The Cleveland Indians extracted the first blow in the ALCS, defeating the Toronto Blue Jays behind a dominating performance from Corey Kluber. Kluber looked like he was going to get into some problems early, allowing 2 hits with runners on 2nd and 3rd right off the bat in the top of the 1st inning. Kluber got out of it and rolled the rest of the game. The Blue Jays were unable to crack the Indians, and were shutout in a 2-0 loss. Estrada did all he could for the Jays, he pitched an excellent game as well, but it wasn’t enough. Kluber went a strong 6.1 innings, allowing no runs and 6 hits. When the Indians sensed any decline, they went to the bullpen and took care of it the rest of the way. The only legitimate threat the Jays had was in that 1st inning.
The winning runs came on a 2-run shot by Francisco Lindor in the 6th inning. It stood as the only runs needed in the game. For us personally, we cruised to an easy win on the UNDER 7.5. The series immediately starts right back up on Saturday, so there isn’t much time for the Blue Jays to dwell on the loss, which is probably for the better in these spots. All they need to do is win this one, and they’re heading to Toronto with a 1-1 tie.
The Blue Jays were favorites to win the series, yet were sizable underdogs in Game 1. Doesn’t make much sense, but the sportsbook must assume that the Jays are not going to play dead in this series. And I agree, this is a series that may go the distance, all the way down to a seventh and deciding game. J.A. Happ and Josh Tomlin will look to take care of business for their respect teams this afternoon in Cleveland.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Cleveland Indians
J.A. Happ (21-4, 3.15 ERA) vs. Josh Tomlin (14-9, 4.37 ERA)
J.A. Happ may not jump off as the MVP of the Blue Jays, but I have to say, he has been their Most Valuable Player this season. Without his production, their chances of reaching the postseason would have ultimately been severely damaged. You bump his ERA up into the 4.50 range, which was what people were expecting to get out of him, and I don’t believe the Jays would be playing in this game today. He’s posted an ERA of 3.15, including an impressive record of 21-4. We were expecting him to eventually hit a wall, but that wall never came for Happ in 2016. Just look at the kind of stuff he’s been delivering lately. Happ enters today with a 1.93 ERA in his last three starts. He was great against the Rangers in the previous round, allowing only 1 run across 5 innings of work.
Tomlin has been pitching well himself, posting an ERA of 2.37 and 0.84 WHIP in his last three outings. He has not allowed more than 2 runs since August 30th. However, his last start against the Blue Jays on August 20th was a bit of a mess. Tomlin surrendered 6 runs and 9 hits in just 4.1 innings. He has traditionally been horrid against Toronto, with an ERA of 5.53 and 1.52 WHIP. Note that Trever Bauer was originally slated to get the start in Game 2, but it will go to Tomlin here. The reason? Bauer injured himself while repairing a drone, injuring a finger he needs to pitch. I’ve seen it all now. If the Indians can overcome this, they are destined to win the World Series. In any case, I think the Blue Jays are going to get the better end of Game 2. The bats should come out to play for them today, resulting in a tied series heading to Canada.
PICK: BLUE JAYS TO WIN -130