The Cleveland Indians looked like a 1st place team on Friday night. After suffering a 7-4 loss against the Yankees on Thursday night, the Indians came back for a win Friday. They need to start winning against top-tier teams, or their 1st place spot in the AL Central is going to continue to look like a facade. With the rest of the division sinking, there is a clear path for Cleveland. It’s a little clearer for them than it is the Yankees, who have to deal with the Red Sox.
Domingo German went off the rails last night, as the Indians jumped out to a 4-0 lead by the end of the 2nd inning. The Yanks made a game of it, pulling within 1-run, but that was as close as they got in a 6-5 final. Wins are a lot more precious for the Yankees, who are going to need everything they can get to win the American League Central.
The Indians have plenty of wiggle room, that’s not the case for the Yankees, though. Toronto did them a favor last night with a win over the Red Sox at Fenway. It is likely to be an uphill battle in the second-half, however. The win for the Indians was just their second in the last seven games. Even with that, the Indians are 8 games up on the Twins in the AL central.
Cleveland can sleepwalk and still be in good shape, but they need to address the bullpen if they want to win anything meaningful in the postseason. CC Sabathia will hope to steer the ship in the right direction after German was exploited a night ago. The Indians will counter with Mike Clevinger. Head below for our free Yankees vs. Indians pick for Saturday night in Cleveland.
N.Y. Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians Pick
CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.34 ERA) vs. Mike Clevinger (7-4, 3.34 ERA)
Sabathia has been a gem for the Yankees, providing a much needed lift in the face of Sonny Gray taking a dump in the Bronx. German doesn’t look like he’s ready to pitch in the major leagues, Gray has a question mark over his head, so that leaves Sabathia absolutely needing to pitch well. The end solution is to beef the rotation up at the trade deadline. There’s going to be some options out there for them, but how much of their minor league system do they want to ship out?
They didn’t acquire Gray for free. The Athletics have seemed to win that trade easily. Sabathia steps on the bump with an ERA of 3.34. He is coming off a rough outing against the Orioles with 5 runs allowed in 5 innings, but it’s been more good than bad with him. The Indians are hitting a lowly .212 against him in 208 at-bats. During that time, Yan Gomes and Jason Kipnis are the only hitters to take him deep.
Clevinger matches Sabathia with a 3.34 ERA as well. He is coming off a similar outing, with 5 runs allowed against the Reds. Clevinger owns an ERA of 5.29 and 1.65 WHIP in his last three starts. He’s been better on the road, with a 2.61 ERA at home as opposed to a 4.08 ERA at home. Despite the loss yesterday, the Yankees are still 2nd in the majors in runs scored per game. The Indians’ 30th ranked bullpen nearly blew another one last night, but were fortunate to hold on late. I don’t think they are going to be as fortunate on Saturday night. The Yankees likely shake the loss off from Friday and get back in the win column behind Sabathia.