The match-up between the Blue Jays and the Indians was not expected by many. The Red Sox were hot entering the postseason but couldn’t put it together. The Rangers had the best record in the American League and looked completely lost against the Jays.
Both Cleveland and Toronto’s fan bases are irking for a World Series win. The Blue Jays have been contending since last year and the Indians have had the potential to be a good team because of their pitching. Cleveland would love to win two major championships in one year, while the Blue Jays would love to make their fans happy and end their championship drought. It will be a great match-up to watch.
For Game 1, we have Marco Estrada vs Corey Kluber. Marco Estrada had one start in the Rangers series. He played on the road and went 8 1/3 innings giving up only 4 hits, 1 earned run and 6 strikeouts. It was a magnificent start. Estrada has a great track record in the playoffs. He’s started 4 times in the postseason and he’s accumulated 3 wins, an average of 1.5 earned runs, and 5.25 strikeouts. Let’s just say he’s been a very dependable arm for the Blue Jays. During the 2016 season, he played Cleveland once and it was at the Rogers Centre. He went 5 innings, giving up 3 earned runs and 2 homers. The Blue Jays still won that game 9-6 despite the rough start. This was the time where Marco Estrada started to struggle. He was playing with a bad back which even he said was affecting his pitching. He was able to end off the regular season with 3 solid starts and have a great outing in Texas.
Marco Estrada throws a fastball and his famous pitch, the change up. He worked the Rangers lineup with his change-up. When Estrada is clicking, its tough to get a hit against him. Cleveland doesn’t hit the fastball well either, so, this is definitely a plus for Estrada.
The Blue Jays starting staff throws a lot of fastballs and they have been the most successful rotation doing it as you can see below:
Corey Kluber has been the most consistent pitcher for the Cleveland Indians since the 2013 season.The Indians have had injuries to their starting rotation throughout the whole year. Even though they’ve had issues, they’ve continued to win games. With a great starting rotation and a top 10 bullpen they finished 2nd in the AL. Kluber pitched in his first postseason game in Game 2 against the Red Sox and had an incredible outing. He pitched 7 innings only giving up 3 hits with 7 strikeouts. That was a huge win for the Indians because they went up 2-0 against the Red Sox. Against the Blue Jays, Corey has two starts. He averaged 4.6 innings, 6.5 hits, 3.5 earned runs, 1 homer and 6 strikeouts. He lost on the road, then got a win at home. Kluber is a great pitcher. He made the Red Sox look like an average lineup but the Blue Jays bats are on fire right now. We will see which one will give. It will be an intriguing match-up.
Kluber has a fastball, cutter and curve-ball. The Blue Jays must have a good eye because Kluber has strikeout stuff. With his cutter and curve-ball, it could be a tough night for the Jays.
Both of these teams have been great in the ALDS and that’s what makes this match-up so exciting. Toronto has always been boom or bust on offense. If the home run ball isn’t there 8/10 times they lose. They have the most groundballs out of the remaining playoff teams but have the most fly-balls too. They also lead with the most double-plays .
The Blue Jays will need to wait for Kluber’s fastball. That’s how they will win. They must be patient at the plate or else the Jays will rack up strikeouts. The Indians need to anticipate Estrada’s change-up or he will have a similar performance like he did in Texas.
The Jays will need their power if they want to win this series. Cleveland will need to rely on their small ball and speed. The Blue Jays struggle against teams that run so that’s a huge advantage to Cleveland. This match-up is very similar to last year’s ALCS between the Blue Jays and Royals and we all know how that went. This year is different though. This time, the Jays offense looks even better than last year. If the Jays can continue to hit with power, I have no doubt that they can win this series. If they can’t, Cleveland could wrap this up pretty easily.
Prediction for Game 1: Toronto wins 4-3 in a close one
Prediction for Series: Toronto in 6 games