Will a trip to Cleveland to face the Indians help wake up the slumbering bats for the New York Yankees? Join us for a free pick to place at betting sites for the second game of these teams’ long weekend set.
New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians
Friday, April 23, 2021 – 07:10 PM EDT at Progressive Field
New York prevailed in Thursday’s series opener, spotting Cleveland a 3-0 lead in the first before rallying for a 6-3 decision. It was the third consecutive win in the rivalry for the Yankees after they swept the short AL Wild Card series last September, the only meeting between the clubs in 2020.
A late home run in the series opener just sent the final past an 8-run total, extending the streak of ‘over’ winners in their matchups to 5-straight, including those two playoff contests last fall. The Indians won three of four in June 2019 when the Yankees last traveled to Cleveland, totals splitting in that 4-game set.
Bullpen Proving to be Yanks’ Strength
Friday’s clash begins with a matchup of southpaws on the mound, Jordan Montgomery (1-1, 4.24) taking his turn in the New York rotation opposite Cleveland’s Logan Allen (1-2, 4.50). The Yankees went out -130 at top sportsbooks, that moneyline up to -140 with an 8½-run total that is generally priced to the ‘under.’
Scoring six runs in the opener qualifies as an offensive outburst for the Yankees. It marked the first time New York has scored more than five runs in a regulation contest since April 6. While the bats have been quiet, the bullpen has been outstanding and a big reason why the Yankees aren’t off to an even a slower start to 2021.
Following an outstanding effort with seven scoreless innings in his season debut, Montgomery fell victim to the long ball in his two subsequent starts against the Tampa Bay Rays. New York managed to come out on top in the first of those, pulling out a 10-inning triumph, but the Yankees couldn’t overcome Montgomery’s misfortunes last Saturday in the Bronx where the only two hits he allowed went over the fence.
Montgomery’s only experience against the Indians came in August 2017 during his rookie campaign. The South Carolina native was sharp in a no-decision in Cleveland, a game the Yankees eventually won, and took the loss in the follow-up at home with four innings of work and four runs allowed.
‘Over’ Cashes Last 3 for Tribe
Cleveland has been on the downswing for nearly two weeks, dropping six of the last nine and having its own problems on offense. The Indians have scored just 28 runs in that 9-game stretch to sit 24th in the bigs averaging 3.82 RPG.
Allen looked good in his first two assignments, pitching a full five innings each time while allowing a total of three runs and the Indians splitting games at home against the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers. His third start began well enough last weekend in Cincinnati where Allen and Cleveland were +110 underdogs on the MLB odds.
The wheels fell off in the third, however, the floodgates opening with an error behind him and Allen hitting a batter. The Reds chased him three singles later, and Allen took the loss.
Friday will be his first career appearance against the Yankees, and no New York batter has faced Allen in an official game. He owns a 2-3 record in three starts and five relief appearances on the Progressive Field mound, pitching to a 3.60 ERA over 35 innings.
Umpire Notes, Cleveland Forecast & A Free Pick
While regular crew chief Gerry Davis is away, Andy Fletcher is filling in and will be working the dish in Game 2 of this series. The Tennessee native has called balls and strikes a couple of times this season, both contests going ‘over’ baseball betting totals that ran 9-10. Fletcher’s last five plate assignments in Cleveland have sent ‘under’ bettors back to the pay window four times.
Another chilly day is in the offing for the Cleveland area, though it’s going to be a little warmer than Thursday’s contest that was mostly played in the mid-40s. The weatherman is calling for 56° at game time with cloudy skies and a light WNW breeze (3B to RF foul pole).
New York fans are obviously happy to get a win in the opener and see their team post crooked numbers in a couple of innings, but I’m not in a rush to count on hitters with either the Yankees or Indians flexing their muscles just yet. Play Friday’s tilt to fall short of the total for your MLB Picks.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.