Cleveland Indians (3-0) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (0-3)
MLB ALCS Game Four: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at 4:00pm EST
Line: Toronto -120/Cleveland +111
The Cleveland Indians will look to punch their ticket to the World Series as they take on the Toronto Blue Jays in game four of the ALCS Tuesday afternoon from the Rogers Centre. The Indians will give the start to 30-year old right hander Corey Kluber, and the Blue Jays will turn to 24-year old right hander Aaron Sanchez. The Blue Jays could not produce runs in game three and fell 4-2 as the Indians took a commanding three nothing series lead.
Kluber Aiming for Repeat Performance from Game One
Corey Kluber will make his third start of the Postseason, aiming for his third consecutive victory. Kluber was outstanding in game one, tossing 6.1 shutout innings, and has now tossed 13.1 scoreless innings in the Postseason to go along with 13 strikeouts. Kluber did have a weak 1-3 record with a 5.34 ERA in his career against Toronto coming into the series, but at this point I do not think those numbers matter. Edwin Encarnacion is 5 for 18 with two RBI’s against Kluber, while Josh Donaldson is 7 for 19 with five RBI’s, and Jose Bautista is 3 for 11 with four RBI’s. This will be the first time in Kluber’s career that he has pitched on short rest, but I do not believe he will be negatively affected by it .
Mike Napoli finally broke out of his Postseason slump and delivered with a big 2 for 2 night with a home run and two RBI’s in game three. Napoli had gone 2 for 18 with zero RBI’s in the Postseason heading into game three. The Indians have now had several different contributors with seemingly a different player stepping up each game. Francisco Lindor had a big two run homer in the Indians 2-0 win in game one, and Carlos Santana hit a big home run in the game two victory. The Indians bullpen was instrumental in the game one win, tossing 8.1 innings of two run ball after Bauer had to leave the game in the first inning with a cut on his hand. Andrew Miller, and Cody Allen have combined to throw 15.2 shutout innings in the Postseason.
Sanchez Makes First Start in Nine Days
Aaron Sanchez will make his second second of the Postseason, hoping it goes better than his first start. Sanchez last started in game three of the ALDS against Texas and was hit hard, serving up six running including two home runs over 5.2 innings, but was bailed out by the Blue Jays offense, and finished with the no decision. The young right hander made one start against the Indians this season and was not sharp, conceding five runs (four earned) in four innings at Progressive Field and finished with the no decision. Sanchez has now allowed seven runs (six earned) in 10.2 career innings pitched against Cleveland. Francisco Lindor is 2 for 3 against Sanchez, while Lonnie Chisenhall is 2 for 5 with three RBI’s, and Mike Napoli is 0 for 6.
The Blue Jays have yet to deliver with a big hit in this series and they are quickly running out of time. Toronto has now gone 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position, which included an 0 for 4 mark in game three, and are hitting just .177 in this series. A player to watch could be Josh Donaldson who is now 7 for 19 with five RBI’s in his career against Kluber, and went 1 for 3 with a single against Kluber in game one. Donaldson is 4 for 11 with one RBI in this series.
The Cleveland Indians are:
- 6-0 in their last six games when their opponent scores two or fewer runs in their previous game.
- 5-0 in their last five road games against a right handed starter.
- 10-1 in Kluber’s last 11 starts after a Quality Start in his previous appearance.
The Toronto Blue Jays:
- 1-4 in their last 5 games after scoring two or less runs in their previous game.
- 2-10 in their last 12 games against a starter with a WHIP of less than 1.15.
At this point I feel the best play is Cleveland as they have all the momentum with the red hot Corey Kluber on the mound. Kluber has been incredible this Postseason, tossing 13.1 shutout innings, which included 6.1 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays in game one, so I am very confident siding with him. Also, Sanchez was roughed up big time in his lone Postseason start, surrendering six runs in 5.2 innings, and I can’t trust the young pitcher in an elimination game after his performance against Texas. Plus, the Indians bullpen has been unhittable, as the trio of Shaw, Miller and Allen have combined to toss 11.1 innings of one run ball in this series. The Blue Jays offense has struggled and I have no reason to believe that will change in game four, and I think the Indians punch their ticket to their first Word Series appearance since 1997.