Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Trevor Bauer twirls gem, Indians beat Yankees 4-0 to take 1-0 lead in ALDS

17 Comments

Indians manager Terry Francona’s decision to start Trevor Bauer in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees instead of American League Cy Young Award candidate Corey Kluber was controversial, to say the least. Bauer doesn’t quite have Kluber’s credentials, and the team’s best starter typically starts Game 1 of a playoff series barring certain circumstances like that team having just played a Wild Card game.

Francona was also second-guessed last postseason when he dared to use his relievers unconventionally. Andrew Miller, who had typically pitched one inning per appearance either in the seventh or eighth, was used in multiple-inning stints as early as the fifth inning. It caught on, as Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and Cubs manager Joe Maddon used Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman, respectively, in unorthodox ways later that postseason.

Francona was proven correct again on Thursday as Bauer twirled 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Yankees. He brought a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but it was ended when Aaron Hicks doubled to left field with one out. He gave up only two hits in total along with a walk while striking out eight on 98 pitches. Francona lifted him with two outs in the seventh after allowing a two-out single to Starlin Castro. Miller came in and struck out Greg Bird to end the frame.

Jay Bruce provided the bulk of the offense, though the scoring opened with Roberto Perez grounding into a run-scoring double play in the bottom of the second. Bruce lifted a two-run home run to right field off of Sonny Gray in the fourth inning and added a sacrifice fly in the fifth against Jaime Garcia to boost the Indians’ lead to 4-0. The run was charged to Gray; Garcia ended up pitching 2 2/3 innings without allowing a hit.

Miller continued on in the eighth, striking out two and walking two before giving way to closer Cody Allen. Allen struck out Judge to end the frame. In the ninth, the right-hander set down Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius, then worked around a two-out Starlin Castro single by striking out Bird to nail down the 4-0 victory.

The ALDS continues on Friday at 5:00 PM ET. The Indians will put their 1-0 series lead in the hands of Kluber, who will oppose the Yankees’ CC Sabathia.

What do the losers of the Gerrit Cole derby do now?

7 Comments

Gerrit Cole is now a New York Yankee. Nine years and $324 million make that so. But though the Yankees are the only team who gets him, they weren’t the only team interested in him. So let’s take a look at what the losers of the Gerrit Cole derby — the Dodgers and the Angels — can do now that they know they’ve lost.

Dodgers

The Dodgers were hopeful they had a shot due to Cole’s Los Angeles ties. Welp, that didn’t pan out. Which is not a shock. I’m struggling to think of the last time that whole “he’s from [place] so he’ll want to sign with [team near place]” thing worked out. It didn’t happen with CC Sabathia in the Bay Area. It didn’t happen with Mark Teixeira in Baltimore. It didn’t even work out with Brandon Webb in Cincinnati. Money talks, geography walks.

But the Dodgers wanted Cole. They wanted to bolster a pitching staff that has relied on an aging and now free agent Rich Hill and on free agent Hyun-Jin Ryu. There’s a hole to fill, and without Cole available to fill that hole, they’ll have to do something. What is the something they can do?

How about sign their chief rival’s last big pitching star?

It’s certainly a decent plan. But it’s one that might get expensive for Los Angeles. USA Today reported on Monday that Bumgarner was seeking five years and $100 million-plus. Some raised their eyebrows at that report, but given how much Stephen Strasburg and Cole commanded, it seems downright reasonable now. That’s especially the case given that the Giants — despite being on the brink of a rebuild — probably don’t want to see their franchise hero sign with the hated Dodgers:

So it’ll be a bidding war. A war that will make Madison Bumgarner a very large amount of money.

 

Angels

The Angels made no secret of their desire to land Cole. Joe Maddon talked openly about him in his press conference here at the Winter Meetings on Monday. Cole talked openly during the 2019 season, and since it ended, about his connection to Orange County and the Big A.

But the Angels didn’t have the talent to entice Cole and to make him believe that they could contend like the Yankees can. If they made a competitive offer — and we don’t know if they did — they still would’ve had to convince him that they could win. And, really, there is no real basis to believe that they could make a credible case for that.

So where do the Angels go?

General Manager Billy Eppler said on Tuesday that the Angels did not have Gerrit Cole tunnel vision and that they could spend in excess of $20 million a year on multiple players, none of which had to be Cole. On Tuesday the Angels shed the contract of Zack Cozart and, with his $12 million+ and roster spot opened up, the Halos are said to be interested in third baseman Anthony Rendon or, as a fallback, Josh Donaldson.

As for pitching, the Angels will likely prove to be competition for  Bumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu and perhaps free agent Dallas Keuchel. They could also pursue trade options such as affordable pitchers like Miami’s Caleb Smith or Detroit’s Matthew Boyd or less-affordable — but less-costly in a trade — options like David Price, who the Red Sox were rumored to be shopping in the name of salary relief. Which is to say, the Angels have options, even if their top option is off the table.

But both they and their counterparts up in Los Angeles County, now have to go back to the drawing board now that Gerrit Cole is New York bound.