MLB Playoffs on Sling: Indians Look to Finish Off Blue Jays, Cubs and Dodgers head to LA Tied 1-1

Oct 18, 2016 by Sling Staff

Cleveland Indians (Kluber 18-9, 3.14) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (Sanchez 15-2, 3.00)
Cleveland leads series 3-0
4pm ET Tuesday on TBS

The Indians bullpen did it again last night, coming to the rescue when starter Trevor Bauer was forced to leave the game with 2 out in the first, pitching 8 ⅓ innings of 2-run ball in a 4-2 win that gave Cleveland a commanding 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven series with the Blue Jays. Bauer got the hook after Jays manager John Gibbons complained to the umpires that there was a steady stream of blood running from a cut on the side of Bauer’s right pinkie, a wound he’d suffered earlier in the week while playing with his drone, but between the relief corps and Mike Napoli’s RBI double, solo homer, RBI double and run scored on Jose Ramirez’s single in the sixth, the Tribe had more than enough to get it done.

The Indians came into this series with the seemingly huge disadvantage of of being without starter Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, who are both sidelined by injuries, making it all but certain that Mike Clevinger would have to start one of these games. But Cleveland manager Terry Francona clearly smells the blood in the water (maybe Bauer’s), and sees a chance to send Corey Kluber to finish off the Jays, and still have plenty of time to rest up for Game 1 of the World Series. Kluber’s been a stud in his 2 postseason starts, both wins, pitching 13 ⅓ scoreless innings, but it seems like an unnecessary gambit given that Kluber’s never before pitched on 3 days rest and the Indians are up 3-0 – if you don’t have Mike Clevinger pitch in this situation, why even have him on the roster?

On the bump for the Jays will be Aaron Sanchez, who got pounded last week in his first career postseason start, as the Rangers got to him for 6 runs on 3 hits – including 2 homers – and 4 walks in 5 ⅔ innings.

Sanchez was brilliant in the regular season, leading the American League in ERA and winning percentage. In his lone start against the Tribe, however, he blew a 5-0 lead in the 4th, punching out with the score tied 5-5 before the Jays went on to win 6-5. Unless the Blue Jays’ bats awaken from their team-wide slumber, it may not matter how well Sanchez pitches, as through the first 3 games of this series, the Jays have a slash line of .177/.233/.250 and have scored just 3 runs – that won’t leave Sanchez with much of a margin for error.

Chicago Cubs (Arrieta 18-8, 3.10) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Hill 12-5, 2.12)
Series tired 1-1
8pm ET Tuesday on FS1

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday hopped on Clayton Kershaw’s back for 7 innings of shutout ball, earning a 1-0 victory over the Cubs, and stealing away homefield advantage in the process. Tonight the Cubs will try to flip the script by sending to the hill Jake Arrieta, while the Dodgers will counter with Rich Hill.

Arrieta struggled in the second half of the regular season, but pitched well – and hit even better – in his showdown with Madison Bumgarner in the NLDS, as he allowed just 2 runs over 6 innings, and drove in 3 with a second-inning home run, though the Cubs would go one to lose in the 13th inning, on back-to-back double by Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik.

The postseason has been cruel to Rich Hill, who got tagged for 4 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks in the Game 2 of the NLDS against the Nationals, only to come back on 3 days rest in the fifth and final game and get pulled down 1-0, with 2 outs, and men on first and second in the third inning. The Dodgers of course went on the win a wild one thanks to a 4-run 7th, and gutty relief performances from Kenley Jansen and Kershaw. So in a pair of starts this postseason, Hill’s lasted just 7 innings and given up 5 runs on 9 hits and 4 walks, though he has fanned 13.

TBS is available to all Sling subscribers;
FS1 is available to Sling Blue subscribers with Sports Extra.

All stats courtesy ESPN and Baseball Reference.

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