Pen is becoming important, but which team has the advantage?

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NEW YORK With some of the ugliest pitches in the game, Emmanuel Clase has emerged this season as possibly baseball’s best rookie closer. But even some of them had to stop and wonder as he pounded the Yankees’ hitters with triple-digit fastballs and breaking sliders in his third inning of work to complete a 4-2 victory in Game 2 of their American League Division Series.

First baseman Josh Naylor, whose RBI double capped the go-ahead, two-run 10th inning the Guardians had been waiting for while their bullpen shut down the formidable Yankees attack, said of Naylor, “It’s kind of hard to convey just how talented that guy is.” It’s crazy that he’s still pitching at 100 mph after two innings.

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The Guardians’ bullpen outlasted its opponent to win a low-scoring game for the second time in seven days. But this one went according to a different plan. The Guardians relied on their outstanding late-inning trio this time after deploying seven relievers for nine scoreless innings to defeat the Rays 1-0 on Saturday and advance out of the Wild Card round. In relief of Shane Bieber, Trevor Stephan, James Karinchak, and Clase combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings of one-hit ball with eight strikeouts. The final 2 1/3 innings of Clase’s longest major league appearance were covered by him.

The Guardians don’t have a rest day coming up, unlike that decisive game versus the Rays. They will play the following two nights in Cleveland as a result of Thursday’s postponement, with Game 5 potentially waiting on Monday at Yankee Stadium, if necessary. Of course, the Yankees did the same, using six relievers, including closer Clay Holmes and Jameson Taillon, who made his first relief appearance in the Majors after 143 starts.

Before Game 2, Taillon, who warmed up in the bullpen for Game 1 on Tuesday, remarked, “It’s definitely a bit different.”

There will be decisions to be made by both teams regarding how to manage their bullpen moving forward. Their utilization of the relief corps The significance of winning Game 2 was demonstrated on Friday, particularly for Cleveland, which will head home with a 1-1 tie rather than having to play a must-win Game 3.

Without counting 2020 series played at neutral sites, teams who split the first two games on the road advanced 26 out of 39 times in Division Series under the 2-2-1 format.

Even if they might need to use some inventive bullpen utilization to get there, history favors the Guardians.
The events of Friday were not planned, according to Terry Francona, manager of Cleveland.

After Karinchak walked with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, Clase entered with two outs. Clase had to stay in for the ninth inning since Aaron Judge was scheduled to come up after Kyle Higashioka was retired to end the game. When Cleveland seized the lead in the 10th inning, he had thrown 17 pitches over 1 1/3 innings.

Francona explained, “If he’s not in a hazardous place and if he still seems effective, we’re able to send him back out. “We wouldn’t have put him back out if we hadn’t scored, but we did so because of the goal. Make the best selections you are able to.

The 36 pitches Clase threw on Sept. 10, 2019, as a rookie for the Rangers, was the second-highest pitch total in any outing in his major league career. However, he returned from a 22-pitch save on September 23 and tossed 14 pitches in a save the following day last month.

Through a translator, Clase stated, “I adore the extra significance of the games and the intensity.” We simply keep doing what we are doing.

Stephan should still be available for the Guardians after he fanning all four batters he faced in 21 pitches. In the regular season, he made three saves. In addition to lefty Sam Hentges and righties Eli Morgan and Enyel De Los Santos, opener Triston McKenzie should have support from these pitchers.

We’ve been playing similar games all year, Stephan said. When we faced the Rays last week, we were accustomed to it. We’ll likely continue to play in this manner moving forward. We feel confident and strive to take advantage when games go that way, in my opinion.

Jonathan Loáisiga, who retired all five batters he faced in just 15 pitches, was the only pitcher for the Yankees to go more than an inning on Friday. Over 18 pitches were not made by any reliever. The only significant effect might be Taillon’s ability to start the series.

Aaron Boone, the manager of the Yankees, remarked, “We never thought this was going to be simple.

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