With the AL Wild Card Round starting tomorrow, the Yankees need to follow three keys in order to have success against the Cleveland Indians.
As you know, playoff baseball is finally here, as the New York Yankees will travel to Cleveland, Ohio to take on the Indians in a best of three series starting on Tuesday. Many fans are pessimistic regarding the upcoming series, as the Yankees closed out the season winning just two of their final eight ballgames. Having said this, anything can happen in a best of three, and if the Yankees execute in these three areas, they are bound to succeed.
1. Situational Hitting
The Yankees will have three major challenges in the Wild Card Round opposing them on the mound Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. On Tuesday, the Bombers will face near Cy Young-lock Shane Bieber, who led MLB in ERA (1.63) and strikeouts (122) and was tied for the league lead in wins (8).
Following Bieber, the Yanks will face long-time Indian Carlos Carrasco, who pitched to a 2.91 ERA this season while striking out 82 in 68.0 innings. Lastly, the Bombers will take on young talent Zach Plesac in game three, if necessary. Plesac has impressed in his short time in the majors, pitching to a 2.28 ERA this season in 55.1 innings. This comes off a strong rookie year where the 25-year-old righty had a 3.81 ERA in 21 starts.
The point is, the opposition on the hill is good — very good. This makes coming through in crucial situations all the more important. The Yankees need to come through with runners in scoring position and be able to produce runs when necessary, knowing that these opportunities will be few and far between.