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Guardians Have Learned To Rebound In The Postseason

Bill Menzel/ Latino Sports

Bronx, NY – They were the Indians and now they are the Cleveland Guardians in the postseason. And when they were the Indians they had trouble handling the Yankees six previous postseason times in October.

The name changed for the Al Central Division champions but the result is the same, because at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night in Game 1 of the AL best-of-five Division Series, these Guardians stumbled to a 4-1 loss.

It was good pitching from the Yankees and their ace Gerrit Cole and their ability to hit the home run ball at home. Good pitching for the most part from Guardians starter Cal Quantrill, 5.0 innings, but two Yankees home runs from Harrison Bader and Anthony Rizzo.

Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

And five overall hits for the Guardians. Jose Ramirez, 2-for-3, double, and a walk. But Amed Rosario and Andrés Giménez, two who comprise the youngest lineup and in the postseason, went 1-for-4 combined.

Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

This is October baseball and tomorrow is another day, though the Guardians will have to wait until Thursday, weather permitting, with an unusual off day Wednesday before Game 2 in the Bronx.

Perhaps, then, the Guardians will find a way and split two games in New York, because the history in a best-of-five postseason series has seen the winner of Game 1 advancing to the ALCS. The results have shown that 71 % of the time.

But this is a Guardians team, despite their youth always believing in themselves. They had a successful late stretch and pulled away from the White Sox and Twins in the Al Central Division. They came off a two-game Al Wild Card series sweep in Cleveland over the Tampa Bay Rays.

And if the Guardians leave the Bronx down 0-2, they finished 47-35 playing in their home ballpark. But there is confidence they can even this series.

Perhaps, rookie Steven Kwan had the right words, “Today was obviously real tough. But I think we do a really good job of kind of having a short-term memory and going out the next day and doing what we can.”

Quantrill sustained his first loss since July 5. Manager Terry Francona, baseball’s longest tenured skipper, in his 11th postseason series, saw 17 rookies make their MLB debuts in 2022. He has always managed to make the adjustments after a Game 1 postseason series loss, though in the Bronx, against a potent Yankees lineup, that always poses more of a challenge.

“We’ll come back again, hopefully in a couple days and see if we can do better,” Francona said. “Our guys like to play baseball. They just got beat tonight. We got beat tonight.”

Giménez, who had a breakout season, went 1-for-4 with a double in the second inning. After that it was difficult picking up Cole’s fastball and curve. The rest of the Guardians lineup also struggled.

Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Except for a Kwan solo home run, off of Cole in the third inning, his first career postseason hit, at the time a go-ahead Guardians 1-0 lead, there were questions about this young lineup feeling nervous.

The Guardians make good contact at the plate, run, and take the extra base. But Cole and the Yankees bullpen managed to stop any rally and keep them from scoring.

Also, Cole is 3-0 in postseason starts against the Guardians. Though his tendency to throw the home run ball, 31 during the regular season, showed he could settle down and not allow another one to cause further damage.

The Guardians have scored all of their runs this postseason with the home run ball, so their goal of course is to find a way and generate runs a different way in Game 2.

“Getting the next guy up, walks, taking advantage of errors, running counts up, taking first to third,” Kwan said.

They don’t want to live and die by the home run ball. Again, this is baseball in October and a Guardians team that has managed to always bounce back like it was when they played the Yankees as the Indians.

Rich Mancuso is a senior writer Twitter@Ring786 Watch “Sports with Rich” live on Tuesday Nights at 10pm EST on The SLG Network/Youtube with Robert Rizzo Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify under The SLG Network.

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