Cleveland Indians (3-1) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (1-3)
MLB ALCS Game Five: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at 4:00pm EST
Line: Toronto -180/Cleveland +160
The Cleveland Indians will get another chance to secure their position in the World Series as they battle the Toronto Blue Jays in game five of the ALCS Wednesday afternoon from the Rogers Centre. The Indians will be giving the start to 24-year old left handed rookie Ryan Merritt, and the Blue Jays will send 33-year old right hander Marco Estrada back to the mound. The Blue Jays kept their season alive with a solid 5-1 win in game three behind a solid performance from Aaron Sanchez and the Blue Jays bullpen.
Indians Give Start to Rookie Ryan Merritt
Ryan Merritt will make his first career Postseason start and only the second start of his career in game four. Merritt made just one start and three relief appearances this season and was solid, conceding only two runs over 11 innings. The rookie right hander was decent at Triple-A this season, posting an 11-8 record with a 3.70 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Look for the Indians bullpen to get into this game early to replace the inexperienced Merritt. The Indians bullpen has been incredible in the both the ALDS and the ALCS, conceding only six earned runs over 27.2 innings with a stifling .182 batting average through seven Postseason games.
The Indians bats couldn’t get going in game three, going 1 for 4 with runners in scoring position, with the Indians top five hitters in the lineup going a combined 0 for 17. The Indians do not want to send this series back to Cleveland as they will definitely start feeling a lot more pressure, however Cleveland fans can find comfort in the fact that the Indians did not lose four consecutive games at any point this season.
Blue Jays Feel Confident with Estrada on the Mound
Marco Estrada will make his make his third start of the Postseason, aiming for another solid outing. Estrada was outstanding in game one, conceding just two runs over eight innings, but didn’t get much run support and took the loss. The veteran right hander made one start in the regular season against Cleveland and allowed three runs over five innings, and has now given up seven runs in 20 career innings pitched against Cleveland. Mike Napoli is 7 for 10 with an RBI against Estrada, while Francisco Lindor is 2 for 7 with two RBI’s, and Carlos Santana is 4 for 9 with a home run.
The Blue Jays big bats finally came alive in the game three win, which is something we did not see through the first three games. Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson combined to go 3 for 7 with a homer and three RBI’s in the game three victory. Encarnacion is now hitting .323 with three homers and nine RBI’s in eight Postseason games. Josh Donaldson will be one to watch as he is now hitting .438 in the Postseason which is the highest of any player still active in the Postseason. Donaldson has also played some dazzling defense, which included a run saving diving play in game four.
The Cleveland Indians are:
- No Key Trends
The Toronto Blue Jays are:
- 4-0 in their last 4 games against a left handed starter.
- 5-1 in their last 6 games following a win.
- 4-1 in their last 5 home Postseason games.
I like the Blue Jays to take game five. They now have some momentum and confidence after the game four win and are now going against the rookie Ryan Merritt. The Blue Jays should definitely have no trouble producing some runs against the rookie who has only appeared in four Major League games. Also, I am very confident in Estrada who has looked great in his two Postseason starts, allowing just one run in 8.1 innings against Texas in the ALCS, and held the Indians to only two runs in eight innings in game one. I would recommend taking the Blue Jays on the run line (-1.5) to get more value. The Blue Jays have won four in a row eight times this season, so there is hope for Blue Jays fans.