NEW YORK YANKEES (92-71)
at CLEVELAND INDIANS (102-60)
ALDS – Game 1 – Progressive Field – Cleveland, OH
First pitch: Thursday, 7:35 p.m. ET
Line: New York +120, Cleveland -130, Total: 8.5
The Yankees will be hoping to steal home-field advantage when they take on the Indians in Game 1 in Cleveland on Thursday.
The Yankees had to play the Twins in the Wild Card Game on Tuesday, but New York was able to escape with the win in that one. It didn’t always look good for the Bronx Bombers in that game, as they were actually trailing 3-0 after the top of the first inning there. The Yankees got just one out from starter Luis Severino in that one, but they were able to get back with their elite bullpen and timely power on offense. They now will do what they can to defeat an Indians team that was absolutely ridiculous during the regular season this year. Cleveland had a winning streak of 22 games towards the end of this season, so this team is going to be feeling really good coming into this one. The Indians also happen to have lost in a Game 7 of the World Series last year, so they have some extra motivation this October. The starters in this crucial Game 1 are going to be RHP Sonny Gray (10-12, 3.55 ERA, 153 K) for the Yankees and RHP Trevor Bauer (17-9, 4.19 ERA, 196 K) for the Indians. Both guys are extremely talented, but they’re also mistake-prone as well. That makes for a rather unpredictable total, but those playing sides will probably want to know that Cleveland was 5-2 against New York during the regular season.
The Yankees gave up a ton to get Sonny Gray to New York, and the righty had a 3.72 ERA in 11 starts with the team. While that isn’t bad by any measure, the Yankees were definitely hoping that Gray would be better for them. He is an extremely talented pitcher and he has tremendous stuff, so the Yankees definitely feel that he can be a guy that has an ERA of 3.00 or lower moving forward. Gray would, however, be able to change the narrative on his average regular season performance with the team by shutting down the Indians here. The postseason is all that matters to New York, so he can endear himself to everybody by earning the team a Game 1 victory. Offensively, all of the Yankees are going to be a threat to come through at the plate. The guys that must, however, be ready to contribute are OF Aaron Judge, C Gary Sanchez, and SS Didi Gregorius. All three of them are dangerous at the plate, and both Judge and Gregorius have already made their marks in the postseason. Gregorius hit a three-run bomb to tie the game at 3-3 in the Wild Card Game on Wednesday, and Judge hit a two-run homer later on. That should be huge for both of their confidence.
The Indians might have to deal with a little rust in this game, as they have had a significant amount of time off. Cleveland should, however, be able to turn the switch, as this team just might be the most motivated group in the playoffs. The Indians came as close as possible to winning the World Series last year, but they were unable to get the job done. They now will need to win it all this year in order to really make it all better. The Indians are not going to be able to win it all in one night, though. They need to take it one game at a time and this Game 1 against New York is going to be absolutely huge. Trevor Bauer must be ready to pitch well in this one, but he’s not necessarily a guy that the Indians will be too confident rolling out. Bauer allowed only one earned run in two straight games heading into the playoffs, but he also has a 5.27 ERA in five postseason appearances in his career. Sometimes it is hard to get over the nerves of a game like this, especially when you have struggled in the past. The Indians will need him to settle down and come through for them here. Bauer should have plenty of help offensively, as guys like DH Edwin Encarnacion, 1B Carlos Santana, 3B Jose Ramirez, and SS Francisco Lindor can all produce on any given night.