Needless to say, it’s rare for a team to rally and win a series after trailing two games to none as the Blue Jays do against the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS. But it happens. In the 1985 ALCS Toronto led Kansas City 2-0 but lost the series in seven. Certainly Monday’s Game 3 is a must-win for the Jays, however. The Blue Jays opened as -200 favourites in our MLB odds.
Cleveland Indians vs. Toronto Blue Jays, Game 3
MLB odds: Blue Jays -195, Indians +170
Date: Monday, Oct. 17, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Rogers Centre, Toronto
This was to be Josh Tomlin’s start, but he was moved up to Game 2 as Saturday’s original starter, Trevor Bauer, suffered a laceration on his pinky finger that required stitches (those darn drones!). So instead Bauer goes here. Because Tribe ace Corey Kluber, the Game 1 winner of the ALCS, wasn’t quite ready off an injury to start the opener of the ALDS against Boston, Bauer got the call and wasn’t sharp in a no-decision. He allowed three runs and six hits (two homers) while striking out six in 4.2 innings. It was Bauer’s first career postseason start.
In the regular season, Bauer was 12-8 with a 4.26 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 190 innings. He was 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 83.1 innings on the road. Right-handed batters hit him better (.257, 12 HRs, 49 RBIs) than lefties (.239, 8 HRs, 40 RBIs) overall.
Bauer faced the Jays twice. On Aug. 19 in Cleveland, he took a no-decision in allowing two runs and five hits over eight innings while striking out a season-high 13. Jays fans may remember that the Indians won that game 3-2 on a walk-off inside-the-park home run by Tyler Naquin. It was the first walk-off inside-the-park homer since Angel Pagan did it for San Francisco against Colorado in 2013. The Jays entered the ninth with a 2-1 lead but Roberto Osuna couldn’t hold it.
On Canada Day, Bauer pitched in Toronto in relief and got the victory, shutting out the Jays on two hits over five innings. That was a 19-inning game was won by the Indians 2-1 thanks to Carlos Santana’s homer off infielder Darwin Barney. At the time, it was the Tribe’s 14th straight victory. The 19 innings matched the longest game in Blue Jays history.
Josh Donaldson is 2-for-5 career off Bauer with a double and three RBIs. Russell Martin is 3-for-6 with a homer and two RBIs. Michael Saunders is 5-for-9 with a double and RBI. Edwin Encarnacion is 1-for-8. Jose Bautista is 1-for-3 with a double. Troy Tulowitzki is 2-for-6 with an RBI.
Toronto Blue Jays
Opening Day starter Marcus Stroman gets the call for Toronto. The 25-year-old hasn’t pitched since the wild-card game against the Orioles, when he allowed two runs and four hits over six innings with six strikeouts in a no-decision. He threw 53 of his 81 pitches for strikes before turning it over to the bullpen. Manager John Gibbons picked Stroman to pitch that game because the Orioles led the majors in homers and Stroman had the highest ground-ball percentage in MLB at 60. Baltimore’s runs off him were via a Mark Trumbo two-run shot in the fourth inning.
Stroman was 9-10 with a 4.37 ERA and 166 strikeouts in 32 regular-season starts over 204.0 innings. He was 4-3 with a 4.59 ERA in 16 home starts. Stroman faced the Indians on Canada Day in that 19-inning 2-1 loss and allowed one run and five hits over 6.2 innings with six strikeouts. On Aug. 21 in Cleveland, Stroman also took a no-decision in an eventual 3-2 loss, giving up a run and seven hits over 7.1 innings with nine strikeouts. Brett Cecil replaced Stroman with one out in the eighth and Cecil would eventually allow the winning two-run homer to Jose Ramirez.
Cleveland’s Lonnie Chisenhall is 3-for-7 career off Stroman. Rajai Davis is 3-for-8. Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor are both 2-for-6 with an RBI against him. Carlos Santana is 3-for-8 with a double. No Indian has gone deep off Stroman.
Indians vs. Blue Jays ALCS Game 3 Prediction
Cleveland was 41-39 away from home this year (one postponed game not made up), while the Jays were 46-35 at home and are 2-0 at Rogers Centre in these playoffs. Stroman has yet to lose in four career playoff starts and won’t here. Bauer has given up three or more runs in seven consecutive starts overall. Take the Blue Jays and over the total as the Toronto offense wakes from its slumber.