Game 2 in the Bronx did not go the Yankees’ way, and not just because of the final result on the scoreboard. It was one of those games when line drives off Yankee bats were caught, but bloops and flares off Guardian bats found the grass.
In a well-pitched game on both sides, there were a handful of moments that determined the game. With a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third, Josh Donaldson stood at the plate with two outs and runners on second and third. He ripped a ball to left field that would likely have scored two and might even have chased Cleveland starter Shane Bieber from the game, but left fielder Steven Kwan was able to race in and grab it for the final out. Later, with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth, Kyle Higashioka looked for just a moment as if he would be the hero, but his line drive was snagged by third baseman Jose Ramirez, and again the Yankees were turned away.
Finally, in the top of the tenth inning, Aaron Boone sent Jameson Taillon (and not Clarke Schmidt) to the mound, a questionable decision considering Taillon had never before appeared in relief. The result was predictable, if not the manner in which things played out. First there was a bloop to left by Ramirez, a ball that Oswaldo Cabrera might’ve been able to catch were it not for a moment’s hesitation towards the end. The hustling Ramirez forced a desperate throw to second from Donaldson, and when that throw sailed into right field, Ramirez ended up a-huggin’ third. Oscar Gonzalez followed that with another bloop, this one falling in front of Aaron Judge in right, and the Guardians had their lead. (Josh Naylor followed with a double that was an absolute rocket, but it was the bloops that had done in Taillon.)
The Yankees were never going to go 11-0 in the postseason, and they probably weren’t even going to sweep the Guardians. This isn’t the time to panic. Luis Severino takes the mound today, and it’s been more than two weeks since he last allowed a base hit! Yesterday’s loss does nothing to change the fact that the Yankees are a better team than the Guardians, or that Severino is a better and more experienced pitcher than Cleveland’s Triston McKenzie. Tonight’s game is pivotal, but this isn’t doomsday. Come in off the ledge and watch the game. It’ll be fun!