After the most horrific and unexpected loss the Indians have suffered all season, Cleveland is looking to bounce back in Game 2. But before that, we must discuss what we learned from Game 1.
The Indians Bullpen is Still Shaky
Once Shane Bieber was pulled in the fifth, it was clear the game was all but over. The Indians were not going to pitch James Karinchak and Brad Hand, but it is still disappointing that players like Adam Cimber and Cam Hill disappointed in their relief appearances. Not only does this prove the Indians can only rely on the top half of their bullpen, but it also means…
The Starters Need to Last as Long as Possible
Though the Indians have good options like James Karinchack, Brand Hand, Oliver Perez and Cal Quantrill in the bullpen, if they want to go far in the postseason they’ll need to limit the number of innings the bullpen sees. Not only is this to keep their top bullpen arms rested, but with the Tribe having one of the best rotations in baseball, it’s obvious they would like the starters to go as far as they can every game.
Josh Naylor Can Be the Difference Maker the Tribe Needs
It may only be one game, but if Josh Naylor can continue to hit as he did in Game 1, he could be the Indians’ needed spark plug. Not only can he add a couple runs as he did in Game One, but he benefits everyone in the order by making the opposing pitchers pitch to the batters in front of him (since pitchers won’t want runners on with a hot hitter like Naylor coming up).
The (Other) Top Hitters Need to Turn it Around
In Game One, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana and Franmil Reyes combined to go 0-for-12. In spite of Jose Ramirez being one of the top hitters in baseball as of late, if the top of the lineup doesn’t get it together, the Indians’ playoff will go down the drain.
Is Shane Bieber a Postseason Performer?
With Bieber giving up two runs in his first four pitches and giving up half the runs he gave up in the whole season in one start, his future postseason performances have come into question. Though it was by far Bieber’s worst outing of his career, it could have simply been a case of the “yips” or just the stress of playing in a first postseason appearance. For now, let’s hope it’s not much to worry about.
The Indians Need to Score First If They Want to Win
There’s not much to say about this one. With the Indians subpar hitting, coming back will always be hard, especially when playing good postseason pitchers. Even if the Tribe only falls behind by three runs, with how competitive and talented the Yankees are, the game is all but over, barring any extreme circumstances.
Miller, R. (2020). Cole and Bieber [Digital image]. Retrieved September 30, 2020, from https://www.nj.com/yankees/2020/09/wild-card-series-yankees-indians-game-1-lineups-brett-gardner-in-clint-frazier-out.html