Bieber Buried, Yankees Bats Dominate Wild Card Game One 12-3 Over Indians

Matt Loede

CLEVELAND - This time there were no midges to bail the Indians out.

Shane Bieber, who has been basically unhittable during the 60-game regular season, went from Superman to Clark Kent in a hurry Tuesday night against the Lex Luthor like New York Yankees, allowing a season high seven runs in game dominated by the Yankees from the start 12-3.

To say the performance for Bieber was shocking would be an understatement. All year long he was the best pitcher in baseball, but was quickly turned mortal against a Yankee lineup that crushed his fastball and curve all night long.

On the other side, giving seven runs to a pitcher like Yankees ace Gerrit Cole was almost too easy, as despite a few hiccups here and there with the Indians putting up a pair of runs, Cole kept Indians hitters at bay with 13 strikeouts.

The Indians seemed deflated watching their ace allow New York to do whatever they wanted at the plate, and they won’t have much time to think about it, as if they play like this in game two on Wednesday night, just like that their 2020 season will be over.

For now, here’s a couple observations from a frustrating night for the Indians in game one of their best-of-three with the Yankees.

What Happened?

Call it first-time butterflies, or just a great game plan against him, but whatever the case may be, Indians ace Shane Bieber clearly had no answers for the Yankees one through nine lineup.

By the time Bieber left the game with two outs in the fifth, every player on the Yankees had at least one hit against him minus Aaron Hicks, who still had walked and scored, and Gio Stanton.

The onslaught started with Aaron Judge taking Bieber deep on the first pitch the pitcher threw to him, this after DJ LeMahieu singled on the third pitch of the game.

Bieber was tagged in every inning for at least one hit, and he allowed at least a run in four of the five innings he was in the game.

If the Indians don’t rally to win the series, which seems like a longshot at this point, the ending of 2020 for Bieber will be both shocking and disappointing at the same time.

New York stayed on him all night, never giving in and they didn’t chase pitches which was something Bieber was able to get batters to do all season.

The Yankees game plan against Bieber was excellent, staying patient on his curve and going hard after his fastball.

It also appeared for whatever reason that Bieber and catcher Roberto Perez, who is known for being one of the best game calling catcher in the game, were just not on the same page.

It showed right away when Bieber challenged Judge in the second at-bat of the game with a fastball right in the heart of the plate.

Judge made him pay, smacking the 93 mile per hour pitch over the wall in left center to make it 2-0 Yankees, and the route was on.

If somehow Bieber gets another chance to throw in 2020 if the Indians rally in the series, he had better take a long, hard look at what all went wrong in this outing.

Calm, Cool Cole

On the other side, Yankees starter Gerrit Cole did what just about everyone expected him to do, control the Indians lineup.

Yes the Tribe did have one really good chance to get back into the game, but Cole shut it down with a strikeout of Carlos Santana on just three pitches.

That chance came in the third, with the Indians trailing 3-0. With one uot Delino DeShields singled and stole second, and after Francisco Lindor popped out Cesar Hernandez singled to put runners on the corners.

Jose Ramirez then doubled down the first base line, scoring DeShields to make it 3-1. With the tying run at second, Cole bore down and threw three pitches right past Santana, fastball, curve, and a 98 mile per hour fastball that was no match for the Indians first baseman.

Other than that, Cole looked like the lock for the Cy Young on this night, not Bieber.

He struck out two Indians batters in each of the first five innings, then struck out one in the 6th and two more in the 7th for 13 K’s on the night.

It was the second most K’s in a playoff game by a Yankees starter behind Roger Clemens in game four of the ALCS in 2000.

Josh Naylor was the only Indian to really have any success against Cole, hitting a double in the second, a homer in the fourth, and a single in the 7th. He also doubled and scored the games final run in the 9th.

On the night Cole allowed two runs on six hits with 13 K’s. He was locked in from the first pitch, and the Indians didn’t have much of a chance against him.

Now What?

For the Indians they are in a really tough spot as they now have less than 24 hours to put this awful effort aside and get ready for Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka.

How good has Tanaka been in the postseason? How about a 5-3 mark with an excellent 1.76 ERA. This season, in what could be his last with the Yankees, he went 3-3 with a 3.56 ERA in 10 starts.

"I think the most important [thing] in pitching in a big game like this is really try to be yourself," Tanaka said.

"I think just being yourself is the key to being successful and pitching in big games." 

The Indians will have their work cut out for them, and while Tanaka isn’t the dominant pitcher that Gerrit Cole is, the team still needs to have a better approach at the plate than they did Tuesday night.

The last time he faced the Tribe was back on August 16th of last season, as he went 6.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits in an eventual New York 3-2 win.

The Indians will counter with Carlos Carrasco, who they hope can continue his recent success on the mound.

Carrasco has gone at least six innings in his last six starts, allowing just seven earned runs in those six outings.

He earned the win two outings ago in Detroit against the Tigers, going seven innings, striking out 11 while not allowing a run and giving up just one hit.

However the Indians have to do it, they’ve got to find a way to keep the ball in the ballpark, as the Yankees clubbed four homers in the win Wednesday.

Also getting some early success against Tanaka would be nice, and even putting up an early run to gain confidence could go a long way if the Tribe is going to even the series up.

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For more from Matt Loede, follow him on Twitter @MattLoede. Follow CBI on Twitter @IndiansonSI

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