There’s only one word to recap Game One and that is annihilation. The Yankees destroyed Shane Bieber and shut down any hope of a comeback with a final of 12-3. In the best-of-three series, the Indians must win tonight’s game or their hunt for a World Series Crown ends.
The pitching matchups are set with Carlos Carrasco to take the mound for the Tribe. He’ll face Masahiro Tanaka, who pitched seven shut out innings against Cleveland in Game 3 of the 2017 ALDS. However, Tanaka had a tough 2020 season and this can give the Indians a chance to awaken their bats.
Carrasco has been a solid starter for the Tribe this season. He was 2019 Comeback Player of the Year as he battled back from Leukemia to join his team. He is beloved by fans and he also gives a more veteran feel on the hill. If Carrasco can slow down the Yankees’ bats, the offense has a chance against Tanaka.
Key points needed for an Indians win:
- Get to Tanaka early
- Tribe hitters MUST be more patient at the plate
- Attack Yankees middle relievers as they are vulnerable
- If Carrasco gets into trouble early, Sandy Alomar needs to pull him
To expand off the last point, everything is on the table tonight. The Indians must use all pitching options if needed. The Tribe has Triston McKenzie and Cal Quantrill, who can step in and the back-end of the bullpen. Additionally, James Karinchak, Phil Maton and Brad Hand all have been solid. The Indians’ relief pitchers have the third-best ERA of 3.53 in the MLB. The team cannot allow the game to get too far out of reach and have good arms to rely on should Cookie struggle.
Newly-acquired Josh Naylor, in the trade of Mike Clevinger, went 4-4 at the plate including a home run and a double. Naylor was the lone bright spot in the Tribe’s offense in Game One and if the Indians are going to bounce back tonight, they need to follow his lead. Every game is different and the Tribe has proven this season they can step up when necessary.
Tonight’s game will be their biggest test.