Cleveland Indians at New York Yankees Pick 8/15/19
Cleveland Indians (72-49) at New York Yankees (81-41)
When: 7 p.m., Thursday, August 15
Where: Yankee Stadium, New York
Moneyline: CLE Off/NYY Off
Runline: Tribe Off/Yanks Off
Starting Pitchers: Adam Plutko (4-3, 4.68 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) vs. TBA. The Yankees are expected to start Chad Green (2-3, 4.69 ERA, 1.40 WHIP)
The Yankees have heard it since the deadline: they should have gotten a starting pitcher. Well, the Yankees have done just fine without, and now they’re going for the opener strategy against the Indians, as their starting pitching has continued to look like a tire fire this season.
That’s a coin flip in this game for a couple of reasons. On the good side of the ledger, the Yankees are expected to go with Chad Green as their opener, and Green has pitched well in the role with a 1.80 ERA as an opener. Plus, given how the Indians mash left-handed pitching, going with an opener should work well against Cleveland’s lineup.
The keyword is should because here’s the negative side of the ledger: the evidence so far suggests that the Indians are just as capable at mashing openers as they are lefties. Granted, it’s a small sample size because the most recent example was against the Angels, who have had zero success with their openers, but the Indians still chased the opener for five runs in 1/3 of an inning. This series could get away from the Yankees quickly given that the Yankees have a pair of lefties going Saturday and Sunday. If Green isn’t up to the task and they have to extensively use the bullpen Thursday it could set them up for disaster for New York in this series.
Plutko isn’t happy about the way he pitched last time, and for the first time in a month, he has reason to be unhappy. The nine hits he allowed the Twins tied his second-worst showing of the season, and it snapped a three-start streak where he had allowed three runs or less. Plutko hasn’t been great for the Indians, but he’s done a serviceable job and has looked much better when his team has given him solid run support. For the most part, the Indians are doing that as of late — they’ve scored at least five runs in six of their past eight contests.
Expect this one to feel like October, with the Indians trying to get themselves into the top spot in the AL Central and the Yankees hoping to lock up the No. 1 seed and knock the Indians out of the picture. Make no mistake: Cleveland is probably the last team that the Yankees want to see in a short series, given the Indians’ starting pitching advantage and New York’s heavy reliance on left-handers. The Yankees are going to approach these games as must-win because facing the Indians in a five-game series would be disastrous for New York.
The teams played three games in Cleveland earlier this year, with the Indians taking two and nearly stealing the third before the Yankees pulled it out in the 10th inning. The season series has finished 5-2 over the last four campaigns, with the margin going to the Indians in odd years and the Yankees in even years.
- The Indians are 4-1 in Plutko’s past five starts against the AL East.
- The Yankees are 14-3 in Green’s past 17 starts.
- The Yankees are 42-11 in their past 53 games at Yankee Stadium.
- The under is 8-2-1 following an Indians loss the previous game.
- The under is 7-1 in Hamels’ past eight starts.
The temperature is expected to be 81 degrees at first pitch, and the forecast calls for partly sunny skies.
Green has been a solid opener, and the Yankees are coming off a sweep of Baltimore, but Plutko pitched well against the Yanks last time, and the Indians have upgraded nicely since the last time they faced New York. The Indians are the more desperate team and have played like it, other than the way their series with Boston ended. For the most part, Cleveland has looked strong this summer, and I think the Tribe will be able to continue that as the baseball season nears its end. Give me the Indians.
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