For the first time in 10 years, the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees face off in the postseason as they open the American League Division Series on Thursday night in northeast Ohio. The Tribe are solid series favourites on Sports Interaction’s MLB odds page.
New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians Odds
Game 1: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland Yankees vs. Indians Game 1 odds: Indians -165
All seven meetings came in August. The teams split a four-game series in Cleveland, and the Indians swept three at Yankee Stadium even though they were without a few key players due to injury – including star reliever and former Yankee Andrew Miller. New York traded Miller last summer to the Tribe for prospects back when the Yankees were “rebuilding.”
Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez hit .296 against Yankees pitching this year with two homers. All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor batted .259 with two homers. Former Blue Jay Edwin Encarnacion was at .238 with a homer. Carlos Santana hit .208 with two long balls. Miller didn’t pitch in any of the games. For New York, July trade acquisition Todd Frazier hit .294 with a HR as a Yankee against Cleveland pitching. Expected AL Rookie of the Year and league home run king Aaron Judge was 4-for-14 vs. Tribe pitching with one homer and eight strikeouts. Cleveland is +170 to repeat as the AL pennant winner and New York is +450.
New York Yankees
The Bombers won the AL Wild Card Game over the visiting Twins on Tuesday night, 8-4, even though starting pitcher and All-Star Luis Severino lasted just one-third of an inning and allowed three runs on two homers. However, New York’s strength is its bullpen and that group did the job with one run allowed and 13 strikeouts. Judge, Brett Gardner and Didi Gregorius all homered. The Yankees were second in baseball during the regular season with 858 runs scored and led the majors with 241 homers, topped by Judge’s MLB rookie record 52. Catcher Gary Sanchez added 33 and Gregorius 25. New York had a team ERA of 3.72 that ranked fifth in the majors and the bullpen’s 3.34 mark was third.
The Tribe of course beat the Jays in last year’s ALCS but blew a 3-1 lead in the World Series to the Cubs – losing an epic Game 7 at home in extra innings. After a bit of a hangover to start this season, the Indians, who now have the longest championship drought in the sport, took off around mid-June and led the American League with 102 wins. They also had an MLB record 22-game winning streak from Aug. 24-Sept. 14. Cleveland led the majors with a 3.30 team ERA and a 2.89 bullpen mark. In an interesting move, Manager Terry Francona has opted not to start ace Corey Kluber, the potential AL Cy Young winner, in Game 1 against the Yankees but in Game 2 to keep Kluber on regular rest. It also means Kluber would be available for a potential Game 5 on regular rest. Trevor Bauer gets the call in Game 1; Jays fans will remember him as the bloody pinkie guy from Game 3 of the 2016 ALCS. The Indians signed Encarnacion to a big free-agent deal and he hit .258 with 38 homers and 107 RBIs, all numbers slightly down from last season but still excellent.
Yankees vs. Indians Series Prediction
Two great bullpens and very good lineups, but the Tribe have a huge starting pitching edge. They win in four.