The opening game of the ALCS was decided on quality pitching and even better bullpen cameos, but more than anything a Francisco Lindor home run. The Cleveland Indians, leading 1-0 heading into game 2, are hoping to find the same kind of small edge to put them two games over the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays had their chances in the previous game, getting 7 hits, but went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring positions. Marco Estrada was terrific once again, playing an 8-inning complete game, but that one home run he gave up turned out to be too much for his offense to protect him from.
Previous game: Indians won 2-0 on a two-run homer by Lindor in the 6th inning. Corey Kluber struck out 6 in 6.1 innings, and Andrew Miller came on to strike out 5 in 1.2 innings, while Cody Allen added one final inning for the save. Estrada gave up 6 hits in 8 innings while striking out 6, but without any run support, it didn’t mean much.
Starting pitchers: The Indians will start Josh Tomlin over Trevor Bauer due to Bauer suffering a minor finger injury while cleaning a drone. Tomlin appeared in the 4-3 win over the Red Sox in the ALDS, pitching for 5 innings, giving up four hits and two runs while striking out 4. The 31-year old pitched twice vs the Blue Jays this season. Once it was a stellar success, the second time far from it, not lasting more than 4.1 innings, giving up 9 hits and six runs. He’s given up home runs to four of the Blue Jays players.
The Blue Jays put J.A. Happ on the mound, who has a 1.80 ERA from his appearance against the Texas Rangers, giving up nine hits but just one run in five innings of work, striking out 5 in that game. He had a terrific performance against the Indians in the regular season, striking out 11 in 7 innings when the Blue Jays won 17-1. There isn’t a single player on the Indians potential lineup that has hit a home run against Happ.
Hot bats: Obviously Lindor, who also had a couple of hits in the game overall. But Lonnie Chisenhall, one of the team’s more consistent hitters in the postseason, finished with 3-for-3. If Coco Crisp, Tyler Naquin and Roberto Perez can do something with a player on base, his average will also help translate into runs.
For the Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion continue to be their best hitters, and not just for power, both getting two hits in game 1. Michael Saunders also had a couple of hits, while Jose Bautista had a rough game, striking out 3 times in 3 at-bats.