Can Yankees beat Guardians in ALDS Game 5?

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The Yankees win the ALDS Game 1 comfortably. However, they lost two games in a row, including one at Yankee Stadium. In Game 3, their loss was stunning and it pushed them to the brink of elimination. But they won Game 4 riding on Gerrit Cole and Harrison Bader and force a decisive Game 5.

As both teams are preparing to wind up the ALDS with a win in Game 5, fans are curious if the Yankees have enough firepower to quell a determined Cleveland challenge.

The Yankees have a long history of winning with comebacks though they also lost stunningly. In Game 4, starting pitcher Gerrit Cole was great and Harrison Bader hit a home run. It was pretty much the same as when the Yankees won Game 1 by a score of 4-1, except this time the score was 4-2 and the win tied the series and saved the Yankees’ postseason.

The Yankees badly needed a strong start from their $324 million ace after losing Games 2 and 3 by huge margins. However, that was only the first thing they needed. Cole came through, making him just the 11th Yankees pitcher to go at least seven innings and give up two runs or less in a playoff elimination game.

The Yankees needed a big hit, and Bader gave them one with a two-run home run in the second inning.

But the Yankees’ bullpen needed to keep it together after Clarke Schmidt, who Luis Severino and many others pointed out is not Clay Holmes, failed to protect a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth in Game 3.

Yet, despite what seemed to be all the odds, the Yankees got what they wanted on this front as well. Holmes was able to pitch around a walk with one out in the eighth, and Wandy Peralta only needed seven pitches to get out of the ninth with no outs.

But even though what the Yankees did in Cleveland on Sunday wasn’t easy, winning Game 5 on Monday will be the hardest part of getting to the American League Championship Series.

Gerrit Cole is available, but bullpen worries persist

Even though they lost their home game at Progressive Field on Sunday, the Guardians have at least one reason to be optimistic about getting back on track at Yankee Stadium on Monday.

While Gerrit Cole has 13.1 IP and 3 ER in the ALDS, other pitchers in the Yankees lineup have 23.1 IP and 10 ER. This big gap between them gives Cleveland fans a smell of victory. Cole, who threw 110 pitches on Sunday, is ready to pitch for the Yankees on Tuesday but Boone may not have him. Cautious Yankees have already replaced the previously announced Jameson Taillon with his All-Star teammate Nestor Cortes as the starting pitcher.

But once the Yankees look at their bullpen in Game 5, things may turn more uncertain.

Right now, Holmes, Peralta, and Jonathan Loaisiga are the only three relievers on whom Boone can depend. Holmes hasn’t thrown on consecutive days since September 13-14.

The All-Star sinkerballer had previously been diagnosed with a shoulder issue in late September.

The Guardians will go with right-handed pitcher Aaron Civale as their Game 5 starter. He only had a 4.92 ERA for the whole season, but after coming back from a forearm injury, he had a 3.27 ERA in his last four starts in September and October.

Shane Bieber is willing to pitch in Game 5, based on what he said on Friday. All three of the Guardians’ relievers last pitched in Game 2, so Emmanuel Clase, Trevor Stephan, and James Karinchak are very well-rested. Together, all these three pitchers have done this postseason is thrown 14 strikeouts and give up only one hit over 10.2 innings. Their ERA is 0.00 and they have given up no hits.

Big bats must fire for the Yankees

Bader looks like he could be the next Joe DiMaggio. He has hit three home runs and driven in four runs for the Yankees so far in this series, giving them an unexpected offensive boost.

But even though the Yankees would probably like more of the same from Bader, they must know that he can’t do everything.

The Yankees, especially Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gleyber Torres, need more from their big hitters. They are only 6 for 44 in the series as a whole.

Judge showed some sparkle in Game 3. Going 0-for-8 and striking out seven times, batting 2-for-8, hitting a home run, and striking out only twice, he has much to offer. This is the guy who hit a record 62 home runs during the regular season in the American League.

The Guardians did a good job of pitching to him, but that doesn’t make it any easier to forget that Judge is still in the slump that made his chase of Roger Maris less of a sure thing and more of a race to the buzzer. In his last 18 games, Judge is just 12-for-57 with three home runs.

Even though the Yankees have scored more (15-13) than the Guardians, this isn’t a good sign for their offense. If Torres, Stanton, and, especially, Judge don’t do much in Game 5, the Yankees might need a miracle to win.

Possibilities are high

The Yankees seem likely to win Game 5 if they can score early and often, while the Guardians have a better chance of winning a closer game thanks to the trio of Clase, Stephan, and Karinchak. But a strong start by the Yankees could ensure a Game 5 win for them.

The first pitch is set for 4:07 p.m. at Yankee Stadium. ET and TBS will broadcast it. The winner of Game 5 will move on to the American League Championship Series to meet the Houston Astros on Wednesday.

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