The Cleveland Guardians work out ahead of Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the New York Yankees, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Yankees and Guardians Faceoff in ALDS

The New York Yankees and Cleveland Guardians square off in the ALDS starting Tuesday night from the Bronx.

The Yankees were the AL East champions and earned the second seed in the American League as a result. Meanwhile, the Guardians won the AL Central, but played in the Wild Card as the three seed.

This will be the sixth time the two teams have met in the postseason. The Yankees lead the series history 3-2.

Yankees Sluggers

The New York Yankees started the 2022 season in rare form, going 34-15 over the first two months of the season. Things started to slow down midway through the year but picked up again on the backend as they went 17-7 in September to clinch the division. They ended the year seven games ahead of the second place Blue Jays and just one win shy of the 100-win mark.

There is no hiding the fact that Aaron Judge was the highlight of this team, hitting an AL-record 62 homeruns. He led the league in homeruns, runs batted in, and was just a few decimal points short of winning the Triple Crown. Not to mention, he led the Yankees in essentially every offensive stat.

Elsewhere offensively, it has been a little inconsistent for the Yankees, who did not have any other everyday starter bat over .300 on the season. With that being said, there was a lot of power behind the bats of Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton, who combine to create a lethal middle of the order. Gleyber Torres answered the call of the critics, smashing 24 homeruns to show a glimpse of what he produced in his first two seasons. Aaron Boone has also confirmed that Matt Carpenter will be returning to the roster for the ALDS, which will provide a big spark for this team that gained a lot of energy from his play this summer. Boone also emphasized the importance of getting everyone in the lineup involved.

Yankees on the Mound

It wasn’t just all Aaron Judge for the Yankees, however. They were tied for most All Stars selected to this year’s All-Star Game with six. Included in that group was the surprising Nestor Cortes, who emerged out of almost nowhere. He was receiving a lot of Cy Young hype early in the year, but despite slowing down slightly, he was still a crucial part of the Yankees rotation.

Gerrit Cole was also one of those All Stars, but he was not the same Cole we have seen dominating in past years. The 3.50 ERA he ended the year with was his highest since the 2017 season. Nonetheless, he was able to blow by batters all year long, not only leading the league with 257 strikeouts, but also setting the single-season Yankee record for strikeouts. New York will hope that Cole returns to dominating fashion as the postseason starts up.

Aaron Boone spoke highly of not just Cole, but the entire rotation. Here’s what he had to say on how the Yankees should match up against the Guardians on the mound.

Cleveland Guardians

The Cleveland Guardians come into the ALDS with two playoff games already under their belt this season. Taking on the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card, the Guardians looked sharp defensively, giving up just one run over 24 innings. That seems like a lot of innings for two games, right? That included the nail-bitter 15-inning game 2 that saw the Guardians clinch the series in the bottom of the 15th thanks to Oscar Gonzalez’s solo homerun.

A slow start to the year that saw Cleveland under .500 two months in was completely flipped around with a red-hot June. The team that was at one point 7.5 games back in the AL Central flipped the script and ended up winning the division by 11 games.

Jose Ramirez led the way for the Guardians offensively, batting .280 and knocking 29 balls over the fence to lead the team. Rookie Steven Kwan was also very impressive in his first MLB season, leading the team with a .298 average. Both Ramirez and Kwan will need to carry on offense that struggled in several ways during the regular season. The Guardians were second to last in the MLB in total homeruns, as well as a meager 15th in the league in runs scored.

Pride in Pitching

On the pitching side, Shane Bieber leads the Guardian rotation. He already has one quality start this postseason, which could fuel his confidence when he gets the start later this series. Cal Quantrill led the team in wins with 15, going 15-5 on the season with a 3.38 ERA. He will be on the mound to open the series Tuesday.

The bullpen is also a mightily important aspect of this series. The Guardians feature potentially the closer of the year in Emmanuel Clase. Clase ended the year with a league leading 42 saves, to go along with a 1.36 ERA. This group has come into full stride throughout the second half of the season. James Karinchak and Sam Hentges also provide huge support out of the bullpen, each with ERAs below 2.50.

What to Expect

The Yankees led the season series 5-1. The Guardians will have a lot of energy so it’s likely this series will be closer. New York has the advantage of throwing their ace Cole in the first game while Cleveland sends Quantrill to the mound since Bieber pitched in the Wild Card.

It will likely come down to which team can shut down the other side at the plate. We know the power that sits in certain spots in both lineups, namely Judge and Ramirez, so it will be up to the pitching to shut them down.

With the power of Cleveland’s bullpen, the Yankees need to jump out front early to avoid trying to score necessary runs off of the strong relief group.

And of course, will the Guardians be able to shut down Judge. No team has down it successfully this year, let alone across a five-game series. However, if Cleveland can keep him quiet at the plate and force Rizzo, Stanton, and Torres to carry the offense, this could be quite the series.

The Yankees and Guardians faceoff in Game 1 of the ALDS from the Bronx on Tuesday at 7:37 PM E.T. on TBS.

About Matt Quartararo

Matt is a fourth-year journalism major specializing in sports media and is also completing a sports management certificate. Starting in the Fall 2023 semester, Matt has served as a sports coordinator with WRUF. He also participates in sports broadcasting, providing play-by-play for a variety of Gators sports.

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