In surprising fashion, both the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians defied odds to win their respective series against teams that odds-makers had them losing.
The Nuts and Bolts
Game 1: Friday, Oct. 14, in Cleveland, 8 p.m. ET (TV coverage on TBS and Sportsnet)
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 15, in Cleveland, 4 p.m. ET (TBS and Sportsnet)
Game 3: Monday, Oct. 17, in Toronto, 8 p.m. ET (TBS and Sportsnet)
Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 18, in Toronto, 4 p.m. ET (TBS and Sportsnet)
Game 5*: Wednesday, Oct. 19, in Toronto, 4 p.m. ET (TBS and Sportsnet)
Game 6:* Friday, Oct. 21, in Cleveland, 8 p.m. ET (TBS and Sportsnet)
Game 7:* Saturday, Oct. 22 in Cleveland, TBA (TBS and Sportsnet)
Game 1: Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.48 ERA) vs. Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14 ERA)
Game 2: J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.18 ERA) vs. Trevor Bauer (12-8, 4.26 ERA)
Game 3: Josh Tomlin (13-9, 4.40 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (9-10, 4.37 ERA)
Game 4: Mike Clevinger (3-3, 5.26 ERA) vs. Aaron Sanchez (15-2, 3.00 ERA)
Game 5*: TBD
Game 6:* TBD
Game 7:* TBD
Regular Season Series – Cleveland over Toronto (4-3)
Final SD Scores – Indians +1.51, Blue Jays +1.34
The Texas Rangers had the best record in the American League, but if you’ve read any of our Power Rankings articles from this year, you’ll see they won a lot of one-run games and didn’t measure up to the Blue Jays statistically all season.
It was, however, the Indians defeating the Red Sox that was a bit shocking. The Red Sox easily had the best offense in the AL and with Cleveland’s pitching issues, it just didn’t seem like they had a chance. Cleveland didn’t just outlast Boston. They swept them.
What should we expect from this series?
1) Toronto’s offense is back
The Blue Jays have a deep lineup and with Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion, they are deadly and also very clutch in the big moments.
They scored 22 runs in their three games against Texas and did it against a very good staff. If they can jump on Cleveland early, it will be very difficult for the Indians to keep up, as they will be scrambling to get the pitching under control.
2) Don’t underestimate Cleveland
Who would have believed that the Indians could shut down Boston’s offense and hold them to a mere seven runs and a paltry .136 batting average with runners in scoring position for the entire ALDS? But they did.
Indians Manager Terry Francona has been crafty with the use of his starters and also boast of an amazing bullpen, which was second in the American League with a 3.45 ERA. (Toronto’s bullpen was 12th with a 4.11 ERA). The back-end features Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw and Dan Otero, and that could be a very difficult crew for the Blue Jays.
The Bottom Line
While the Indians were able to hold off the Red Sox offense, don’t expect it to happen this time. The Blue Jays have a great lineup, but they have better pitching than Boston, as they led the AL in ERA. (Cleveland was second, however)
Toronto’s many pitching options should be enough to hold off Cleveland’s bats, while their offense should put up enough runs to win this series.
Prediction: Toronto in six