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October 9, 2017

There is one pick today.

Take Cleveland Indians (+149) on the ML against New York Yankees risking 3% to win 4.47%.
(Bauer and Severino must start for wager to have action.)

The New York Yankees managed to stave off postseason elimination last night as they managed to come away with a closely contested 1-0 victory in Game 3 of the ALDS. They will once again be looking to stave off elimination tonight as they enter a pivotal Game 4 with the Cleveland Indians.

On the surface, it looks like the Yankees may hold the edge on the mound in this contest as Luis Severino squares off against Trevor Bauer and it appears that the oddsmakers agree, as they have the Yankees listed as sizeable favorites in this contest. While Severino has had a better overall season than his counterpart, this will be the biggest game that Severino has pitched in this season and as we have seen previously, this moment may just be a bit too big for the Yankees 'Ace'.

Severino was tasked with starting the one-game Wildcard playoff against the Minnesota Twins and he was lit up early, surrendering 3 earned runs while recording just a single out before manager Joe Girardi pulled him from the mound in place of Chad Greene. It was a high-pressure situation, arguably the biggest of Severino's career and he was rattled. He had the task of carrying his team on his back in an elimination situation and he crumbled. Now, once again being put in an elimination situation, it will be interesting to see how Severino responds. There is no question that the pressure will once again mount and having lasted just 1/3 of an inning last time out, he will undoubtedly be thinking about his most recent performance and it's completely possible that he starts overthinking his pitches and allows himself to get into his own head. This will be a huge mental task for Severino and we are not sure he will be 100% mentally ready for this performance.

The Indians will get their first look at Severino tonight and one thing that is worth mentioning is Severino's tendencies. Severino is a strikeout pitcher and his punch out pitch is an incredibly nasty slider. He has a 35.5% usage rate in throwing his slider, which ranks near the top in the league among starting pitchers. This issue here is that Cleveland has numerous capable bats in their lineup and specialize in bat-on-ball contact. They are the number one ranked team in the league at hitting sliders.

Trevor Bauer will take the mound for the second time this series. Bauer was tremendous in Game 1, holding the Yankees without a hit until the fifth inning. He worked 6.2 shutout innings, struck out eight, and only walked one. He threw 98 pitches, but Bauer’s unconventional routine, it allows him to come back quickly and he carries a higher pitch threshold than just about every starter in the league. While many may look at Bauer's shortened rest as a negative, Terry Francona is actually in quite a favorable position with his pitching staff. Cody Allen did get a much-needed day off on Sunday and so did Bryan Shaw, so the Indians can be aggressive with the bullpen in support of Bauer and we' expect Francona to pull him at the first sign of trouble. Francona planned the usage of his bullpen extremely well yesterday, whereas the Yankees did not. Aroldis Chapman saw extended time on the mound last night and could come into this contest a little bit fatigued.

The Indians have outplayed the Yankees in nearly every facet of this series. New York surrendered a big lead in Game 2 and basically allowed that game to slip away from them. They were also somewhat fortunate to come away with the victory last night, considering Cleveland had multiple opportunities to win that contest, however, variance came into play in five high profile situations. Jose Ramirez left Jason Kipnis on third with less than two outs. Francisco Lindor’s home run was caught. Greg Bird’s was not. Andrew Miller got Starlin Castro with the bases loaded in the sixth and Carlos Santana flew out to end the game. Had any of those situations played out differently, it could have certainly altered the result of the Game 3.

We expect this matchup to be much like Game 3, in that it will be a closely contested, low scoring game which ends up more like a chess match than a baseball game. The managers will likely be the ones who are in control, making smart situational decisions. This is the type of matchup that favors the veteran manager in Francona. The Cleveland offense was somewhat silenced last night and we expect some of those situations that they could not capitalize on last night to present themselves once again in this contest. The Yankees should not be this big a favorite in this contest and their motivation to extend the series will not be enough to carry them in this contest. The risk vs reward factor clearly favors the very capable Indians in this contest and we believe they'll punch their ticket to the ALCS with a victory tonight.

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