Wednesday, October 11, 2017
CLEVELAND — The Yankees got to Cleveland ace Corey Kluber in Game 2 for six runs in just 2 ²/₃ innings, knocking the Cy Young candidate out of the game.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is the Yankees went on to lose that game, with Joe Girardi and the bullpen managing to blow a five-run lead.
The other dose of bad news for the Yankees? Kluber rarely has two rough outings in a row.
The only time he surrendered six runs during the regular season, April 15 against the Tigers, he came back to shut out the White Sox in his next outing.
“We’ve seen him extremely sharp and I think we caught him on a night that he wasn’t sharp,” Girardi said. “So you hope you catch him on another night that he’s not sharp.’’
On those nights when Kluber was sharp against the Yankees, they had little chance.
The right-hander held them to a run on three hits in a complete-game victory Aug. 3, when he struck out 11, and then allowed just two runs on three hits in eight innings against them Aug. 28.
Before his Game 2 fiasco, Kluber hadn’t given up more than two runs in an outing since Aug. 13.
Corey Kluber is probably the best pitcher in the American League. He is miles better than CC Sabathia. If you believe the Fangraphs depth chart projections, there is almost no difference between the Yankees’ lineup and Cleveland’s lineup.
I don’t have actual lineups for tonight, but this should be fairly close. The Indians are projected to be about 0.08 runs better than the Yankees offensively. The difference tonight is in the expected performance of the pitching.
That translates to a win probability for Cleveland of 67.2% vs. the Yankees 32.8%. I probably would have started Sonny Gray over Sabathia tonight, but the difference is only about 0.25 runs over five innings and about a 4% change in Yankee win probability. It doesn’t change the fact that this is one of the largest mismatches in a winner-take-all series finale game ever, and it’s extremely likely the Yankees are going home after tonight.
Frankly, I’m not sure they should even bother playing.
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