MLB Picks: Cleveland Indians vs. Toronto Blue Jays

Aaron Sanchez pitching up close picture

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 2:45 PM GMT

On the brink of their first pennant in 19 years, the Cleveland Indians send Corey Kluber to the mound in Toronto as favorites on the MLB odds against the Blue Jays.

 

Season: 44-45 (+1.60) Postseason: 1-5 (-4.10)

We finally saw a little offense in the ALCS as the Cleveland Indians popped a couple of homers in a 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, and I finally made the right play for an MLB postseason game in the process.

Now, are we seeing the Blue Jays for the final time this season when the clubs quickly return to the diamond at Rogers Centre this afternoon for Game 4 of the series? First pitch comes at 4:08 PM (ET) with TBS providing matinee coverage, and a late pitching change by the Indians has delayed the lines, meaning bettors will want to keep their browsers pointed to SBR's live MLB odds to catch the early numbers when they're released later this morning.

That pitching change has Cleveland ace Corey Kluber on the hill, fittingly since the Indians are going for their first AL pennant since 1997. Aaron Sanchez, Toronto's rising young righthander, opposes Kluber and I'm expecting the Tribe to be favored around a -125 moneyline. The first three games of the set have all gone 'under' totals of either 7½ or 8½.

 


Kluber On Short Rest, Sanchez With Extra Rest


What led to the pitching change and put Cleveland in the driver's seat with a 3-0 lead in the ALCS was Monday night's happenings in Toronto. Trevor Bauer took the mound for the Indians despite a severely mangled right pinky, the result of an accident last week while working on his drone. Bauer only lasted four batters, forcing Tribe manager Terry Francona to his bullpen very early.

Along the way, Mike Clevinger, originally slated to be Cleveland's Game 4 starter, warmed up in case he was needed in Game 3, and that ended plans to use him to open today's contest. Kluber had been rumored to possibly start today on short rest, and that's indeed what will happen. The 2014 AL Cy Young honoree and winner of 20 games this season has been practically untouchable in the playoffs, so far tossing 13.1 innings of scoreless baseball and picking up the 2-0 Game 1 victory over Toronto in this series.

Sanchez is climbing the bump for the first time in nine days, his last appearance coming in Toronto's 7-6 ALDS clincher over the Rangers. The 24-year-old righthander didn't prove to be much of a mystery against Texas hitters, leaving the game in the sixth with the Jays trailing 6-5. He was a winner during the regular season, however, Toronto coming out on top in 19 of his 31 starts, and like this entire ALCS, 'under' bettors came up huge in his games that ran 10-21 O/U. He faced the Indians once in Cleveland, and while the Blue Jays won, Sanchez wasn't at his best (4 IP, 4 ER).

 


Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick


If Cleveland fans need an extra reason to believe their club will pull off the sweep, umpire Jim Reynolds might be it. The 18-year veteran will have the dish today after 19 of his 28 regular season plate assignments ended in victory for visiting teams. Reynolds didn't show much of a lean on totals which ran 15-13 O/U when he called balls and strikes, the one game he worked in Toronto just skipping 'over' the hurdle.

Given how the Indians have performed in the playoffs, and especially how Kluber has pitched, it's difficult not to take them for my baseball pick. But instead, I'm going to simply bet against the sweep with a play on Toronto.

 

Free MLB Pick: Blue Jays -120

Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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