New York Yankees (91-71; 83-76-3 O/U) Cleveland Indians (102-60; 61-91-10 O/U)
MLB ALDS Game One: Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 7:30pm EST
Line: Cleveland -130/New York +120
The Cleveland Indians will host the New York Yankees in game one of the ALDS Thursday evening from Progressive Field in downtown Cleveland. The Yankees will give the nod to 27-year old right-hander Sonny Gray, and the Indians will send 26-year old right-hander Trevor Bauer to the mound. The Indians won the season series 5-2.
Gray Back in Postseason for First Time Since 2013
Sonny Gray will get the nod in game one in his third career Postseason start. Gray had a shaky September, however overall he had a strong season, recording a 3.55 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP accompanied with a 10-12 record in 27 starts. The Yankees acquired him from the Athletics at the deadline and he went 4-7 with a 3.72 ERA in 11 starts with the Yankees. The fifth-year right-hander made three starts against Cleveland this season and conceded 11 runs (nine earned) in 16.2 innings to go with a 1-2 record. Gray stands at 3-3 with a solid 3.38 ERA in eight career starts against the Tribe. He does bring some Postseason experience to the Pinstripes, as he conceded only two runs in 13 innings in two starts in the 2013 playoffs.
Didi Gregorius came through with perhaps the biggest hit in the Yankees 8-4 victory in the Wildcard game on Tuesday night, smashing a three-run homer in the first inning to erase a three-run deficit. The 27-year old shortstop had a solid season, hitting .287 with 25 home runs and 87 RBI’s. Gregorius went 7 for 17 at the dish at Progressive Field this season and drove in a total of two runs against the Indians pitching.
The Yankees scored an average of 5.30 runs per game this season, ranking them second in the Majors, and posted a .262 team batting average. The New York pitching was outstanding, featuring a 3.73 team ERA, placing them fifth in the Major Leagues.
Bauer Targets First Career Postseason Victory
Trevor Bauer will get the game one nod from manager Terry Francona, making his sixth career Postseason appearance. Bauer finished his season off strong and posted a 17-9 record with a 4.19 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in 31 starts. The 6-foot-1 right-hander silenced the Yankees in both meetings this season, limiting them to only two runs in 13 innings, and recorded the win in both starts. He now sits at 3-4 with a 4.20 ERA in eight career starts against New York. Gary Sanchez is 1 for 6 against Bauer, while Todd Frazier is 7 for 22 with three RBI’s, and Didi Gregorius is 5 for 16 with two RBI’s. Bauer had some trouble in the Playoffs last season, going 0-2 with a 5.27 ERA in 13.2 innings, and he particularly struggled against the Cubs in the World Series.
Watch for Francisco Lindor in this series as he was outstanding in the 2016 Postseason, leading the Indians with a .310 average to go with two home runs and six RBI’s. The 23-year old shortstop had a solid season, sporting a .273 average with 33 home runs and 89 RBI’s. Lindor went 7 for 27 with two home runs and two RBI’s against the Yankees this season.
The Indians had a strong season offensively, scoring an average of 5.05 runs per game, good for sixth in the Majors, and hit .263 as a team. The Cleveland pitching was dominant, sporting a Major League-best 3.30 team ERA.
The New York Yankees are:
- 1-5 in their last 6 playoff games.
- 2-6 in their last 8 road playoff games.
The Cleveland Indians are:
- 4-0 in Bauer’s last 4 starts against a team with a winning record.
- 7-1 in Bauer’s last 8 starts on five days of rest.
- 4-0 in their last 4 divisional playoff games.
I am taking the Indians in this matchup. Gray posted a subpar 4.58 ERA in September, and he also conceded 11 runs (nine earned) in 16.2 innings against the Indians this season, so I expect Cleveland to have a strong night at the plate, Furthermore, Bauer did limit the Yankees to only two runs in 13 innings this season, and while I don’t expect him to completely shut them down, he should do enough to give his team a good chance to win the game. Also, the Yankees bullpen is thin as David Robertson and Chad Green will not be able to pitch in this one after long outings in the Wildcard game.
Pick: Cleveland Indians
Bauer will allow the long ball and Gray had a shaky end to the season. Bauer conceded 16 home runs in his 17 home starts this season, and while a solid pitcher, he is no ace, so I expect the Yankees to plate some runs, and the over is 8-3 New York’s last 11 games against a team with a winning record. Gray struggled in his two starts in Cleveland this season, serving up 11 runs (nine earned) in 10.2 innings, and the over is 11-4-2 in the Yankees last 17 playoff road games.