CLEVELAND, Ohio – We didn’t hear the word “splitter” during Fox Sports’ Game 4 broadcast, but the emphasis remained on pitching – specifically Indians starter Trevor Bauer going on short rest in the American League Division Series between Cleveland and New York.
Fox Sports has the series. Matt Vasgersian (play by play), John Smoltz (analyst), Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci (field reporters).
Anchor Kevin Burkhardt with former players Frank Thomas, Keith Hernandez, David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez. Count on A-Rod flashing a World Series ring to his fellow commentator Ortiz again and again.
STORYLINE: SHORT-REST PITCHING
Bauer on short rest. But there wasn’t much time to discuss it, though, as the Indians starter lasted one and two-thirds innings. By the sixth inning, the Tribe had committed three errors and allowed six unearned runs.
“The idea of coming back on short rest becomes very popular in the postseason. It is so much harder to do than what you may think of at home. Since 2014 pitchers pitching on three days’ rest in the same post-season series have an ERA of almost 6.” – Vasgersian.
THE NUMBERS GAME
* In the third, Vasgersian reminded us it’s a “short list of teams that have come back to win a best-of-five postseason series.” Of teams in that position, he said, only nine of 75 have won the series. We’re going to be hearing that stat a few more times come Wednesday.
* Yankees starter Luis Severino led the league in average fastball velocity at 97.6 mph, a graphic showed.
* The last time the Indians lost two in a row was in August, we heard. (It turned out to be the last losses before the 22-game winning streak started. And if you’re wondering when the Indians last lost three consecutive games, it was July 30-Aug. 1.)
* How’s this for an arcane graphic in the bottom of the fifth: No team has lost two games with a five-run lead in the same series out of 299 post-season series.
* “Over the last five years the home team has won only 53 percent of postseason games.” – Vasgersian. In this series, though, it’s 100 percent.
THIS AND THAT
* Did you notice talk-show host Jimmy Fallon was in the front row behind home plate? Surprising Fox didn’t go celebrity spotting, or maybe it was because Fallon is on NBC. Either way, Fox stuck to the game, thankfully.
* It wasn’t until the ninth inning when Rosenthal finally mentioned CC Sabathia‘s connection to Cleveland; he spent the first eight of his 17 Major League seasons with the Tribe, and his Game 5 start might be his last as a Yankee.
* We hear Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series. Surprised Fox didn’t flash a shot like this one – teammates mobbing Frazier in 1998:
Todd Frazier gets mobbed by his teammates after hitting a two-run home run in the Little League World Series in 1998.
Smoltz noticed, as was caught on replay, that when Danny Salazar made an errant throw from the mound with no outs in the fifth, he used a change-up grip. The ball went wide, and Frazier wound up on second.
WHAT WAS NEEDED
* Fans had a series of chants in the top of the first, breaking out of the traditional ‘Let’s go Yankees’ rhythm from the stands. Would have liked to have known what they were saying. Field reporters can relay that to the booth but rarely do. Vasgersian did explain, in the second, the origin of fans pointing thumbs down. Apparently, a Mets fan flashed the thumb’s down at a game, and Frazier “ran with it.” The logo wound up on shirts, Vasgersian said.
* In the third, when third baseman Giovanny Urshela looked to second before overthrowing Carlos Santana at first, cameras on replay caught second baseman Jose Ramirez pointing frantically at first, urging the throw. No comment on the booth from this.
AS IF ON CUE
“This is the kind of situation that can wake up the giant.” – Vasgersian, referring to Judge facing Bauer in the second with two runners on. Yet no word on whether anyone was up in the Indians bullpen. When Judge stepped to the plate that inning he was 0-11 with four walks and nine strikeouts. He smacked one off the wall for his first hit of the series.
QUOTES OF THE NIGHT: VASGERSIAN
* “It took longer to do the handshake with Lindor than it did for the ball to get over the fence,” after the Indians shortstop and Santana engaged in an elaborate, orchestrated slap and shake. Santana had just hit a two-run home run in the fourth.
* “Like a reflective pond behind Aaron Judge in right,” when cameras caught the soggy conditions on the warning track in the top of the second.
(Speaking of the weather, 90 minutes before first pitch when it was not raining, Joe Noga of cleveland.com did a Facebook Live walking around the Yankee Stadium corridors. It did not appear any workers were drying out the field. But two hours before Game 2 on Friday in Cleveland, a pair of grounds-crew workers covered the field with gas-powered blowers.)
* “The chants have been unbelievable at Yankee Stadium tonight. It sounds like a Springsteen concert at MetLife when he’s about to do ‘Thunder Road’ as the encore’.”
The Nick Turturro and Yankee fans video clips in post-game chatter. Obnoxious, adds nothing.
With the win, the Yankees force a deciding Game 5 at 8:08 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, in Progressive Field. Corey Kluber will start for the Tribe against former Indians hurler Sabathia. The Houston Astros await the winner of the Yankees-Indians series. The Astros beat the Red Sox earlier Monday. Here’s what happened in that game.
Editor’s note: When the Indians are on the road during the postseason, we’ll analyze the national broadcast, from the observations, play-by-play and graphics, from what’s missed to what’s overdone. Weigh in with your comments if you love or hate the broadcast and why.
About Game 3’s broadcast