Cleveland Indians (Bauer 12-8, 4.26) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (Stroman 9-10, 4.37)
Cleveland leads series 2-0
8pm ET Monday on TBS
After two electric performances from the Cleveland Indians’ pitching staff, the Blue Jays find themselves chin deep in trouble, trailing the Indians 2-0 in the best-of-seven ALCS. After 18 innings of baseball, the Toronto lineup has managed just 10 hits and 1 run, which has got to be especially maddening for the Toronto pitchers, who’ve be nearly as good, allowing just 4 runs on 10 hits. The Indians have been led by superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor, who has driven in 3 of the Indians' runs, including both game-winners, and reliever Andrew Miller, who’s been a monster, striking out 10 of the 12 batters he’s faced over 3 2/3 innings.
The Indians’ Game 3 starter is Trevor Bauer, who pitched just well enough against the Red Sox in the Divisional round to get a no-decision. Bauer lasted just 4 ⅔, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits, including long balls to Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon, before turning a 4-3 lead over to Andrew Miller and the bullpen, who helped secure a 5-4 win.
Bauer set a career high for strikeouts against the Jays on August 19, fanning 13 over 8 innings, giving up 2 runs but having to settle for a no-decision in a 3-2 victory the Indians won with a walk-off inside-the-park home run by Tyler Naquin. Bauer alo pitched well against Toronto coming on in relief to pitch 5 scoreless innings, with Carlos Santana hitting the go-ahead home run in the top of the 19th.
In last year’s ALCS, the Blue Jays found themselves heading home down 2-0 to the Royals, and handed the ball to young Marcus Stroman. It was easily the worst postseason performance of his career, as he gave up 4 runs on 11 hits and a walk over 6 ⅓ innings. Ironically, it remains the only playoff game in which he got the win, as he left with a 10-4 lead, and the Toronto bullpen barely eked out an 11-8 victory. Today the Jays find themselves heading home down 2-0 to the Indians, and handing the ball to young Marcus Stroman.
Stroman was much better in this year’s Wild Card game, holding the Orioles to 2 runs on 4 hits over 6 innings, with 6 strikeouts, but overall he’s had a disappointing 2016. His ERA of 4.37 was more than a run higher than his a career mark of 3.31, a spike due largely to a jump in home runs, as he served up gopher balls to 2.5% of the batters he faced, after giving them up just 1.4% of the time in his previous two years.
Against Cleveland this year, however, Stroman was lights out, giving up just 2 runs in 14 innings with 15 K’s and 2 walks, but for all his efforts, got a pair of no decisions, as the Jays’ bullpen twice gave up a late home run – one in the 8th, the other in the 19th – to lose both games, and against the current crop of Indians, Stroman has given up an OPS of just .479.
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