Cleveland Indians (2-0) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (0-2)
MLB ALCS Game Three: Monday, September 17, 2016 at 8:00pm EST
Line: Toronto -200/Cleveland +170
The ALCS will shift to Toronto as the Blue Jays host the Cleveland Indians in game three Monday night from the Rogers Centre. The Indians will send 25-year old right hander Trevor Bauer to the mound, and the Blue Jays will counter with 25-year old right hander Marcus Stroman. The Indians took game one by a 2-1 score, and won game two by a 2-1 score behind another dominating pitching performance.
Bauer with Chance to Give Indians Commanding Series Lead
Trevor Bauer will get the ball for game two, hoping to go deeper into the game than his first start. Bauer conceded three runs including two home runs in 4.2 innings pitched to the Red Sox in the ALDS, finishing with the no decision. The young right hander faced the Blue Jays twice this season and was outstanding, tossing five scoreless innings of relief in an marathon extra innings game in early July, followed by an eight inning performance where he allowed just two runs, but finished with the no decision. However, Bauer really struggled against Toronto last season, and has now conceded 13 runs in 18.2 career innings pitched against the Blue Jays. Josh Donaldson is 2 for 5 with three RBI’s against Bauer, while Edwin Encarnacion is 1 for 8, and Jose Bautista is 1 for 3.
The Indians continue to do just enough to the job done offensively. They have belted seven home runs though five postseason games, including one in each of the first two games of the ALCS. Francisco Lindor has been the star of this series offensively, going 4 for 8 with three RBI’s, and is now 7 for 16 with two homers and four RBI’s in the Postseason. The 22-year old shortstop hit .301 with 15 home runs and 78 RBI’s this season.
Stroman Hopes Season Success against Indians Translates to Postseason
Marcus Stroman will take the mound as he makes his second start of the Postseason, aiming for another Quality Start. Stroman was solid in his start in the Wildcard game, allowing just two runs on four hits over six innings to the Orioles, and finished with the no decision. The young right hander was outstanding in both of his starts against the Indians this season, tossing 6.2 innings of one run ball in his first start, followed by a 7.1 inning performance where he allowed just one run at Progressive Field. Stroman has only made one other appearance against Cleveland back in his 2014 rookie campaign where he allowed five runs (four earned) in 1.1 innings. Jason Kipnis is 2 for 6 with an RBI against Stroman, while Mike Napoli is 0 for 9, and Carlos Santana is 3 for 8.
The Blue Jays have not been able to touch the Indians bullpen this series, recording just one hit with no runs in six innings against a combination of Miller, Allen and Shaw. The heart of the Jays order with Donaldson, Encarnacion and Bautista are a combined 5 for 21 with one RBI in this series and that must change for them to get back into the series. Encarnacion is leading the way for the Blue Jays, hitting .348 with three homers and seven RBI’s in the Postseason.
The Cleveland Indians are:
- No Key Trends
The Toronto Blue Jays are:
- 5-1 in their last 6 Postseason home games.
- 4-1 in Stroman’s last 5 home starts against a team with a winning record.
- 5-1 in Stroman’s last 6 starts after the Blue Jays allow two runs or less in their previous game.
I am taking the Blue Jays in this matchup. Bauer has had some trouble with the Blue Jays, conceding 13 runs in 18.2 career innings against Toronto throughout his career, so I expect the Blue Jays to come out swinging and get some early runs against him. Also, Stroman has looked great against the Indians, allowing only two runs in 14 innings pitched against them this season. Plus, the Indians lineup has only driven in a combined three runs with zero homers in 78 at bats against Stroman, so I am confident he can limit the Indians offense. This series is far from over, the Blue Jays are back at home, and I am confident they can deliver with a big win. I would even consider taking the Blue Jays on the run line (-1.5) to get more value as I think their offense will break out in this contest.