Yankees bring season to stunning halt
CLEVELAND — The end came quickly, painfully and with little warning.
When the final out was made, and Cleveland’s season crashed way before it ever imagined with a 5-2 loss to the New York Yankees, Cleveland players retreated to their clubhouse to try to figure out what went wrong. The list was long. Ace right-hander Corey Kluber pitched poorly. All-Stars Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez didn’t hit, and the Indians committed seven errors in the final two games when they didn’t look anything like a team that won 102 games or was favoured to take home the championship coming into October.
“It actually stinks,” closer Cody Allen said in a subdued clubhouse. “They just flat-out played better than us the last three days.”
Unable to finish off a young Yankees team fighting for its manager, Cleveland became the first team in history to blow a two-game series lead in consecutive postseasons. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. After getting to Game 7 of the World Series a year ago, the Indians set out to win it all in 2017. This was supposed to be their year.
Instead, it’s just another heartbreaker for a Cleveland team that appeared unstoppable and had Kluber on the mound at home for the biggest game this season.
“It’s disappointing,” manager Terry Francona said. “We felt good about ourselves. We came down the stretch playing very good baseball, and we did some things in this series that I don’t think were characteristic of our team. We made some errors, kicked the ball around a little bit.
“Sometimes you don’t swing the bat. That’s part of it. But we made it harder to win in some cases, especially the last two games.”
But the presumptive Cy Young Award winner wasn’t himself in two starts, posting a 12.79 ERA and looking ordinary. Following Game 5, Francona hinted that Kluber may have been bothered by a back injury – and other health issues – that put him on the disabled list earlier this season.
When the team left for New York on Friday with a 2-0 lead, Cleveland seemed to be in the driver’s seat. But a club that won 22 straight games – the longest streak in AL history – couldn’t prevent its first three-game losing streak since July 30 to Aug. 1.
Cleveland players watch dejectedly during the ninth inning of Wednesday’s American League Division Series game against the New York Yankees. The Yankees won 5-2 and advanced to the ALCS.