The ALCS starts tonight in Cleveland, as we are just one round away from the World Series. The Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians will duel it out for the right to play in the World Series, against either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Chicago Cubs. The Dodgers knocked the Nationals out last night, setting up the final-four of the 2016 MLB Postseason. The Blue Jays were here last year, only it was a different opponent, the Kansas City Royals. The Royals edged the Jays out and went on to win the World Series. The Blue Jays could most definitely do the same thing the Royals did. I see them as the more talented team in this series. Pitching is about even, with perhaps a slight edge to the Jays. A healthy Carlos Carrasco would have changed that fact. In any event, the Indians will have a heavyweight on the mound for Game 1 of the ALCS.
Corey Kluber will be counted on to get the party started out the right way in Cleveland. A healthy and productive Kluber is the key for the Indians. He was fighting a minor injury entering the postseason, but he has rounded into his regular self in the postseason. Thanks to him the Indians are back in the postseason for the first time since 2007 and staring the World Series straight in the face. While I feel that the Blue Jays are the more talented team, that was the same conclusion about the Royals-Jays series last season. The Blue Jays were loaded then with talent, and once again they bring firepower with them to the ALCS. However, much like the Royals, the Indians are sort of flying under the radar being a bit sneaky. We’ll see if the Blue Jays learned a thing or two from their time against the Royals in the 2015 ALCS. Find the pick below for Game 1 of the ALCS.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Cleveland Indians
Marco Estrada (10-9, 3.37 ERA) vs. Corey Kluber (19-9, 3.04 ERA)
Marco Estrada has been extremely productive here through the tail-end of the regular season and into the postseason. He’s responded in a big way to the burden placed on his back. David Price wasn’t able to get the Blue Jays to the World Series last season, and the curse of Price continued again this season with the Red Sox. Price is at home and the Blue Jays are still playing. It’s Estrada’s ball tonight, and he has gotten hot at the right moment. He’s posted an ERA of 1.33 in his last three games, including a 0.84 WHIP and .216 OBA. Estrada allowed 1 run each in those particular games, and didn’t give up a single run four starts ago in Seattle. He has actually been better on the road as well, with an ERA of 3.39 and 1.03 WHIP.
Kluber has kept pace with Estrada, and silenced the heavy bats of the Red Sox in his lone postseason start. Kluber went 7 innings and gave up just 3 hits with no runs. He also fooled with Red Sox lineup with 7 strikeouts. He’s yielded an ERA of 2.08 and 1.15 WHIP in his last three outings. I don’t see why they don’t continue to pitch well in Game 1 of the ALCS. I like the hook on the total in this game. The prospect of a 4-3 final, or something similar looks rather likely. Thus, a play on the UNDER 7.5 is in order.
PICK: UNDER 7.5 RUNS (-105)