The Cleveland Guardians were unable to close out the New York Yankees last night in Game 4 of the ALDS.
As a result, the series returns to Yankee Stadium for Game 5 tonight.
The winner of Game 5 will go on to play the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series starting on Wednesday night.
The game is widely anticipated to be a bullpen game for both sides.
One MLB insider predicts that Civale will be the X-factor in tonight’s game, saying that if he pitches four clean innings, then the Guardians have an advantage, but if he’s off, that advantage will go to the Yankees.
The single most important piece to tomorrow night’s puzzle is Aaron Civale, because IF he gives Cleveland 4 clean innings, the setup is there for the Guards to win. If Civale is off, advantage New York. The deeper the game gets, the closer it is, advantage CLE.
— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) October 17, 2022
Civale Key For Guardians In Game 5
A lot is on the line tonight.
These two teams will be pulling out all the stops in order to keep their seasons alive.
Civale has historically not fared well against the Yankees, so that could be a sign of trouble for the Guardians.
But if he can give the Guardians at least three or four innings and keep the game close, then they’ll have a chance, as was alluded to.
What the Guardians could do in that case is potentially bring in Shane Bieber out of the bullpen to bridge the gap between Civale and the back end of the bullpen.
While in a perfect world, the Guardians would want to save Bieber for Game 1 on Wednesday against the Astros, it’s an all hands on deck situation.
If Civale struggles, however, then it may be too late to try and use Bieber or any of their back-end relievers.
We’ll see how manager Terry Francona decides to play his hand.