Aiming to shake off tough loss, Yanks open series with Indians

National Sports

A series of crushing losses forced the New York Yankees to talk about the need to be resilient earlier this season, and they backed it up.

After another one of those defeats, the Yankees are forced to try to rebound again, this time starting Friday night when they host the Cleveland Indians in the opener of a three-game series.

The Yankees (82-65) are one-half game behind the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays in the AL wild card race. New York is hoping the Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins can beat Boston and Toronto this weekend.

The Yankees are in this position because of their slump since winning 13 straight in August. They had a three-game lead in the wild card race.

Since then, they are 6-13, and the latest loss occurred when they were one strike away from leaving Baltimore with a three-game sweep.

On Thursday afternoon, the Yankees lost 3-2 in part because Clay Holmes threw a wild pitch with two strikes in the ninth and Wandy Peralta allowed a game-winning single to Austin Hays in the 10th.

“We’ve had a lot that have stung a lot at different times throughout the course of the year,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “This certainly falls into that category, but we have to get over it. We have too important of a game tomorrow.”

During their slide, the Yankees have nine losses by two or fewer runs, including three to the last-place Orioles. In their winning streak, they won eight games by two runs or fewer.

“It sucks,” Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery said. “We don’t really have time to dwell on it. We have to get back on the horse (Friday).”

New York is hoping to produce some better showings at the plate. On Thursday, Joey Gallo homered and Gio Urshela hit an RBI double, but those hits were in the second inning and the Yankees went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Cleveland (71-73) just won two of three games against the Minnesota Twins. The Indians scored 18 times after being outscored 24-4 last weekend against the visiting Milwaukee Brewers.

The Indians are seeking consecutive wins for the first time in over two weeks after getting a 12-3 win on Wednesday. Cleveland totaled 14 hits as Jose Ramirez, Franmil Reyes and Myles Straw produced three-hit games.

Reyes, Oscar Mercado and Bobby Bradley homered, and the Indians went 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

“All it takes is just a hit here and there for guys to kind of get going,” Mercado said. “That’s kind of what happened. It will be exciting to head to New York and keep it going.”

Cleveland will face a familiar foe Friday when Corey Kluber (4-3, 4.02 ERA) makes his fourth start since missing three months with a strained right shoulder. Kluber has yet to get a decision since his return. He owns an 8.49 ERA and allowed four runs on five hits in four innings in an 8-7 win over the New York Mets on Saturday.

Kluber went 98-58 with a 3.16 ERA in nine seasons with Cleveland and won the AL Cy Young Award in 2014 and 2017.

Zach Plesac (10-5, 4.45), who is 6-2 with a 4.60 ERA in 11 starts since the All-Star break, opens the series for Cleveland.

Plesac last pitched Saturday and allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in six innings when the Indians were no-hit. That start occurred after Cleveland scored at least seven runs in each of his previous six starts.

Plesac is 1-1 with a 4.63 ERA in two career starts against the Yankees. Both starts came in 2019, and he last faced them on Aug. 17 that year, when he allowed five runs — four earned — and six hits in 4 2/3 innings.

–Field Level Media

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