Among the four American League playoff series taking place is the Yankees at Indians. One team that had a goal of title or bust for 2020 in New York, and a resilient Cleveland team who got here despite sending 2X Cy-Young winner Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers.
The Yankees have been struggling with the injury bug all season, but there are no excuses now. They did qualify for the postseason in what was an up-and-down season. There is no time for anything but serious focus. The new format has the first-round series all in a 2-out-of-3 format, so one loss could be fatal for Aaron Boone’s team.
Cleveland did trade Kluber, but they may now have somebody even better, who will probably be taking home his first Cy Young award in the coming months. Shane Bieber proved to be a fantastic piece in the past few years, and he lit up the stat columns in this 60-game sprint.
The moneyline for NYY is -110, and it’s -106 for Cleveland. The over/under is set at six runs.
Yankees Seek Much-Needed Win
Serving as the road team for the round, this won’t be easy. The Yankees looked as good as any at times and as bad as the worst. Luke Voit crushed 22 home runs in 52 games, while DJ LeMahieu, a prime AL MVP candidate, batted .364 for the year. They will need these two guys to deliver.
Gary Sanchez (.147 BA) will be available in a pinch-hitting role as Kyle Higashiosaka will be catching for Gerrit Cole to open up the game. The other good news is that Aaron Judge, who played in just 28 of 60 games, is ready.
Gerrit Cole gets the nod today. He posted a 7-3 record with a 2.84 ERA, adding 94 K’s and 17 BB’s this year. He averaged six innings per start.
Indians Looking At 1-0 Start
In this best-of-3 format, winning the first game will be critical. Jose Ramirez was raking this year, knocking out 17 home runs and batting a team-best .292. And while he had an up-and-down offensive year, Francisco Lindor was able to do it with the glove. Cleveland fans may be saying their goodbye to him after this postseason, though.
Since reaching the World Series in 2016, Cleveland hasn’t been able to get back there again. That is the goal every year, though the odds aren’t too easy this time.
With an extra few playoff teams, it’ll take even more victories to do it. They do have a clear managerial advantage with Terry Francona, though, who always seems to manage well against these Yankees.
Shane Bieber will make the start for Cleveland. The AL Cy Young-favorite went 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA in 12 starts over 77 ½ innings. He struck out 122 batters while walking just 21.
Cleveland Takes Game One
While it’s tough to bet against Gerrit Cole, it may be even harder to go against Bieber. Cleveland 1-0 series lead incoming.
FREE PLAY: CLE -106
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