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Indians stymie Blue Jays 4-2 to take commanding 3-0 lead in ALCS

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Indians starter Trevor Bauer could only go two-thirds of an inning before departing as his stitched-up pinkie finger opened up and began dripping blood. Nevertheless, the Indians persevered and defeated the Blue Jays 4-2 in Game 3 of the ALCS to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Indians will have a chance to wrap it up on Tuesday and punch their ticket to the World Series.

The Indians gave Bauer an early lead when, after Carlos Santana drew a leadoff walk against starter Marcus Stroman, Mike Napoli swatted a two-out RBI double to right-center field that bounced off of Jose Bautista.

Bauer insisted his injury — suffered repairing a drone, something he built as a hobby — wouldn’t be an impediment despite it causing the Indians to push him back in their ALCS rotation. Bauer struck out Jose Bautista looking to begin the bottom of the first inning and it appeared to be smooth sailing. But he walked Josh Donaldson, got Edwin Encarnacion to line out, then walked Troy Tulowitzki to put runners on first and second base. The FS1 cameras showed Bauer’s right hand dripping blood.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons came out to speak with home plate umpire Brian Gorman, pointing out Bauer’s wound. Indians manager Terry Francona was on the mound discussing the issue with Bauer. Gorman came up to Francona and said the bleeding was “too much” and said Bauer would need to be replaced. Dan Otero took the mound and got Russell Martin to ground out to end the inning.

Michael Saunders drilled a solo homer to left field off of Otero in the bottom of the second, tying the game at 1-1. That marked the Jays’ first home run of the ALCS.

Napoli came through again for the Indians in the fourth, drilling a solo home run to center field off of Stroman to break the tie. Napoli also became the fifth player to hit a home run for four different teams in the postseason.

The Jays were able to knot things back up at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ezequiel Carrera laced a triple to right-center to lead off the frame. Ryan Goins knocked Carrera in with a ground out to shortstop. But that was the end of the Blue Jays’ offense, as the Indians’ bullpen continued to dominate.

Bryan Shaw got five outs, allowing two hits and striking out two batters. He yielded a leadoff single to Kevin Pillar in the seventh before being replaced by closer Cody Allen. Allen was able to get Carrera to fly out to right field. While pinch-hitter Justin Smoak was batting, Pillar stole second base. Allen, howeer, rebounded by striking Smoak out on a curve. Bautista worked a walk, but Donaldson lined out to left field to end the threat.

In the eighth, Shaw got Encarnacion to ground out before striking out Tulowitzki. Lefty Andrew Miller entered the game for the final four outs. He easily fanned Martin to send the game to the ninth.

The Indians threatened to score more runs in the top of the ninth against Roberto Osuna, putting runners on second and third with one out, but ultimately came up empty. Miller came back out for the bottom of the ninth. Miller worked around a leadoff single to Dioner Navarro, striking out Pillar and pinch-hitter B.J. Upton before inducing a game-ending ground out up the middle from Darwin Barney.

With a chance to clinch the ALCS, the Indians will send Corey Kluber out to the mound on short rest to face the Blue Jays in Game 4 on Tuesday at 4:00 PM EDT. The Jays will counter with Aaron Sanchez with their playoff lives on the line.

Washington Nationals roster and schedule for 2020

Nationals roster and schedule
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The 2020 season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The Washington Nationals roster and schedule:

NATIONALS ROSTER (projected)

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Nationals roster to begin the season:

Catchers:

Yan Gomes
Kurt Suzuki

Infielders:

Eric Thames
Starlin Castro
Carter Kieboom
Trea Turner
Howie Kendrick
Asdrúbal Cabrera

Outfielders:

Juan Soto
Victor Robles
Adam Eaton
Michael Taylor
Andrew Stevenson

Starters:

Max Scherzer
Steven Strasburg
Patrick Corbin
Aníbal Sánchez
Austin Voth
Erick Fedde

Relievers:

Sean Doolittle
Daniel Hudson
Will Harris
Tanner Rainey
Wander Suero
Hunter Strickland
Roenis Elías


BREAKDOWN:

The Nationals shocked the world last year, recovering from an abysmal start to the season to win an NL Wild Card before cutting through the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Astros to win the first championship in franchise history. While the roster is largely unchanged, there is one gaping void: the loss of third baseman Anthony Rendon, who signed with the Angels. Rendon, a perennial MVP candidate, led the majors with 126 doubles and the NL with 44 doubles while smacking 34 homers with a 1.010 OPS last season. He’ll be replaced by the young Carter Kieboom and the veteran Kendrick and Cabrera. Those are some large shoes to fill.

With Rendon out of the picture, Juan Soto becomes the crux of the Nationals’ offense. Last year, he tied Rendon with 34 homers while knocking in 110 runs. He also, impressively, drew 108 walks, by far the highest on the team. The Nationals will likely have to utilize their speed even more. Last year, Soto stole 12 bases while Adam Eaton swiped 15, Victor Robles 28, and Trea Turner 35.

As was the case in 2019, the pitching will be how the Nationals punch their ticket to the postseason. Max Scherzer finished third in Cy Young balloting, his seventh consecutive top-five finish. The club retained Stephen Strasburg and brings back Patrick Corbin as well. There really isn’t a better 1-2-3 in the game. The rotation will be rounded out by Aníbal Sánchez and one of Austin Voth or Erick Fedde, though both are likely to see starts during the season.

The back of the bullpen is led by closer Sean Doolittle, who posted an uncharacteristically high — for him — 4.05 ERA last year. He still saved 29 games and averaged better than a strikeout per inning, so they’re in good hands. Daniel Hudson and Will Harris will work the seventh and eighth innings leading up to Doolittle.

As mentioned in the Braves preview, it’s tough to make any definitive statements about a 60-game season. Variance is going to have much more of an effect than it would in a 162-game season. Additionally, the NL East is highly competitive. It would be wrong to say with any degree of confidence that the Nationals will win the NL East. For example, the updated PECOTA standings from Baseball Prospectus only project a five-game difference between first and last place in the NL East. What we can say is that the Nationals will give everyone a run for their money in 2020.

NATIONALS SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

  • July 23, 25-26: vs. Yankees
  • July 27-28: vs. Blue Jays
  • July 29-30: @ Blue Jays
  • July 31-August 2: @ Marlins
  • August 4-5: vs. Mets
  • August 7-9: vs. Orioles
  • August 10-13: @ Mets
  • August 14-16: @ Orioles
  • August 17-19: @ Braves
  • August 21-24: vs. Marlins
  • August 25-27: vs. Phillies
  • August 28-30: @ Red Sox
  • August 31-September 3: @ Phillies
  • September 4-6: @ Braves
  • September 7-8: vs. Rays
  • September 10-13: vs. Braves
  • September 15-16: @ Rays
  • September 18-20: @ Marlins
  • September 21-23: vs. Phillies
  • September 24-27: vs. Mets

The entire Nationals schedule can be seen here.