Indians’ Home Dominance Over Blue Jays to Continue Friday

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, April 12, 2018 11:54 AM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 12, 2018 11:54 AM UTC

The Toronto Blue Jays make their only visit of the season to Cleveland this weekend, with the 2016 ALCS foes opening the series Friday night (7:10 ET) at Progressive Field.

Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland IndiansFree MLB Pick: IndiansBest Line Offered: BetOnline

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3386493, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,999991,274,1252,19], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

The Toronto Blue Jays haven’t dropped a series in the early going as they open a three-game set Friday night (7:10 ET) in their only visit of the season to Cleveland. Seems like forever ago, but these two clubs played in the 2016 ALCS, won in five by the Tribe. The Indians are still good enough to get back there this October, but I don’t see it for the Blue Jays.

Both teams recently put a regular on the disabled list. For the Indians, it was outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall – OK, he largely platoons in right field. Chisenhall will miss 4-6 weeks with a right calf strain. He had a very solid season last year in 82 games, batting .288 with 12 homers and 53 RBIs for a WAR of 1.2. This year, Chisenhall was batting .235 in 17 at-bats.

The Blue Jays have lost DH Kendrys Morales to the DL with a hamstring injury suffered on Monday. The team thinks he will only miss the minimum 10 days. Morales hit .250 with 28 bombs and 85 RBIs last year and was hitting .227 with a homer and six RBIs in eight this this year. At DH, Manager John Gibbons can use one of Steve Pearce, Yangervis Solarte or Josh Donaldson, if his throwing shoulder needs a break from third base.

Last year, the Indians were 4-2 vs. the Blue Jays and 3-0 at home. Francisco Lindor hit .385 in the six with a homer and four RBIs. Edwin Encarnacion, who left Toronto for a free agent before last season, was 7-for-19 with a homer and five RBIs. Donaldson played in just three of the game for the Blue Jays and was 1-for-11 with five Ks.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

Cool stat: We lead @MLB with 27 runs in the 7th inning or later.

Let's do this thing. https://t.co/5bh7AhiENX @budcanada pic.twitter.com/UsfJrWjy3N

— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 12, 2018
\n\n"}[/]

Probable Pitchers: Stroman vs. Clevinger

Toronto’s Marcus Stroman (0-1, 8.38) was slowed a bit this spring by a shoulder injury, so perhaps that’s why he hasn’t been sharp yet. The 26-year-old hasn’t lasted more than five innings yet in a no-decision vs. the Yankees and a loss in Texas even though batters are hitting only .243 against him. Walks have been a major issue with eight of them in 9.2 innings. On the bright side, Stroman’s 10.24 K/9 rate would be a career high.

Stroman faced the Indians in Game 3 of the 2016 ALCS in Toronto and took the loss, allowing four runs and walking three over 5.1 innings. Last year, the right-hander was 1-0 with a 0.66 ERA in two starts vs. the Indians. He allowed 11 hits and no homers in 13.2 innings. Encarnacion is 2-for-5 off his former teammate. Lindor is 3-for-12. No current Indian has gone yard off Stroman in the regular season.

Cleveland’s Mike Clevinger (1-0, 0.71) also can be wild at times – he had a 4.44 BB/9 rate in 2017. Not too bad this year with four free passes in 12.2 innings against the Royals and Angels. Clevinger was able to scatter 10 hits last time out vs. Kansas City and allow just a run. He has yet to surrender a homer in 2018. Clevinger has thrown 1.1 career regular-season innings vs. Toronto. So, the only Blue Jay likely in Friday’s lineup who has faced him is Russell Martin, and he’s 0-for-1.

  • Blue Jays are 0-6 in Stroman’s last 6 Friday starts.
  • Blue Jays are 7-16 in their last 23 games following an off day.
  • Indians are 24-5 in their last 29 during game 1 of a series.

The Blue Jays have dropped their past six regular-season trips to Cleveland, and Toronto is just 1-4 in Stroman’s past five vs. the Tribe. Thus, it’s a lean toward the Indians for a Friday MLB pick.

comment here