Game 5 rests with pitchers. Indians lineup to blame.
Prior to the Indians series with the Yankees, if someone told you Yan Gomes would be Cleveland’s most important hitter in the ALDS after four games, you’d think the Indians had some pretty big problems and the possibility of advancing would be problematic. And you’d be right. Gomes’s 13th-inning single into the left-field corner has single-handedly kept the Indians in this series and, should the Indians advance to the ALCS (aside from any Game 5 theatrics) the Gomes hit will be the key play keeping the Indians in this series.
But consider for a moment how the Indians, namely some key bats at the top of the order, put Cleveland in this position after four games. The biggest disappointment easily has to be Jose Ramirez. At times Ramirez carried the Indians lineup this season, but his approach thus far in the series has made him a massive liability in the No. 3 spot. Combined with Lindor and Kipnis, the Indians top three hitters have combined for a .304 win probability lost. In a series tied 2-2, that’s huge. It hasn’t helped the Indians execute their strategy of jumping ahead early, riding a solid starting pitching performance, and turning it over to the bullpen. If the Indians hope to win Game 5, the top three need to come up big.
Making matters worse, though, is Michael Brantley’s lackluster performance in the DH role after Edwin Encarnacion’s injury. And since we’re piling on, while light-hitting Eric Gonzalez and Gio Urshela aren’t expected to put up big numbers, Urshela’s two errors sealed the Indians fate well before the bats could wake up and score three consolation runs.
Aside from Gonzalez and Urshela, the remaining Indians sticks should be above 0.000. They have one game left.