Yankees Promote LeBron James' Fandom Before ALDS Showdown with Indians

Yankees Promote LeBron James' Fandom Before ALDS Showdown with Indians

Yankees Promote LeBron James' Fandom Before ALDS Showdown with Indians

The team that will take NY out of this postseason?

Joe Girardi must also be confident in his offense, as they certainly have the ability to hit the ball out of the ball park.

It was an all-around brilliant effort, but also one the Yankees are built to execute in such dire circumstances. Girardi waits too long to pull his starter.

The Indians dispatched the Chicago White Sox, 3-1 at Progressive Field and now await the victor of Tuesday's Wild Card playoff when the American League Division Series opens on Thursday. The Cleveland bullpen shuts it down from there. Cleveland also beat NY in a 1997 Division Series.

Here's what LeBron had to say about his baseball allegiances last October during the Indians' run to the World Series. Bauer was a surprise choice to pitch by manager Terry Francona, who elected to use the right-hander ahead of ace Corey Kluber. That's the most innings pitched in a season with a 0.00 earned run average since Karl Spooner for Brooklyn in 1954.

The most obvious similarity: the shutdown bullpens. The Astros and Red Sox start things off in Houston at 4 ET, followed by the Indians and Yankees at 7:30 in Cleveland.

The first is that BB/9 number. Jaime Garcia was poor for three different teams this year. Chad Green came in and put out Severino's fire; he eventually gave way to David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, and Aroldis Chapman.

This is a tough one to call, but it is hard to go against the red-hot Indians. While they may trail the Yankees in areas such as opponents' average and K/9, they're not issuing free passes. NY relievers got 26 of the team's 27 outs and, as a result, they now find themselves matched up against the defending American League pennant winners in the ALDS.

In other words, the Yankees will do whatever it takes. That's when James revealed his allegiance with the Yankees, despite his Indians support.

The Cleveland Indians are done marveling at their record-setting season, focused instead on avenging their dramatic extra innings Game Seven loss in last year's World Series and snapping Major League Baseball's longest title drought. Each of these clubs boast dominant relievers, with Andrew Miller and Cody Allen anchoring the Tribe's corps, backed by Danny Salazar and Mike Clevinger.

Before the last rites could be read, the Yankees' never-say-die character emerged. Runners will test his right arm (he started the year on the DL with a shoulder issue), but Kipnis tracks the ball well and is athletic enough to make plays in the gaps. Any day he's on the mound typically means three to four innings of work for the bullpen. He didn't pitch in the wild-card win, but the Yankees probably will need Betances to deliver at some point against Cleveland. It doesn't matter who thinks somebody should win unless it's the umpires.

The quick hook by Girardi worked, as he got 8 ²/₃ innings of brilliant relief work. NY won the 1998 AL Championship Series. Basically, beat up on the Yankees rotation and hope the bullpen is too exhausted to provide cover.

Francona might have a shot to expose the Yankees bullpen if they grow worn out as the series wears on.

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