It is a season series that has been dominated by the Yankees, who are 5-1 in the series and have outscored Cleveland 36-26.
If you count the last three games of the American League Division Series last year, the Yankees have won eight of the last nine games against Cleveland.
“They keep coming at you. They give you no chance to catch your breath,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
The Yankees have won two of the first three games and Cleveland held on for its lone win on Friday. The Yankees held on for a 5-4 victory Saturday decided when Austin Romine scored on two errors on a routine double in the seventh inning.
On Sunday, right-hander Trevor Bauer, who was selected to the American League All-Star team for the first time in his career, will try to help the Indians salvage the final game of the series.
A 17-game winner last year, Bauer (8-6, 2.23) has been even better this season as he has blossomed into one of the top starters in the American League.
His 2.23 ERA is tied with Boston ace Chris Sale for second in the AL. He’s third in strikeouts (168), third in innings pitched (129 1/3), tied for fourth in strikeouts per nine innings (11.7), and sixth in opponents’ batting average (.206).
“It’s amazing how he holds his stuff,” Francona said. “You look at his pitch count, 110, or whatever. He can be his own reliever. He’s turned into one of the better pitchers in the league, and that’s exciting.”
The indestructible Bauer — in seven years in the majors he has appeared in 151 games, pitched 858 innings and thrown 14,449 pitches and never spent a day on the disabled list — has thrown 100 or more pitches in each of his 19 starts this season. His high is 127.
Bauer’s last start, a no decision in a 7-4 loss to the Cincinnati on Tuesday, was his best of the season: eight scoreless innings on three hits, with 12 strikeouts and four walks.
Sunday will be his second start against the Yankees this year. His first was a 5-2 loss on May 5 in which he pitched six innings, allowing just two hits, but four runs, with eight strikeouts and three walks.
Bauer’s last loss came on June 13. In five starts since then he is 3-1 with a 1.01 ERA, while holding opposing hitters to a .192 batting average and averaging 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
In two starts against New York last year he was 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA. In nine career starts against the Yankees he is 3-5 with a 4.06 ERA.
Bauer’s mound opponent Sunday will be Masahiro Tanaka (7-2, 4.68), who hasn’t lost a game in three months. Tanaka’s last loss came on April 17.
In 10 starts since then he is 5-0 with a 4.12 ERA and a .214 opponents’ batting average.
Tanaka’s last start was a no-decision on June 10 against Baltimore, when he pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks. It was Tanaka’s first start since June 8. He was on the 10-day disabled list for a month with mild strains of his left and right hamstrings after getting hurt while running the bases against the New York Mets.
Tanaka’s last appearance against the Indians was a beauty, a 1-0 victory in Game 3 of last year’s ALDS in which he pitched seven scoreless innings on three hits, with seven strikeouts and one walk.
In four career starts against Cleveland in the regular season Tanaka is 1-2 with a 4.63 ERA.
One Cleveland hitter Tanaka hasn’t faced is catcher Francisco Mejia, who was recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Saturday and will be the DH Sunday.