Tabbed for Game 2 start

Cleveland Indians Michael Brantley walks into the batting cage during a team workout Wednesday Oct. 4 2017 in Cleveland. The Indians are scheduled to play the New York Yankees in Game 1 of an ALDS on Thursday

Tabbed for Game 2 start

Sonny Gray will start Game 1 of the American League Division Series for the Yankees Thursday at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Yankee fans are exuding the same confidence the team is before Tuesday night's wild-card game against the Minnesota Twins.

Matchups: Rivals in the 1940s and '50s, the Yankees and Indians meet for the fourth time in the postseason and first since 2007 when Cleveland won a best-of-five Division Series in four games. Who doesn't like a 1-0 lead?

Andrew Miller set the standard for the new wave of bringing in one of your ace relievers in the middle innings during last year's postseason. To make that happen he would have to start Game 2, not Game 1.

But the Indians aren't going to do it that way. Plus, if you wanted to give Bauer a home start, you could still go Kluber in Game 1 and Bauer in Game 2.

Bauer had a breakout season this year, going 17-9 with a 4.19 ERA.

However, the Yankees are undaunted, especially after beating the Twins. Not a good sign that regular-season games this year took more than 3 hours, 5 minutes on average, the longest ever. In eight career starts against the Yankees, Bauer is 3-4 with a 4.20 ERA. You've seen the stats! Outside of that, we expect that Washington, Houston and Los Angeles will proceed to the league championship series without game 5s being necessary. My sneaky suspicion could be proved moot by midnight: The gift and the curse of the wild card games, which debuted in 2012, is that teams are one bad pitch away from elimination. The Indians feel they have unfinished business after losing the seventh game to the Cubs past year, and they appear to be as prepared as they have ever been to win the franchise's first World Series since 1948.

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"Right now we're playing as good as we've played, at least since I've been here", said Gray, who will be followed by CC Sabathia in Game 2 and Masahiro Tanaka in Game 3. Adding on, do you think any team can win a World Series with Fernando Rodney on the back end?

Manager Terry Francona went to Kluber a couple of weeks ago and asked him what he preferred to do. Chase Headley accepted a move to first base when third baseman Todd Frazier came over in that deal with the White Sox, and then to being a role player when first baseman Greg Bird came off the disabled list. The ALCS starts on October 13. That's 1948, if you're scoring at home.

However, Kluber will not start Game 1 for the Indians. "This is what you work all year for - to play these games". Bauer had a 3.93 ERA at home and 4.54 ERA on the road and saw an even bigger difference in his strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.64 at home, 2.29 on the road).

Francona told reporters Tuesday that the Josh Tomlin would be the fourth starter, but that assignment is in flux.

The eye test says the Indians are the best team in baseball and after coming so close last season, could close the gap this season.

"I feel great, but that's not my choice", Brantley said. "They've got some scrappy guys that put the ball in play and run", Bauer said. Rookie Greg Allen made the roster to replace Kipnis in such situations.

Francona disproved that premise in last year's postseason. But is it as desperate? "They can do a lot of different things offensively". Why they won't win: Scherzer's health issues have to be a massive concern and Harper's condition is in question.

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