The Division Series portion of the postseason comes to a close this evening. If you refer to our “Rooting guide to the American League playoffs” you will see that the two teams playing tonight possess relatively little Orioles-adjacent interest. The Yankees do have a couple guys that used to don the orange and black, but...they’re the Yankees?
I will personally be pulling for the Guardians. The cringy-ness of their team Twitter account is tough to get over. But once again, I have to point out that they are playing...the Yankees? This is not difficult.
Also, the Orioles went 3-3 against the Guardians this year. The transitive property tells us that if they are good enough to get to the ALCS this year, then so are the 2022 Orioles, because the two teams are essentially equal. Obviously.
7:07 - Guardians at Yankees, Game 5, TBS (Series tied 2-2)
Starting pitchers: Aaron Civale (CLE) vs. Jameson Taillon (NYY)
This will be the first time Civale has pitched since October 5, the final day of the regular season. That kept him off of the Guardians roster entirely for the Wild Card round, and he has yet to make an appearance in this ALDS.
As is often the case in these deciding games, Civale’s leash is expected to be short. The righty faced the Yankees twice this year. Across those starts he allowed 10 runs over nine total innings. But he was quite effective down the stretch for the Guardians, lowering his season ERA from 7.04 after a start against the Yankees on July 2 down to 4.92 at the conclusion of the year. Even still, he is likely viewed as a glorified opener to get through the Yankees order once before turning things over to a stout Cleveland ‘pen, with an appearance from ace Shane Bieber a distinct possibility.
Taillon came in out of the bullpen in Game 2 of this series, but struggled. He threw just 18 pitches, and that’s all it took for him to serve up two runs on three hits. His night is likely to be rather brief as well. New York relievers only had to cover two innings on Sunday, and the only member of the ‘pen that has pitched in each of the last two games is Wandy Peralta. Aaron Boone has his full arsenal available.