Thanks to going 6 2/3 innings, eight strikeouts and holding the potent New York Yankees to two hits in a 4-0 shutout win in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer penned a new chapter in what is a growing postseason rivalry.
When one thinks of baseball rivalries, Yankees-Red Sox, Dodgers-Giants and Cubs-Cardinals immediately come to mind.
When it comes to post-season rivalries, you have the classic and storied matchups of yesteryear featuring the forementioned Yankees against the old Brooklyn Dodgers and crosstown Giants—both of whom would later relocated to Los Angeles and San Francisco respectively.
Also notable post-season clashes involve the Giants and St. Louis Cardinals, Dodgers-Reds and Oakland vs both the Angels and Dodgers.
Perhaps it is time to add the Yankees vs. Indians to that storied list.
One wouldn’t think that both New York and Cleveland would have any sort of post-season animosity, thanks to the Yankees perennial dominance and the Indians modern-day resurgence from the 1990’s to the present, but make no mistake, there has been quite a few historical matchups between the two original Junior League members.
You have Sandy Alomar’s home run off of Mariano Rivera in the 1997 ALDS, Chuck Knoblauch’s errand throw in the 1998 ALCS to the infamous “Bug Game” in 2007 in the ALDS, and one wouldn’t think that the Indians hold a 2-1 advantage over the 27-time World Series champion Bronx Bombers.
There is a history. One that isn’t always celebrated or mentioned like the other great post-season matchups, but there was a time during the 1990’s that it was either Cleveland or New York that dominated the American League.
Much like those great times of that era, this current generation of New York-Cleveland is set up to become a true rivalry between both franchises as both have young talented players in Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana and the Yankees new “Baby Bombers” of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius and one-time Indians top prospect in Yanks outfielder Clint Frazier.
One has a seemingly unlimited payroll filled with big-money free agents, the other has a Middle America, build-from-the-farm type of approach.
Big Apple vs. Rock City. New York vs. Cleveland.
Both wouldn’t have it any other way.
Both teams and fans respect and fear each other, but don’t openly have any bad blood, that is reserved for their regional rivals such as the Red Sox and Detroit Tigers, but there is potential for the Yankees-Indians to have and write many more chapters for many years to come.