Guardians’ bullpen steals ALDS Game 2 from Yankees

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On Friday, when the AL Division Series game between the Guardians and the Yankees was tied, they again thought they had the bullpen advantage. Cleveland’s bullpen went 17 2/3 innings without giving up a run to start the playoffs, and the Guardians beat the Yankees 4–2 in 10 innings in The Bronx to tie the ALDS at one game each.

The longer the match went on, the stronger the Guardians’ sense of self-assurance became. Earlier they beat the Rays by not letting them score for 15 innings in another Game 2, which ended the Wild Card round in their favor.

Stephan, James Karinchak, and All-Star Emmanuel Clase kept the Yankees from getting a hit for 4 1/3 innings. Eight of the 13 outs that the relievers for Cleveland got were by striking out.

Shane Bieber kept the Yankees to two runs in 5 2/3 innings, and then the Cleveland bullpen beat the one on the home team. Jameson Taillon, a Yankees starter who came out of the bullpen to pitch and was blamed for two runs, blew it, while Cleveland’s relief was perfect.

First up was Stephan, a former farmhand for the Yankees who had been selected by a different team in the Rule 5 draft before the 2021 season. The 26-year-old pitcher entered a difficult situation in the sixth inning, but he was able to get out of it by enticing Matt Carpenter to go after a splitter that gave him further success.

Cleveland reliever Trevor Stephan aptly put it:

“The longer the games go, just based on how we play offensively and pitching-wise, it favors us in the long haul in these tight ballgames.”

In the seventh, Stephan struck out the whole team, including Aaron Judge, which made the crowd boo the 62-homer star.

In the eighth inning, Stephan handed the ball off to Karinchak, who not only retired Gleyber Torres and Oswaldo Cabrera but also walked the bases loaded before being relieved by Clase.

The fourth-year reliever from Newburgh said, “I made some pitches when it mattered, and Clase came in to clean it up like he always does. He’s a great relief pitcher.”

The Guardians’ closer came in with the bases full and got Kyle Higashioka to hit a line out to Jose Ramirez at third base. Clase had never gotten more than three outs in a game during the regular season, but from the eighth to the tenth, he got seven outs to finish the game.

There was a battle in the 10th inning with Judge, who grounded out, and the game ended with a ground out by runner Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

What is the best thing about Cleveland’s bullpen that the Yankees miss?

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