The Cleveland Indians will host the New York Yankees for the third game of their four-game series on Saturday. A pitcher's duel on paper is anticipated, with Shane Biber of the Indians facing Gerrit Cole of the Yankees. These two pitchers did face each other last year in the American League Wild Card series, but that game was anything but a pitchers duel with New York winning 12-3.
This season, the Yankees won the opening game of this four-game set on Thursday 6-3, after falling behind 3-0 in the first inning.
On the season,and New York is 7-11, last in the AL East.
This preview was written before the completion of Friday night's game between these two historic franchises,
Yankees have their ace going
Higgy homers make everyone happy 😃 pic.twitter.com/3VdsiQZD6j— New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 23, 2021
Bieber looking for redemption from 2020 postseason flopHeading into Friday, the Indians are 9-10 overall and third in the AL Central. On Thursday, Cleveland lost for the fourth time in five games. On Saturday night, the Tribe will turn to their ace, 2020 AL Cy Young Award Winner Shane Bieber. Bieber is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA, and 0.92WHIP in four starts this season and leads all of MLB with 48 strikeouts. Bieber faced the Yankees last season in the American League Wild Card Series and had by far his worst game of the year, allowing seven earned runs in 4 2/3 innings of a 12-3 loss for Cleveland. It was the only time that Bieber has allowed more than three earned runs out of his last 19 starts, going back to 2019.
BIG MAN ON THE MOVE 🏃♂️💨— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) April 22, 2021
First career triple for Franmil Reyes. pic.twitter.com/BG1iUyOIWi
Cleveland is 24th in MLB, averaging 3.8 runs and per game and 27th with a .210 batting average. Franmil Reyes leads the team with a .271 batting average and is second on the club with four home runs and 10 RBI. Jordan Luplow is batting just .235 but leads the team with five homers and 11 RBI. The star third baseman Jose Ramirez is batting .219 with four homers and eight RBI.
Cleveland's bullpen is sixth in MLB with a 3.29 ERA, but 17th with a .231 batting average against. Defensively Cleveland has been subpar, ranking 27th in MLB with -7 defensive runs saved.
- Yankees are 8-0 in their last 8 vs. American League Central.
- Indians are 0-6 in their last 6 vs. American League East.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Although the Yankees have struggled so far, they are expected to be the best team in the American League this season. Both offenses have a tough task in front of them, but New York's lineup has more upside than Cleveland's. The Yankees also hold a slight defensive edge and in the bullpen. Back the Yankees behind Gerrit Cole on Saturday.
Full-Game Total Pick
The last time Cole faced Biber was in the 2020 playoffs, and 15 total runs were scored. I think that was more of a fluke than what we should expect here.
During the 2020 regular season, Bieber never allowed more than three runs one time, and he has not allowed more than three runs in any of his four starts to begin this year. Going back to last year and including the playoffs, Cole has held opponents to three runs or less in 10 consecutive starts.
Gerrit Cole has flat out dominated active Indians batters in his career, holding them to a 4 for 36 (.110 AVG) clip collectively. There is no single Indians batter who has more than one hit in his career off Cole, and only Franmil Reyes, who is 1 for 3 against Cole, is batting above .200 against him. On the other side, Yankees batters have only hit 3 of 22 (.167) against Bieber in the regular season.
The bottom line, possibly the two best pitchers in the American League are facing each other here, and they also have elite bullpens behind them. Anything can happen in sports, but with both offenses struggling, don't overthink this one. Take the under.