After nearly eight months of baseball, 254 players, 99 regular season wins and two more in the playoffs, Yankees season is coming to Game 5 Monday night in the Bronx. Oh yeah, same goes for Cleveland, minus all the flashy numbers. On paper, this series looked like a mismatch, but it wasn’t. And with neither team having a definite advantage at Com on Monday night, let’s take a quick look at five things to watch when the first pitch rolls out at 7:07 p.m.
It is doubtful if he would choose Aaron Boone or Thierry Francona Jameson Telon Or Aaron Seval to start a do-or-die game if you asked them before the series. But thanks to baseball’s new game format, and rain, here we go. If either team manages to get four rounds from their starter, they take it and run to their pens. This is where the Guardians seem to have an advantage, having given up just two 15-rounds earned at a break at ALDS. On the other hand, the Yankees have surrendered five earned runs in 12 of the pen, and there are key questions about who will be called up in Game 5. How prepared is Clay Holmes then? Bonne previously avoided using it on consecutive days? Is Wandy Peralta available After showing it in the past three games? How would Nestor Cortes perform in a relaxed look behind Taillon, and how would another regular Novice, Domingo German, factor into the mix?
That Harrison Bader And Oswaldo Cabrera helping the Yankees put the running on the board was a huge boon to the Yankees. The same can be said on the Cleveland side of Oscar Gonzalez, Stephen Cowan and Will Brennan. But there’s a reason the Yankees and Guardians have come this far, and it’s due to their stars, who haven’t made a huge mark on the series. Aaron Judge hit two hits in 16 players of the battery, though one hit was a two-round Homer in Game Three. Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez has a hit average of 0.412, but he’s not Homer and has only one RBI. It’s time to carry their clubs over the finish line.
Mother Nature can be fickle
We’ve been checking several weather apps all day, and forecasts are mixed. Rain is likely. Will the first pitch be pushed back? Will that be enough to stop the game and force Pon and Francona to worry about returning the jug after it stops raining? Francona was already a victim of weather delays when the Cleveland team lost momentum in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series due to a late shower. Tonight may be a test of strategic gambling based on expectations as much as it is on the board.
Who can get a divorce?
Due to the tightness of such a series played (15 rounds total for the Yankees, 13 for the Guardian), no team was able to play with great comfort in any round. Cleveland may have a slam dunk and dunk, but they don’t have seven wins for no reason. As we all saw on Saturday night, once the hitter train starts, it’s hard to slow down before it runs two or three times on the plane. And while the .241 Yankees’ hit average isn’t anything to be angered about, they slouch well short of a three-stroke setting on the board with the most hitters in their lineup, making anyone in the Guardians pile a major concern. After four matches so close, we’re not expecting laughter in Do or Die 5.
Who will play at full speed?
Yes, Cleveland’s offense is weak, but they try to make up for some of that by playing with reckless carelessness at times. Sometimes, this results in Ramirez ending up at third base after a blob hit to left field late in Game 2; Other times, I’ve found that Ramirez has been thrown at first base after hitting a nearly carbon copy left field Sunday night. With so much strength and experience, the Yankees didn’t always play with the same urgency. Take Game 4, when Gleyber Torres was knocked out in a long-run double play after not completely breaking his tail as he exited his hitter box. Or Anthony Rizzo was caught by Cal Quantrell when he attempted a sneak robbery before the pitch could be turned over. The Yankees have advantages across the lineup, but in the event of sudden death, you can’t wait for those advantages to present themselves. Both teams need to play as if there is no tomorrow, because there is none.
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