American League Championship Series:
During the regular season, Cleveland managed to take four of seven games from Toronto. Although the Tribe was outscored 38 to 24 in these seven games, most of the damage came in a 17 to 1 blowout on July 3rd. Removing this one game, these teams played each other rather evenly as evidenced in four of seven contests being decided by one run. Another interesting note about their head to head regular season matchup – Cleveland won the first two of a four game series against Toronto as they ran their season long winning streak to 14 games. They then lost games three and four to Toronto with game three breaking their winning streak and game four being the 17-1 blowout loss.
A look at their overall regular season statistics shows that Cleveland scored more runs and held opponents to fewer runs than Toronto during the regular season. Some of this may be attributable to the weaker AL Central opponents Cleveland played more frequently (as compared to Toronto’s AL East opponents) but Cleveland’s pen also had a lot to do with the suppression of opponent run scoring.
The addition of Andrew Miller cannot be overstated and Francona’s bullpen usage has been masterful, however, Cleveland’s starting pitchers are going to have their work cut out for them as they try and battle a potent Blue Jays lineup that features 6 players who hit 20 or more homers. The Tribe found a way to quiet the Red Sox’s monster offense but Toronto at home in the dome is another beast entirely. With Cleveland’s rotation weakened by injury Toronto has the upper hand. Pick: Blue Jays in 6.
Playoff Predictions Update:
I nailed the Cubs in 4 games over the Giants in the NLDS. The Giants pen was a disaster. I had Toronto coasting past Texas in 4 games thinking that either Hamels or Darvish would throw a gem. They didn’t and the Jays swept them in 3. I didn’t even come close in the Cleveland series (I predicted Red Sox in 5). I correctly predicted both wild card games.
Win – Loss Record: 4 – 1 (and Nats – Dodgers still pending)
Past previews and predictions can be seen here: