The Nationals are pending tonight but I’m going to go ahead and jump on the ALCS a day and a half before first pitch. The Blue Jays are back with another chance to get to the World Series. This time, a different AL Central opponent stands in their way. We’re guaranteed to have a first-time-in-a-while winner in the American League.
Cleveland has its hands full going up against a tough lineup when it isn’t locked in. But the Jays have closed authoritatively, getting into the wildcard game, beating Baltimore and then sweeping the top-seeded Texas Rangers in three games. The good news for the Indians is that they already have the blueprint for beating Toronto because of how similar it is to Boston. The Jays are built just like the Sox, a team carried by their especially top-heavy lineup that can score runs in a hurry. The Indians were able to grind out at-bats and control the game with their pitching and particularly dominant trio of Miller, Shaw and Allen in the bullpen. And while I don’t favor the Tribe to do it over another, longer series, I suppose it’s how game one will go with rested arms.
Terry Francona just announced his game one starter to be Corey Kluber; but everyone already knew that, which is why the game has been lined for the last two days. Kluber shut down the Red Sox over seven innings in game two of the ALDS but he shouldn’t need a big zero to keep this one under. There’s no reason to believe Marco Estrada doesn’t keep rolling against the unimposing home lineup. And while Toronto’s bullpen concerns me a bit (and is the main reason Cleveland could take the pennant) it’s not enough to keep me away from recommending the under in this one. It feels like a 4-2 sort of ballgame that could go either way.
YTD: 36-24-1 +5.75
2015: 31-25-5 +1.09
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02