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#923 New York Yankees -130 vs.
#924 Cleveland Indians 9.5
Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 4:10pm EDT
Written by Chris Altruda

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New York Yankees at Cleveland Indians

When and Where: Saturday, June 8, Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio, 4:10 p.m. EDT.

More than 18 years after making his major league debut with the Indians, CC Sabathia‘s farewell tour arrives where it all began Saturday when he seeks his 250th victory as the New York Yankees continue their series in Cleveland.

Sabathia looking forward to final start in Cleveland

A first-round pick by the Indians in 1998, Sabathia (3-2, 3.61 ERA) made his major league debut for the Indians in 2001, failing to get a decision at home against Baltimore when Cleveland’s stadium was known as Jacobs Field.

The left-hander racked up 106 wins in seven-plus seasons with the Indians before being dealt to Milwaukee before the 2008 trade deadline to help the Brewers make the playoffs. Sabathia signed with the Yankees as a free agent the following off-season, and he has been in New York since, totaling 132 wins and 1,635 strikeouts in a career that will certainly warrant Hall of Fame consideration.

“It was a great time, a great time for me,” Sabathia said of his days in Cleveland to The Associated Press. “I was out here early today and just walking around and it’s weird, man. I don’t have like memories good or bad either way. It’s just memories. It’s a weird thing and it just feels so comfortable to be in this park.”

After two playoff appearances with the Indians and one with the Brewers, Sabathia has seen plenty of the postseason with the Yankees, winning the World Series in 2009 and going 8-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 18 starts and one relief appearance.

Sabathia has helped pick up the slack as the Yankees soldier on without staff ace Luis Severino, though the 38-year-old has also spent time on the injured list this year with knee inflammation. The southpaw took the loss Sunday versus the Red Sox, giving up a pair of solo homers and three runs overall as the Yankees absorbed an 8-5 defeat to their archrivals.

“What I don’t think he ever got enough credit for was, you know, the athlete he was,” Indians manager Terry Francona told MLB.com “And what I would marvel at, and still do, is how he can manipulate the ball. And by that I don’t mean by cheating, I mean, just … You watch him just throw, it’s so natural.

“He’s been doing it for a long time. He’s not the power pitcher he used to be, but he’s got such a good touch and feel that, I think, that gets overlooked.”

Sabathia has seen plenty of the Indians over the past decade, going 4-3 with a 3.57 ERA in 13 starts. The lefty is 0-2 with a 4.55 ERA in the last six matchups, though, and 3-2 with a 3.35 ERA in seven starts as a visitor in Cleveland.

Carlos Santana has gotten the better of Sabathia in their matchups, going 10 for 19 with a homer, and Jose Ramirez is 6 for 12 with a homer.

Plutko latest to be plugged into Indians’ injury-ravaged rotation

Adam Plutko (1-1, 6.35) will be officially called up before the game as he returns to the rotation after Carlos Carrasco was placed on the injured list with an undisclosed blood condition.

The right-hander split his two starts at Triple-A Columbus after being sent down and was knocked around for six runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 12-5 loss to Toledo on Monday.

Plutko’s two starts with the Indians last month went in wildly different directions. He limited Baltimore to a solo homer and three other hits in six innings of a 4-1 win May 18 but was rocked for four homers that accounted for six of the seven runs he gave up in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-2 defeat to Tampa Bay five days later.

This will be Plutko’s first appearance against the Yankees.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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It is difficult to go against Sabathia having one last happy homecoming in Cleveland, more so with the Indians having to plug in another pitcher to replace yet another injured member of their rotation.

Plutko has been hit or miss in his two starts, with the miss coming against a good-hitting team in Tampa Bay. The Yankees are a disciplined and good-hitting team who got stronger in Friday night’s series opener with the return of Didi Gregorius, and the feeling is the Yankees getting plus-money on the 1.5-run line is excellent value.

Prediction: Yankees -1.5 runs (+111)

Full-Game Total Pick

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The over has been trending with both Sabathia and the Yankees upon their arrival in Cleveland, with the over 2-0-2 in the left-hander’s last four road starts versus the Indians and 4-1 in his last five overall. The over was also 6-1-1 in New York’s last eight games versus AL Central teams heading into Friday night’s series opener and 21-5-2 in its last 28 road games against righties.

Prediction: OVER 10 runs (-105)

Full-Game Prop Bet

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Friday’s loss marked the fourth time in their last 18 games the Yankees failed to score at least five runs in a game, and they have not been held below five in back-to-back games since May 17-18. And with Plutko’s tendency to serve up the long ball, the expectation is New York bounces back with a vengeance to prop up Sabathia.

Prediction: Yankees OVER 5 runs (-121)

First Five Innings Side Pick

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A sentimental pick in Sabathia getting the job done in his final start in Cleveland. It is closer to a toss-up, though, with the Yankees sporting a 3-4-2 mark after five innings in his nine starts. The Indians, though, have led after five innings just twice in their last 18 games (2-12-4).

Prediction: Yankees -0.5 runs (-110)

First Five Innings Total Bet

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The hook makes this a toss-up, with Plutko’s long-ball struggles in his two starts the main point of contention. But if Sabathia can put together three shutout innings, that may be enough for the under to sneak out a victory here.

Prediction: UNDER 5.5 runs (-115)

First Five Innings Prop Prediction

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New York has scored two or more runs in the first three innings in eight of its last 13 games, and Plutko has served up three of his five gopher balls in the first three frames of his two starts. The Yankees will likely make Plutko prove he can fill the strike zone, and with seven of the 13 hits allowed going for extra bases, New York is good value at even money.

Prediction: Yankees OVER 1.5 runs first 3 innings (Even)

Written By Chris Altruda

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is a freelance sportswriter based in Chicago. He has worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Can be followed on Twitter at @AlTruda73.