ALCS 1: TOR vs. CLE — Pitchers leading the way in the AL

It was a lovely, crisp 58° in Cleveland at the time of the first pitch just to emphasize that we are really playing Fall Ball. And both the Indians and Blue Jays sent up what is easily their best respective starters.

Now, growing up, I was taught that the AL had the hitters and the NL had the pitchers. And for the most part that proved true, until the power-hitting (and partially drug-enhanced) home run derby of 1998 between two NL batters on the Cubs and Cardinals. But lately, the stereotypes have been proving true with a lot of NL pitchers coming close or even achieving that much-coveted perfect game.

So, it’s still a little weird for me when you get some really amazing pitching in an AL game, but I can’t say that it doesn’t make me appreciate it a bit more. Like I’ve come to expect it out of NL pitchers, so when I see it in the AL, I’m a little more enthralled by and anticipatory of the prospect.

Like I was tonight with the Blue Jays starter Estrada and Indians starter Kluber. Kluber threw 100 pitches into the 7th inning, giving up 6 hits and 2 walks, and striking out 6 Blue Jays’ batters. But he kept the Blue Jays scoreless, which ended up being the key to this game. Estrada again threw a complete game, a full 8 innings, giving up 6 hits to the Indians’ batters, a walk, and 2 runs, striking out 6 along the way. This certainly saved the Blue Jays’ bullpen for upcoming games this series.

So, in the bottom of the 6th, the Indians broke through Estrada’s command on the mound when Kipnis worked a 1-out walk (Estrada’s lone allowed walk) and then scored as part of Lindor’s big 2-run home run. It would be the only runs scored in the game, making Lindor a big hometown hero there at Progressive Field.

In the 7th, Kluber got a huge standing ovation, rightly so, as he exited the game and turned things over to Miller (the Yankees’ former closer/reliever is one of the reasons that the Indians are very much in this postseason still). Miller just dominated his way through the 7th and 8th innings. Allen came on in the 9th to breeze through the Blue Jays line-up in just 11 pitches.

In total, the Indians combined for 12 strike outs, thanks in large part to Miller, who recorded all 5 of his outs with his own brand of nasty strikeouts. Though a Blue Jays fan could argue a couple of those were certainly handed to him (there was a particularly low strike zone tonight at the plate).

Final score: 2-0 Indians, Indians lead series 1-0.

There are some updates to the eSurance MLB awards, including some crucial moments by Yankee favorites. Gary Sanchez is still up for Best Rookie, but several other Yankee memories have been added.

Mark Teixeira’s “last hurrah” is now nominated for Best Offensive Play, where he helped the Yankees win a big game against Boston with a big walk-off grand slam. And Mark Teixeira’s “special sendoff” is nominated as Best Moment for the pre-game ceremony on the final game of the season to wish him well in his retirement.

And in Best Trending Topic, the Yankees’ “summer shakeup” is nominated in how they used the farm system to help with a roster overhaul which kept them in the postseason conversation.

Other categories you can vote on include: Best Major Leaguer, Best Hitter, Best Pitcher, Best Defensive Player, Best Social Media Personality, Best Defensive Play, Best Social Media Post, Best Performance, Best Fan Catch, Best Call Radio/TV, Best Player-Fan Interaction, Best Manager, and Best Executive. Postseason categories will be up after the World Series. So vote today and come back and vote often.

Go Yankees!

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