The Indians’ season came to a heartbreaking end in game five of the American League Division Series against the Yankees. They lost 5-2, losing three games in a row after leading 2-0 in the series.
WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says the game felt off from the very beginning. The Yankees quickly took a three-run lead. Meanwhile, the Indians kept striking out.
“You could just tell their hitters were pressing,” Pluto said.
Talking to reporters after the game, Jason Kipnis suggested the Indians may have been trying to do too much.
“There were balls in the dirt, balls up too high. They were swinging at those and often taking strikes,” Pluto said. “No matter what the players say, they felt the pressure and, in a way, they succumbed to it.”
Playing with injuries
Fans were likely baffled that a team that rode a 22-game winning streak could suddenly lose three games in succession. According to Pluto, star pitcher Corey Kluber was playing with an injury.
“The Indians didn’t want to talk about it that much,” Pluto said. “In two of his starts he couldn’t get past the fourth inning.”
Kluber wasn’t the only player who didn’t play like his usual self. Edwin Encarnacion sustained an ankle injury in the second inning of game two on Friday.
“When he came back and played the last game, he didn’t look like himself,” Pluto said.
From underdog to favorite
But last year, Pluto said, the Indians were in even worse shape and still made it to the World Series. The difference this year was the amount of pressure that comes with being the favored team.
“Last year, they weren’t expected to do much of anything,” Pluto said. “When they didn’t wipe out the Yankees right away, it just threw all the pressure on their shoulders.”
In the offseason, Pluto doesn’t anticipate any major shakeups in the roster.
“Any time you’re in Cleveland and you miss an opportunity like this, you always worry if it’ll come again,” Pluto said.