The New York Yankees wasted little time reminding the Cleveland Indians why they led the American League in runs while finishing second in homers during the truncated 60-game season.
After erupting for 12 runs on 15 hits — including four homers — in the opener of an AL wild-card series, the fifth-seeded Yankees will look to sweep the best-of-three set on Wednesday in Cleveland.
Gleyber Torres, Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge each belted a two-run homer and Giancarlo Stanton added a solo shot in New York’s 12-3 romp over the fourth-seeded Indians on Tuesday.
Judge is no stranger to postseason success. He has launched nine homers to go along with 19 RBIs and 22 runs in 28 career playoff games.
“There’s no doubt that he’s obviously a great player and huge between the lines for us,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Judge. “There’s no doubt that the edge that he has and plays with, when he’s rolling, it rubs off from an energy standpoint on our team.”
The energy boost certainly was welcome for the Yankees, who limped into the postseason having lost six of their last eight games.
“We weren’t really too concerned about where we finished,” Judge said. “It doesn’t matter any situation if we’re the underdogs or if we’re the top dog, it’s about showing up in pressure situations.”
Torres became the fourth member of the Yankees to record at least four hits, three RBIs and three runs in a postseason game, joining Hideki Matsui (2004), Gary Sheffield (2004) and Joe Dugan (1923).
“We knew coming in they were a tough team, but they still gotta win one more game, so tomorrow’s a different day,” Indians acting manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said.
New York right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (3-3, 3.56 ERA) carries a 5-3 postseason record with a slim 1.76 ERA and 0.78 WHIP into his Wednesday start. He has limited the opposition to a paltry .157 batting average during those eight starts.
Tanaka has a signature postseason victory against Cleveland. He tossed seven shutout innings in Game 3 of the 2017 AL Division Series to help the Yankees overcome a 2-0 series deficit and eliminate the Indians in five games.
The 31-year-old, however, struggled in his latest trip to the mound. He allowed five runs (three earned) on eight hits in four innings of a 14-1 shellacking by the Toronto Blue Jays on Sept. 23.
Tanaka owns a 2-2 record with a 4.00 ERA in six career encounters versus Cleveland.
Jose Ramirez has owned Tanaka in his career, going 9-for-14 (.643). He enters Wednesday’s game with his last 12 hits all going for extra bases (eight doubles, four homers), including a double on Tuesday.
Josh Naylor enjoyed a successful postseason debut at the plate. The left fielder became the fifth member of the Indians to record four hits in a playoff game after he belted a solo homer to go along with two doubles and a single.
Cleveland right-hander Carlos Carrasco (3-4, 2.91 ERA) will take the mound in Game 2 looking to continue his strong pitching of late. Carrasco has allowed seven runs on 27 hits in his past six starts (38 innings), although he posted just a 1-1 record in that span.
Carrasco, 33, sports a 5-5 record with a 4.04 ERA in 12 career appearances (nine starts) against New York.
–Field Level Media