CLEVELAND, Ohio — Acting manager Sandy Alomar said it’s better than one and and done, but it still holds the potential for a quick out compared to all the work that went into getting there
He was talking about MLB opening the expanded postseason Tuesday night with a best-of-three wild-card round in the American League. There are eight involved, including the Indians who start their postseason run against the Yankees on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
The eighth NL team start play Wednesday.
“Every game you have to treat it is a must-win,” said Alomar. “If you go down 1-0, that means you’re going to have one opportunity to stay alive, so at least this situation is better than the old wild card. This is an opportunity to showcase or come back in a series when it’s 1-0. I enjoy this better.”
Yankee manager Aaron Boone was asked if the best-of-three arrangement made winning Game 1 a “do or die’ situation.
““Almost. . .you’ve got to win two.” he said. “It’s 2020 we are grateful as athletes and coaches and employees to be working at this time of year. To be able to get through this season and get into a postseason situation. There are a lot of people we’re grateful to — the security guards, the bus drivers, the trainers. Yes, it’s a little unconventional, but we’re grateful to be here and have this opportunity. Best two out of three, so be it.”
* The Indians and Yankees meet for the first time this season Tuesday because of the shortened 60-game season. Alomar said it reminded him of the days when there was no interleague play and the AL and NL champions met for the first time in the World Series.
“It’s like the old days,” said Alomar. “It’s exactly what it is. It’s very strange, they are in the same league but we haven’t seen them all year. They haven’t seen us either. Yeah, it’s a strange year overall.”
Alomar sees it as an opportunity for the Indians.
“Under the circumstance, it’s going to be exciting,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting to get to face a great team, the New York Yankees. Our guys are excited to have the chance to be in the postseason. They fought so hard through the whole year, and then in the last week of the season they showed how they can play baseball, much better baseball.”
* Boone said he’s praying for Indians manager Terry Francona to recover from his August surgery. He also complimented Alomar on the job he’s done filling in for Francona.
“Sandy is someone I have a ton of respect for,” said Boone, who played for the Indians in 2005 and 2006. “When I think of Sandy, I think of the 1990s and him catching in All-Star Games and being part of those great Cleveland teams. . .I know he’s done a great job for them taking over Tito, especially down the stretch.”
* Tyler Naquin, who fouled a ball off his knee Saturday night and did not play in Sunday’s regular season finale, is doing better.
“He says he’s fine,” said Alomar.
* Francisco Lindor went on the defensive when asked what obstacles/problems Yankee starter Gerrit Cole presented to him as a hitter. Cole will start Tuesday night for the Yankees, while Shane Bieber starters for the Indians.
“Obstacles?” said Lindor. “I don’t know what you mean by obstacles. I can’t really. . .
“Problems? I’m blanking, man. I don’t know what answer you’re expecting. You want me to say a lot of problems? No problems? I don’t know what you’re trying to start.
“Cole is a really good pitcher. He’s gonna make quality pitches and we’re gonna make quality swings and hopefully we come out on top
When asked what he learned from facing Cole in the past, Lindor said, “I could tell you a lot of things, but I ain’t trying to help him. You’ll see.”
* Asked how much he’d pay for a ticket to watch Bieber and Cole pitch against each other as they will do Tuesday night in empty Progressive Field, catcher Roberto Perez said, “If I was a fan, I’d pay anything. It’s going to be a fun series.”
* The Indians and Yankees must submit their 28-man rosters to the Commissioner’s office by 10 a.m. Tuesday. Each team is expected to carry 12 to 13 pitchers. . .Lindor and Jose Ramirez have the most postseason experience on the Indians. They have each played 23 games. Carlos Santana and Perez are next with 21 and 19 games, respectively. . .DJ LeMahieu hit .364 to become the fourth Yankee to lead the big leagues in batting average. He joins Mickey Mandle in 1956, Joe DiMaggio in 1939 and Lou Gehrig in 1934. . .Boone said Monday that Kyle Higashioka will catch Cole on Tuesday night. He said they’ve been working well together.
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