Yankees-Indians: Epic Pitching Showdown Between Severino & Kluber

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 5:23 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2018 5:23 PM UTC

The marquee series of the final weekend of the first half of the season is Yankees at Indians, and Thursday’s opener features arguably the pitching matchup of the year.

NY Yankees at ClevelandThursday, 7:10 p.m. ET (MLB Network)Free MLB Pick: Under & IndiansBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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There aren’t many baseball matchups in the 162-game slog that make you stand up and take notice, but Thursday’s epic pitching showdown between the Yankees’ Luis Severino and Indians’ Corey Kluber is must-see TV. Thankfully, MLB Network has the series opener from Progressive Field.

The Indians are going to win the AL Central for the third straight season, that’s a fact. Some of SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks aren’t even offering odds because it’s such a foregone conclusion. No other Central team is even sniffing a .500 record. The Yankees and Red Sox, meanwhile, are going to be in a deathmatch all season to win the AL East and avoid the wild-card game – most likely against Seattle. Cleveland would then open the ALDS against either the AL East winner or Houston, assuming the Astros win the West.

The Yankees swept three games from the Tribe in the Bronx from May 4-6. AL Rookie of the Year candidate Gleyber Torres was great that series with two homers and six RBIs, including the walk-off three-run shot in the finale. In doing so, he became the youngest Yankees player to hit a walk-off homer, surpassing a guy named Mickey Mantle. Alas, Torres is on the DL now with a hip strain. Giancarlo Stanton was quiet that series with no RBIs and four strikeouts. Aaron Judge had a homer and five Ks. Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez was 4-for-11 in the series with a homer and AL MVP candidate Francisco Lindor 4-for-12 with a homer and two doubles.

Of course, New York also took the final three games of last year's ALDS between the teams.

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Probable Pitchers: Severino vs. Kluber

It’s arguably the best pitching matchup of the entire season thus far between Cy Young candidates and All-Stars Luis Severino of the Yankees and Corey Kluber of the Indians. Both are in line to potentially start next Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic in Washington, D.C., with Severino the leader.

In the most updated Bovada odds, Severino was the Cy Young favorite, and he should be at 14-2 with a 2.12 ERA. He’s first in the AL in wins, second in ERA, third in innings, fifth in WHIP (0.96) and sixth in strikeouts (143). He has been the most profitable pitcher in the majors at +$1335 as the Yankees are 17-2 in his outings. The 24-year-old’s losses were at the Mets and Red Sox. Severino is only the fourth pitcher in franchise history with at least 14 wins before the All-Star break; also just the fourth to do so in the majors since 2003.

Severino missed Cleveland in the first series but did beat the Tribe in Game 4 of last year’s ALDS, allowing three earned runs with nine strikeouts in seven innings. Ramirez has had some regular-season success off him, going 3-for-10 with two homers. Lindor is 3-for-11 with a homer.

Kluber (12-4, 2.49) is a two-time Cy Young winner, including last year’s. He has actually been worth minus-$32 on the season because the Indians are always huge favorites when he starts and are 12-7 overall in his 2018 outings. Kluber is Top 10 in just about every major pitching category, including first in innings (126.1) and second in WHIP (0.88).

He comes off seven shutout innings vs. Oakland but didn’t factor in the decision. Kluber also missed the earlier series with the Yankees but wasn’t good against them in the 2017 ALDS, going 0-1 with a 12.79 ERA in his two starts. He was on the mound for the losing Game 5 at home when Didi Gregorius homered twice off him (see above video). That was after dominating the Yankees with two regular-season wins.

No Yankee is hitting better than .263 career off Kluber. Aaron Hicks is an ugly 3-for-23 with eight strikeouts. Believe it or not, neither Stanton nor Judge has seen him in the regular season.

  • Yankees are 2-5 in their last 7 games vs. a right-handed starter.
  • Indians are 18-5 in Kluber’s last 23 starts during game 1 of a series.
  • Indians are 6-1 in Kluber’s last 7 starts vs. Yankees.
  • Under is 10-4-1 in Severino’s last 15 starts overall.
  • Under is 5-2 in Kluber’s last 7 starts during game 1 of a series.

This likely will be personal for Kluber after his implosion against New York in the postseason. Plus, you are almost never going to get him at this price at home, where he has a 1.43 ERA in 2018 (second-best home ERA in majors). Bet Cleveland for a Thursday MLB pick and parlay it with the ‘under.’

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