There is no reason we as Tribe fans shouldn’t be confident heading into the decisive Game 5 tomorrow. This is a team that won 22 straight games and 102 on the season, yet most of us are sitting here thinking this series is lost. No matter how much praise and media coverage the Yankees receive, we all need to remember the Indians are still the favorite to win the series.
Kluber’s Game 2 start shouldn’t force us to lose our trust in him. He had been absolutely unstoppable up until that point. In fact, you could almost spin that start into being a positive. By being pulled that early, he will now be 100% fresh heading into this game. The bullpen may have been depleted last night, but the team still has Andrew Miller and Cody Allen available. All we need is for Kluber to perform at the level we know he’s capable off and we won’t even need a full bullpen. If there’s anyone on this team I’m willing to put blind faith in heading into an elimination game, it’s Kluber.
In the same way we shouldn’t allow Kluber’s outing in Game 2 determine how we feel heading into the next game, we should apply that same logic to the Tribe’s defense. During the regular season, the Indians allowed the fewest unearned runs in the entire MLB. Last night, the team allowed 4 in 1 2/3 innings with Bauer pitching. It was arguably their worse game of the year defensively. That won’t happen again.
The key to winning Game 5 will be to use the same format that the team has followed all season. Have a dominant starter, take the lead by scoring early, and then rely on Miller and Allen late. While the offense has struggled mightily without Encarnacion, he should hopefully be available for the next one. That should provide a spark for their hitting.
This team has been too good this year to not be confident heading into Game 5. The last two losses do not matter anymore. We have our ace on the mound, it’s at home, and the Indians are the superior team. It’s time to wrap this thing up and head to our second straight ALCS!