It comes down to tonight for the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians. A win will stamp a ticket to the ALCS against the Houston Astros. The Astros have already moved on, after beating the Red Sox, 5-4, on Monday afternoon. Cleveland looked like they were going to make it a quick exit for the Yankees, but they clawed back to tie the series back and bring it to Cleveland for a Game 5.
Note that the first-round, excluding the play-in games, is a best-of-5 series. It’s not like the NHL playoffs where everything is a grueling best-of-7. The Astros won and partied like they won the World Series following the game in the locker room. You already know what I think about that, I think it’s stupid to celebrate what amounts to nothing, essentially.
The team the Astros have, though, they may celebrate all the way to the World Series. But then you take a look at other teams, like the Dodgers and think, well, they look great, too. The Indians won 22 straight games, so why not them? Or if the Yankees win tonight, they’re on fire. In other words, this World Series chase is wide open. Common sense would tell you the Dodgers, but common sense usually isn’t so common.
CC Sabathia and Corey Kluber step up on the hump for Game 5. Here, common sense would indicate an easy win for the Indians. It’s Kluber of course, going against what some people perceive as a washed up Sabathia. If you’re going to look at his numbers from a couple of years ago, it would indicate that he is old and washed up.
If you haven’t been paying attention since then, Sabathia has reinvented himself to look like a serviceable pitcher. Ace form like in 2011, but he’s been a reason why the Yanks are here. Sabathia was the x-factor, if he had a decent year the Yankees probably make the postseason. And now as we head into Game 5 of the ALDS, their fate is in his hands. Let’s get straight to the pick below.
N.Y. Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians Pick
CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA) vs. Corey Kluber (18-4, 2.25 ERA)
There are a couple of games today, after NLDS between the Nationals and Cubs was pushed over to today. The Yankees don’t have much to lose in this game, but on the other hand, I think the Indians have a lot to lose. How can you win that many games in a row in the postseason, and then not even win a series in the postseason? Seems like a massive waste, and to add to that, not many people will remember their record-breaking winning streak without having some success in the postseason.
In Kluber’s start against the Yanks in this series, he got absolutely mauled for 2 hits and 6 runs in 2.2 innings. Kluber ended up leaving the contest with an ERA 20.25. A far cry from the 1.83 ERA he had in the postseason a year ago, which included 34.1 innings.
It was also uncharacteristic of Kluber to get dinged like that against this lineup. They’re hitting just .155 against him, even after that drubbing. Further, Kluber has an ERA of 2.22 and 0.86 WHIP at home. It was one of the very rare starts in Cleveland that Kluber looked off. I expect him to come back strong tonight. In a do-or-die scenario, the Indians will also be fine going to their bullpen if there is a sign of trouble, which ranked 1st in the majors. Sabathia prefers the road, and has been pitching well lately, not allowing more than 3 runs since August 5th. He has an ERA of 2.65 in his last three starts. I can see this one being a low-scoring nail biter.
PICK: UNDER 7.5 (-110)