The New York Yankees begin their postseason odyssey on Tuesday with Game 1 of the AL Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians.
The Yankees are listed as the favorites at -156 to win the ALDS, while FanDuel has the Guardians at +132 in early odds just after the conclusion of its Wild Card series win over the Rays.
The best odds on the Guardians are +165 to win the ALDS from Caesars sportsbook.
Caesars prices the Yankees at +525 to win the 2022 World Series. Cleveland, which hasn’t won the Fall Classic since 1948, the longest drought in baseball, is listed at +1600.
The Yankees are the No. 2 seed in the AL Playoffs, and the Guardians are No. 3 as winners of the AL Central. The two teams met in the 2020 playoffs, when New York won a best-of-three series over Cleveland.
Guardians vs. Yankees, Game 1 ALDS
Odds for the American League Division Series, Game 1, Tuesday Oct. 11, are coming soon.
Guardians vs. Yankees Pitching Matchup, Game 1 ALDS
Cal Quantrill (15-5, 3.38 ERA, 128 K’s) vs. Gerrit Cole (13-8, 3.50 ERA, 257 K’s)
Cleveland skipper Terry Francona, who was born to manage in these types of situations, has already named Quantrill his Game 1 starter. On the other side, Aaron Boone has teased that he might use someone other than Cole, who is clearly paid to be the ace.
Quantrill made a quality start against the Yanks in April, but that seems like a season ago. More important: the righthander was 4-0 with a 2.62 ERA and 27-5 K/BB ratio in his last five starts. He doesn’t have eye-popping stuff, but Quantrill is a thinking man’s pitcher (a second-generation big leaguer), and he keeps his pitches toward the bottom of the zone, which makes it hard for batters to lift the ball out of the park.
If Cole does indeed start (and he should), the Yankees only concern should be his durability. Over the last five seasons no pitcher in MLB has thrown more innings and pitches than Cole, who had an uneven season for New York. True, he led the AL in strikeouts, but Cole has never been able to recover the mastery on his slider that he had before the league banned sticky substances. Still, he was in the 92nd percentile in whiff percentage in 2022, mostly due to his “rising” fastball.
New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone leads his team against the Cleveland Guardians with a place in the AL Championship Series at stake. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Guardians vs. Yankees AL Division Series Preview
The Guardians defeated the Rays in a series that saw their pitching staff allow one run in two games. But somewhat lost in the euphoria of “youngest team in baseball” hype is the fact that Cleveland only scored three runs. The Guardians struck out 19 times in Game 2. That doesn’t bode well if they have to face Gerrit Cole at Yankee Stadium.
But, the Guardians are a team that puts the ball in play, takes care of the baseball on defense, and has a shutdown bullpen. Those three features bring great benefits for a team, and it’s for that reason we like Cleveland to give the Yankees problems in this best-of-five series.
If Francona is wise (and like Yoda, he is), the Guardians will pitch around Aaron Judge as much as they can. A line of 0-for-1 with three walks would be just fine with Tito & Co. as long as Cleveland keeps the big guy in the yard. Make Anthony Rizzo, the enigmatic Giancarlo Stanton and others beat you. That’s the proper strategy.
The Yankee bullpen is less talented and less healthy than Cleveland’s. The Yankees played poorly from mid-August to early September. Even a little turnaround offensively at the end of the season doesn’t make you feel good if you’re a Yankee fan who worries. And trust me, all Yankee fans worry like a father waiting for their teenage daughter to get back from a movie date.
We look for Jose Ramirez to haunt the Yankee pitching staff, with his quick, short, yet powerful swing. From the left side, Ramirez is made for the targeting the short foul pole in right field in the Bronx.
Yankees ALDS Game 1, Series Prediction
The Yankees are +220 to win the AL pennant by Caesars sportsbook. But first they will need to dispatch a pesky, energetic, and confident Cleveland team. We wouldn’t be surprised if the Yanks take Game 1, but Cleveland wins the series in five.
SERIES PICK: The Yankees are an all-or-nothing offense, and as we witnessed in the AL Wild Card Series, the Guardians pitching staff can shut down enemy batters. The status of New York’s pitching staff is less certain than that of the Guardians, and for that reason we can’t pick the Yankees. You’ll likely get +125 to +135 on the Guardians, which is a good number, depending on the sports betting app. Bet on Cleveland to pull the upset, most likely in five games.
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