Blue Jays vs Indians ALCS Preview & Free Pick – Game 1

Toronto (0-0) at Cleveland (0-0)
When: Friday, October 14th 2016
Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: TBS

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Fresh off ALDS sweeps, the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays will meet in a seven game series to determine who will represent the American League in the World Series. After a strong final weekend just to get into the playoffs, Toronto beat Baltimore in extra innings in the Wild Card game and then swept the top-seeded Texas Rangers in three straight. 3B Josh Donaldson led the Jays with a .500 batting average (9-for-18), hit five doubles and scored five times. The Indians, meanwhile, eased into the playoffs with a runaway division title in the AL Central and they to cruised in the ALDS with a sweep over the Boston Red Sox. Jose Ramirez, Jason Kipnis, and Lonnie Chisenhall led the Indians offense in the Boston series by going 12-for-31 with seven RBIs. The Blue Jays haven’t been to the World Series since winning the second of back-to-back championships in 1993 while the Indians’ last visit was a losing effort in 1997 against the Marlins. With the Indians starting pitching missing Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, the bullpen of Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw, and Cody Allen have been outstanding. Toronto will go with Marco Estrada in Game 1 while the Tribe will counter with Corey Kluber.

Pitchers: Blue Jays – Marco Estrada (1-0, 1.08 ERA) | Indians – Corey Kluber (1-0, 0.00)

Estrada was brilliant in Game 1 of the ALDS, almost going the distance in the win over Texas (8.1 innings, 1 run). Estrada has a 3.75 ERA in two career no-decisions against Cleveland. Estrada was also solid in last year’s playoffs going 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA in three outings. He has given up one one or less over his last four starts going back to September 19th in Seattle.

Kluber pitched Game 2 of their ALDS against Boston and scattered three hits over seven scoreless innings to earn the win. He is is 1-3 with a 5.34 ERA in five career starts against Blue Jays and went 18-9 during the regular season to match his career-best win total from 2014, when he won the AL Cy Young Award.

Kluber is awfully tough at home, but the Blue Jays have had real good success against him. Estrada just continues to pitch extremely well under the radar and I like him in this matchup tonight. Toronto is a dangerous team when they get hot.

Pick: Blue Jays +120

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