ALCS. In 2007, the Indians would return the favor as they ousted the Yankees in 4 games of the ALDS. Which leads us to game 5 tomorrow night with everything on the line.
Corey Kluber will go for the Tribe. On the other side, the Yanks will turn to former Indian C.C. Sabathia. Kluber got rocked in his last outing against the Yanks allowing 6 runs, but luckily for the Tribe they had that memorable comeback or else this series would be over. As for Sabathia, he pitched well working 5 1/3, allowing just 3 runs, and striking-out 5. The Yanks have managed to hit the long ball the past 3 games and will look to continue that trend. As for the Indians they need Jobu to take fear from bats, since the Indians offense was non-existent in New York, scoring just 3 runs in two games. The status of Edwin Encarnacion is still pending. If Encarnacion is unable to go, the offensive load will fall on the squared shoulders of Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, whom both have struggled throughout the entire series. The Indians will have to have Michael Brantley step up if they to continue their quest for the title.
With that said, before this series started I picked in the Indians to win this series in 4. They still have a chance to win the series in 5. As a lifelong Indians fan am I nervous for this game? Yes! It’s scary to think that this great season can come crashing down. Many such as I want to see the Indians continue their quest to get back to the Fall Classic. The Indians much like the cursed teams before them, have to overcome some type of obstacle to break through and win a championship. Look at the 2004 Red Sox they had to overcome a 3-0 deficit against the Yankees. Just recently the Cavaliers had to overcome a 3-1 deficit to the Warriors to win the NBA Finals. What most fans miss when it comes to teams and players winning championships, is when you see a player breaking down and crying, it’s not just the fact that they’re a champion. It’s more of the fact that they think about the journey it took to get there. If the Indians want to get to the promised land they will have to overcome obstacles to get it done.
My prediction: Indians beat the Yanks 5-3 and advance to the ALCS to meet the Astros.