Yankees at Indians – MLB ALDS Pick for Game 5
It all comes down to this. Considering the Yankees coughed up an 8-3 lead to eventually lose Game 2, you could even make the argument that this series should already be over. Yet, here we are. Corey Kluber will take the mound for the Indians in the winner-take-all Game 5, while cagey veteran C.C. Sabathia will take the ball for the Yankees.
Indians manager Terry Francona took plenty of heat for his curious decision to start Trevor Bauer over Kluber in Game 1. Francona’s reasoning for doing so was that he wanted Kluber to be available to pitch on full rest if the series got to a decisive fifth game. You can bet Francona wishes this series would have never come to that, but he has to feel pretty good about the fact that he has his ace on the mound in this one.
Kluber was sensational during the regular season. The presumptive favorite for the American League’s Cy Young Award went 18-4 with a tidy 2.25 ERA over the course of 29 regular season starts. However, he got knocked around by these Yankee hitters in Game 2. Kluber was chased after surrendering six earned runs on seven hits, including two homers, in just 2.2 innings of work.
Perhaps Kluber was a bit rusty from the long layoff. Tonight, he’ll be on his normal four days of rest. When he pitched on four days of rest during the regular season, the Klubot went 11-3 with a 1.67 ERA along with 159 strikeouts and just 15 walks in 124 innings. Not too shabby.
The Yankees are going to be up against it if Kluber is on his game. Let’s not forget that they’ll also potentially have to deal with Cleveland’s loaded bullpen. If Kluber can make his way through six innings, Francona can replace him with Andrew Miller for two innings before Cody Allen can come on to potentially close things out. Runs may be hard to come by for the road team in this one.
Sabathia, who spent the first seven-and-a-half seasons of his career in Cleveland, is no stranger to big moments. This will be his 19th career postseason start, and he pitched fairly well opposite Kluber in the aforementioned Game 2. It wasn’t the smoothest outing, but Sabathia limited the Tribe to two earned runs on three hits over the course of his five innings of work.
Fortunately for New York, we know their bullpen is rather loaded, as well. If Sabathia is able to motor his way through five innings or so, Joe Girardi can turn the game over to the likes of Chad Green, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman.
The Yankees have the chance to become the 10th team ever to come back from an 0-2 hole in a best-of-5 MLB series. Just three of those teams managed to win the decisive Game 5 on the road, too. So, the odds are fairly and understandably stacked heavily against the Yankees tonight.
Cleveland is a heavy favorite here at -200 on the moneyline, while the Yanks are listed at +170 to win. While the smart money is on Kluber and the Tribe, we do like the profit potential on the plucky Yankees here. Still, though, we don’t want to get too cute. The Indians were the best team in the American League down the stretch of the season, they’re at home, and Kluber is on the mound.