Guardians vs Yankees AL Divisional Preview & Free Pick [Game 1]

The Yankees host the Guardians in Game 1 of the ALDS

Cleveland (94-70) at NY Yankees (99-63)
When: Tuesday, October 11th 2022
Where: Yankee Stadium,
Bronx, NY
Time: 7:37 ET | TV: TBS
Opening Odds: New York -191/7

One New York team with World Series aspirations is already gone, as the Mets were ousted by the San Diego Padres. Now, the New York Yankees are city’s only hope. The Bronx Bombers will open the American League Divisional Series at home against the upstart Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday night. Game time is set for 7:37 ET and can be seen on TBS. The Yankees earned the No. 2 seed in the AL by winning 99 games, but struggled in the second half of the season. New York has Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino lined up to start the first three games of the best-of-five set, but it’s the bullpen that worries fans. Aroldis Chapman capped a miserable year by missing a workout, leaving him off the ALDS roster. All-Star closer Clay Holmes is a question mark as he hasn’t pitched in weeks due to a shoulder strain. New York was one of two AL teams with a better bullpen ERA than the Guardians, but the Yanks definitely have some concerns entering this series.

Meanwhile, the Guardians come into New York with lots of momentum after sweeping two from the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild-card round. Cleveland is the youngest team in the majors and have no high-priced stars outside of Jose Ramirez. It’s a team that gets timely hitting and great pitching. The Detroit Tigers were the only team that hit fewer home runs than the Guardians. The pitching staff held the Rays to one run on nine hits over the two games of the wild-card series, including a 15-inning affair in Game 2. The Guardians were forced to burn through seven relievers Saturday, but get two days off before Game 1 and are expected to use a fully rested Cal Quantrill to start. The Yankees took five of six games with Cleveland this season including all three in New York by a combined 19-7 score.

Pitchers: Guardians – Cal Quantrill (15-5, 3.38) | Yankees – Gerrit Cole (13-8, 3.50)

Quantrill was one of the few Cleveland pitchers to have success against the Yankees during the regular season. He held them to three runs in 6 1/3 innings in an eventual 5-4 loss, and limited Aaron Judge to an 0-for-5. Quantrill ended the season with 17 straight starts without a loss. The closer for Cleveland is Emmanuel Clase (1.36 ERA, 42 saves), who retired all seven batters he faced in the wild-card round.

Cole easily won both meetings with the Guardians this season. He blanked them over 6 2/3 innings in April and then defeated the Guardians in a rematch at Cleveland in July with six solid innings. It was an inconsistent season for Cole, who posted a franchise-record 257 strikeouts but also recording his highest ERA (3.50) since 2017 and surrendered an AL-leading 33 home runs.

At least in Tuesday’s Game 1 matchups, I’m taking the underdog in each, including the Guardians. This is a very underrated team with terrific pitching and that’s what you need in October. It’s no secret the Yankees struggled down the stretch and have a lot of pressure on them. I can easily see Cleveland at least splitting the first two games in New York.

Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free MLB Picks page for today.

Pick: Guardians +185