New York Yankees (91-71) vs. Cleveland Indians (102-60)
Game 1: Thursday October 5th 7:38pm on FS1/MLB
Game 2: Friday October 6th 5:08pm on FS1/MLB
Game 3: Sunday Time TBD
Game 4: Monday Time TBD
Game 5: Wednesday Time TBD
Lineup: Advantage Yankees 60/40
The ability of the Yankees lineup spoke for itself on Tuesday night. No lead is safe in that ballpark, nor with the depth and power the lineup employs. There are very few holes, and where small ones do exist, they are made up for in other with Aaron Hicks’ and Todd Frazier’s defense. Judge and Sanchez together make up the most potent back-to-back hitters in baseball and can change the game in any given inning.
The Indians have depth as well. A lineup consisting of Lindor, Encarnacion, Ramirez, and the red-hot Bruce is not anything to scoff at. However it simply does not match the fire power of the Yankees’. Their lineup, when oriented as it was on Tuesday has a legitimate argument for the best across all of baseball.
Rotation: Advantage Indians 65/35
Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco are right up there as the best 1-2 rotation punch in the MLB. There are many other strong contenders across the game, but Kluber at the helm of the duo makes this argument possible. The 31-year-old right-hander led qualified starters in ERA, complete games, shutouts, and WHIP. In 166.1 innings after coming off of the disabled list on June 1, Kluber pitched to a 1.62 ERA, allowing 103 hits and striking out 224. A half of a season that could win a Cy Young award on its own.
The acquisition of Sonny Gray will have the opportunity to pay off tremendous dividends in this series, with the right-hander perhaps taking the mound in both games 1 and 5. He gives the Yanks roation much needed depth in order to compete with the big arms of the Indians. The series may come down to how both teams’ third and fourth starters fare, but with Kluber and Carrasco at the top, things certainly sway to the Indians favor
Bullpen: Advantage Yankees 55/45
We all saw what it can do. Green, Robertson, Kahnle, Chapman. 8.2 innings, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 13 strikeouts. One of the best, yet inconsistent arms in Dellin Betances was not even used. The Yankee ‘pen is built to win in October and proved so in the Wild card game against the Twins.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, it was the blueprint of the Indians bullpen that they followed. Multiple arms including former Yankee, Anrew Miller, make up the tribe bullpen and have the ability to be as dominant as New York’s. Francona proved last year he is not afraid to use any arm in any situation, but Girardi’s flexibility may not be far behind as he went to Green with one out in the first on Tuesday. Simply put, as great as the Indians’ ‘pen is, the Yankees have a slight advantage in terms of depth and potency.
Series Advantage: Indians
The advantage is slight, but with the aces at the head of their rotation and a nearly equally potent bullpen, the Indians remain the favorite going into this series. Their unconventional thinking of starting Trevor Bauer Game 1 and Kluber Game 2 could give the Yankees a window of opportunity off the bat. Taking the first game on the road with Gray on the mound could be all the Bronx Bombers need to swing enough momentum in their favor.