It’s Do-or-Die for the Cleveland Guardians and New York Yankees in the Bronx

Baseball Oct 18, 2022

Game 5 between the Guardians and Yankees starts at 1 pm ET with the winner advancing to the ALCS against the Astros

The Cleveland Guardians and New York Yankees will try to play again on Tuesday night after rain postponed Monday’s would-be deciding Game 5 of their American League Division Series which was scheduled at Yankee Stadium.

The Guardians at home blew a golden opportunity to finish off the heavily-favored Yankees in Game 4 of the series on Sunday night in Cleveland, but lost 4-2. The Guardians will now face the unsavory task of playing a winner-take-all game in front of a hostile New York crowd and in a stadium where they have not fared well historically.

The Guardians did win one in the Bronx, however. They won Game 2 last Friday 4-2, but needed 10 innings to do so.

SPREADS.CA makes the Yankees prohibitive favourites in every aspect.  Here's a look at the main betting opportunities:

This CLE-NYY series has mostly been about pitching. The Yankees bats are averaging 3.75 runs per game (15 runs combined) in this ALDS, which is well below their AL-leading 4.98 RPG during the regular season.  The Guardians are scoring just 3.25 RPG (13 runs combined), which is more than 1 run less than what they averaged during the regular season (4.31).

Cleveland manager Terry Francona said in yesterday's interview that Monday’s scheduled starter, RHP Aaron Civale (5-6, 4.92 ERA regular season), would still get the nod Tuesday if Monday’s game was rained out. However, as of this time, Cleveland’s listed starter is still officially "TBD: (to be determined).  This delay raises the possibility that RHP Shane Bieber (13-8, 2.88 ERA) could take the hill for Cleveland.  Civale, who has never pitched in the postseason before, made 20 regular-season starts with a 1.19 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.1 K/9 in 97 IP.  Bieber posted a 1.04 WHIP, 1.6 BB/9 and 8.9 K/9 in 31 regular-season starts across 200 IP.  So, both pitchers look like solid decisions.  However, even though Bieber started Game 2 and allowed 2 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks with 7 strikeouts in a no-decision, he would be pitching on three days rest which is problematic.

The Yanks starter is certain.  It's Jameson Taillon (4.20 xERA, 3.79 xFIP).  Taillon will look to rely on his fastball to get through innings unscathed. It helps that Cleveland ranked 27th against four-seam fastballs and sinkers on a per-pitch basis. The Guardians should have more success against his secondary offerings (13th vs. sliders, 17th vs. cutters, 21st vs. curveballs), but overall, this seems like a bad matchup for the underdogs since Taillon rarely throws a changeup (career 7.5% usage); and the Guardians smashed changeups better than any other team this season.  Taillon is at his best when he elevates the fastball and that should be his primary plan of attack on Monday.


New York must get six-plus innings out of Taillon to protect a vulnerable bullpen that has been pushed to the brink and has lost some confidence.  

The Yankees will have to hit home runs to win this game, which has been their avenue for success so far.  Civale has given up a few homers, but Francona won't stay with him long if he looks shaky.  If Civale is still pitching into the fourth inning, he will have been on fire.  

Look for Cleveland to pull out all the stops on Tuesday night and use perhaps six or seven pitchers. In fact, Cleveland has been outstanding in close games this season, has the better bullpen, and can beat the Yanks by running, putting together timely hits, and the occasional long ball. This is a closer matchup than the line suggests.

We think the Yanks probably win it, but this is about line value.  Take the Guardians with the money line at 2.45.

Predicted Final Score:  Cleveland 4, New York 3