Cleveland at Toronto ALCS Game 3 Expert Pick & Odds
The Cleveland Indians can put a hammerlock on the AL Championship Series on Monday night with a win in Toronto as the Tribe took the first two games of the series at home after starting this series as betting underdogs on MLB odds. Toronto is favored for this one behind Marcus Stroman.
How to Bet on the Toronto ALCS Game 3 Expert Pick, Odds & TV Info
When: Monday, Oct. 17, 8 PM ET
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto
Probable pitchers (away/home): Trevor Bauer/Marcus Stroman
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Radio: Cleveland / Toronto
Opening MLB Lines: Blue Jays -160, Indians +165; total: 8.5
Why Bet on Cleveland?
I’m starting to think that the gods are smiling down on the city of Cleveland, which hadn’t won a title of any kind in decades before the NBA’s Cavaliers won their first back in June over the favored Golden State Warriors. And now the Indians are unbeaten in these playoffs after sweeping Boston in the ALDS and taking the first two of this series.
The Tribe go with right-hander Trevor Bauer on Monday; he was supposed to start Saturday but was pushed back when he cut his pinky while repairing a drone. On Thursday night, Bauer was working on his drone. It’s one of “eight or 10” that make up his “fleet,” and most of them need constant upkeep.
Bauer played catch on Saturday and reported there was a minimum of bleeding. He can’t wear a bandage on his finger during the game. It can’t be covered in a protective jell either. If it starts to bleed, he won’t be able to stay in the game.
“I’ve thrown with it a couple different days,” Bauer said. “It doesn’t affect anything as far as my grips. I don’t even use my pinkie on any of the pitches I throw, it just kind of hangs out over there. I don’t anticipate it being an issue at all.”
Although Bauer’s results have been mixed in Cleveland, he threw a career-high 190 innings this year, after beginning the season in the bullpen. He has grown as a pitcher and person under manager Terry Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway. Bauer might have experienced a turning point in July, when he threw five scoreless innings and 83 pitches out of the bullpen in a 2-1, 19-inning victory over Toronto at Rogers Centre.
The Indians are only hitting .182 as a ballclub in this series, but Francisco Lindor has come through with three huge RBIs — a two-run homer that served as Game 1’s only production and the go-ahead RBI single in Game 2.
Bauer started the Tribe’s ALDS Game 1 win over Boston but did not factor in the decision. He allowed three runs on six hits, including two homers, and was pulled after 4 2/3 innings. He’s yielded three or more runs in seven consecutive starts.
Why Bet on Toronto?
The Blue Jays, as a team, have compiled a .159 batting average with 25 strikeouts in 63 at-bats. The Blue Jays rolled into this ALCS after hammering 10 home runs in four postseason contests, all victories. So they are due.
Stroman started this exact game last year for the Blue Jays: ALCS Game at home, with the Jays down 2-0. Against the Royals, the right-hander picked up the victory in an 11-8 Toronto win, going 6 ¹/₃ innings and allowing four runs. In 32 regular-season starts this season, Stroman tallied an underwhelming 4.37 ERA. But he did post a 3.28 ERA in his final 11 starts and was chosen by Manager John Gibbons to start a true must-win earlier in this postseason, the wild-card game against Baltimore. Stroman came through, allowing two runs and four hits in six innings in the Blue Jays’ 5-2, 11-inning victory.
In a pair of no-decisions vs. the Indians this season, he permitted just two runs on 12 hits over 14 innings (1.29 ERA). He walked two and struck out 15 over the course of the efforts, which took place on July 1 in Toronto and Aug. 21 in Cleveland. From that July 1 outing through the end of the regular season, he posted a 3.42 ERA.
Stroman believes the Blue Jays’ offense is about to bust out in a big way after being held to one run through the first 18 innings of the ALCS.
“Our offense is amazing; it’s been amazing all year,” Stroman said. “I count on every single one of those guys to pick me up, and I have the confidence in them to go out there and score runs, regardless of what the previous two games were. I don’t think that’s a pre-showing of what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
Toronto is 73-46 at home since the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2015.
My Expert Prediction
Take the Jays on MLB odds to make this a series. They have one of the best home-field advantages in MLB.