Indians bullpen stops bleeding in win over Jays
When blood began dripping from Cleveland Indians starter Trevor Bauer's pinkie, manager Terry Francona went to his first-aid cabinet using six relievers to patch together a 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays to sit one win away from a trip to the World Series.
After two tight losses in Cleveland, Blue Jays fans could be forgiven for believing fate was on their side when Bauer failed to make it out of the first inning with blood streaming from his little finger down his pant leg forming a puddle on the mound.
A self-described "big nerd" with a fascination for drones, Bauer, who studied mechanical engineering at UCLA, forced Francona into making several band-aid moves when he got whacked on his pitching hand playing with one of his fleet of drones on Friday and required 10 stitches to close the gash.
Francona had hoped to get at least a couple of innings out of his starter but instead had to settle for a couple of outs.
"When I went out there the first thing I saw was blood on the rubber," said Francona. "I figured that wasn't a real good sign that things were going well.
"That wasn't the way we drew it up but about our bullpen, that's one of the most amazing jobs I've ever seen.
"I mean, starting with (Dan) Otero to (Jeff) Manship to (Zach) McAllister to (Bryan) Shaw, if anybody has a hiccup we probably lose."
The situation was dire enough for the Blue Jays coming into Game Three of the best-of-seven American League Championship series. Only three times in a League Championship Series (1985 Kansas City Royals, 1985 St. Louis Cardinals, 2004 Boston Red Sox) had teams fought back to erase such a deficit and move on to the World Series.
But climbing out of a 3-0 hole like the Blue Jays find themselves in requires a near miracle, the Red Sox the only team to have pulled off the great escape when the beat the New York Yankees in 2004 on way to winning their first World Series in 86 years.
"They shut us down. They did a great job going through a number of guys and did a good job shutting us down," conceded Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
"I had a good feeling at the end, it didn't happen, but we'll show up tomorrow. It's definitely a daunting task, but it's been done before."
But not very often.
Making a daunting task even more challenging if the Blue Jays are to extend the series they will need to do it against Indians ace Corey Kluber who will be on the rubber for Game Four on Tuesday.
After sweeping the Red Sox in the AL division series if the Indians can complete another sweep of the Jays it put Cleveland back in the World Series since 1997 and chance to win their first Fall Classic in 68 years.