The Indians head into Wednesday’s ALDS game five banged up and scuffling. After two wins at home to begin the series the Indians were outplayed by the Yankees including a game four in which they committed four errors leading to six unearned Yankees runs. Third baseman Giovanny Urshela who made two critical errors in game four is nursing a bruised left shin which occurred on his first error of the game. If he is unable to go in game five Indians manager Terry Francona could move Jose Ramirez back to third base, move centerfielder Jason Kipnis to second base and put Austin Jackson in centerfield. Francona also stated on Tuesday that there is a good chance that Edwin Encarnacion could return to the lineup in game five after missing the last two games with a sprained ankle. Michael Brantley would then move to the bench in a pinch hitting role. He has served as the designated hitter the past two games in place of Edwin Encarnacion but looks overwhelmed at the plate after missing the last two months of the regular season.
“We may be better with him (Brantley) on the bench.” Francona said. “I haven’t quite worked through that yet. A lot hinges on Edwin.”
Corey Kluber will get his second crack at the Yankees after they knocked him out of game two after only 2-2/3 innings. Kluber will be pitching on normal four days rest. The Yankees will counter with their game two starter C.C. Sabathia who held the Indians to two earned runs in 5-1/3 innings.
Jason Kipnis and Jay Bruce both spoke about looking forward to game five at home in Cleveland.
It’s hard to see Kluber having back to back bad starts as he has been so solid all season. It’s also hard to see the Indians losing three straight games as they have not done so since August 2nd. This is the postseason though and the regular season accomplishments are in the rear view mirror. The Indians will need to get their offense going and will need production from Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez who are both slumping in this series.
Game five will start at 8:08 PM on Wednesday from Progressive Field in Cleveland. The winner of game five will face the Houston Astros in the ALCS beginning on Friday night.