The real fun begins on Thursday in the postseason, as the ALDS opens with a couple of games. First, in Houston, the Red Sox and Astros get their series underway. Chris Sale and Justin Verlander will duel in the early game, while Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer will get things started in Cleveland. The Yankees had to win their way into the ALDS with a win in the Wild Card against the Twins.
It was a nice season for the Twins, and after the top of the 1st, it appeared that they’d be keeping their fairy tale season going. That was short lived, as the Yankees responded in the bottom-half of the inning to tie the game back up. Luis Severino didn’t last long, but they didn’t need him. The offense rattled off 8 runs and the bullpen took care of the rest in a 8-4 final.
The Yankees celebrated with champagne in the locker room. Uh, okay? I have to call them out for that one. What does winning a play-in game signify? Besides them looking rather ridiculous, the Yankees did what they had to do to get to this point. Beating the Twins gets them a date with the record-breaking Cleveland Indians.
Their success has been well documented this season. The Tribe won 22 straight games, breaking the American League record for most wins consecutively. They were four short of tying the all-time record set all the way back in 1916 by the New York Giants. No, not the football team. And that is why the current Giants are commonly known as the New York Football Giants. Anyway, a little history lesson there.
The Indians are going to go against the grain a bit in this one, and go with Bauer in Game 1 and save Corey Kluber for Game 2. If it works out well, Terry Francona looks like a genius. If it doesn’t, though, all anyone will be talking about is asking why Kluber didn’t get the call in Game 1. We’ll see how it goes. Get our thought below, and the Yankees vs. Indians ALDS pick.
N.Y. Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians Pick
Sonny Gray (10-12, 3.55 ERA) vs. Trevor Bauer (17-9, 4.19 ERA)
The Yankees are opting to go with Sonny Gray in this one, after Severino got the start in the Wild Card contest. The Yanks really dodged a bullet there, as they were able to win without getting a solid performance from their ace. I think they’re going to need Gray to play much better than Severino did the other day. Gray hasn’t been playing like the guy they envisioned he’d be when they traded for him. He enters with an ERA of 7.36 with a 1.77 WHIP in his last three starts. In two of his last three starts, he’s allowed 5 or more runs, which included 6 runs allowed against the Rays in his last start of the regular season. He has been good on the road, though, with a 3.10 ERA so the Yankees may be up to something. He’s done a relatively good job against the Indians, as they’ve hit him for a .239 BA. The postseason is why they traded for Gray. A bad outing here and it may very well turn into a waste. No pressure.
Conversely, Bauer has been playing well lately, posting a 2.95 ERA and only 2 runs allowed in his last 13 innings pitched. In 7 of his last 9 starts, Bauer has allowed 2 runs or less. In 139 at-bats against these Yankees, he’s given up only 2 long balls, with a batting average of .237. Todd Frazier and Didi Gregorius are the only to take him deep. On August 4th he dominated the Yankees, getting 7 strikeouts and allowed just 1 earned. On August 30th he fooled them again in a 2-1 win for Cleveland. I love teams in the postseason with strong bullpens, and the Indians get a big check there. They were 1st in the regular season, with an ERA of 2.89. When in doubt, they will go to the pen and should get solid production. Many teams do not have that kind of luxury. I like the Indians to get this party started with a win at home in Cleveland.
PICK: INDIANS (-130)