- Gerrit Cole and the #5 Yankees visit Shane Bieber and the #4 Indians in Game 1 of their AL Wild Card series
- New York is a slight favorite (-110) over Cleveland (-106)
- First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Tuesday, Sep. 29th
After 60 games against the same nine teams, the Indians and Yankees will face off for the first time in 2020 in Game 1 of their AL Wild-Card Series.
Thanks to a 35-win regular season, Cleveland holds home-field advantage. This season, that means all games in the series will take place at Progressive Field.
Game 1 is set to start at 7:00 pm ET on a cool and breezy Tuesday night.
Yankees vs Indians Game 1 Odds
|New York Yankees||-110||-1.5 (+175)||Over 6.0 (-115)|
|Cleveland Indians||-106||+1.5 (-215)||Under 6.0 (-106)|
Odds as of Sep. 28th at DraftKings.
It’s a bit of a surprise to see how close the books have Game 1. After all, the Yankees are, on average, way ahead of the Indians when it comes to the 2020 World Series odds. Initially, the total seems a little low as well. Three of the Yanks’ last four and four of Cleveland’s last five games have exceeded six runs.
Of course, you have got to take the matchup on the mound into consideration.
Cole, Bieber Square Off in Game 1
New York gave Gerrit Cole $324 million this off-season for exactly this spot. He wasn’t signed to get to the playoffs; he was brought in to dominate in October.
But he’ll have to go shot-for-shot with 2020’s most dominant starter.
Cole vs Bieber: 2020 Comparison
|6.1||Innings Per Start||6.4|
Sixty-game season or not, Bieber’s numbers are ridiculous.
The 25-year-old set career bests in strikeouts, hits, and home runs per nine innings. He did struggle a bit with walks, setting a career high with a 2.4 BB/9.
— WFAN Sports Radio (@WFAN660) September 28, 2020
That success will be put to the test against the Yanks. Bieber has started two games in his career against New York and carries an 8.31 ERA. He’s given up one homer, but walked four and allowed 10 hits in just 8.2 innings.
Cole has a 1-1 record against the Indians over the last two seasons, striking out 22 over 21 innings with a 1.29 ERA.
Progressive Field Could Be the Equalizer
While there won’t be any fans in attendance, the Indians greatest weapon could be the mental aspect of homefield advantage.
It sounds strange, but in a season where the Yankees never left the East Coast, they were terrible on the road.
New York Yankees 2020 Home/ Road Splits
Cleveland offered a lot more consistency. They were 18-12 at home and 17-13 on the road. While their offensive numbers were comparable, they actually allowed more runs at Progressive Field (120) than on the road.
Yankees have been a much different team on the road this season.
Cole has to take Game 1 or they’re done.
— Ryan Field (@RyanFieldABC) September 28, 2020
Over the last two seasons, the Yankees are 8-6 against the Indians, but they’re 3-4 in Cleveland, getting outscored 36-32.
Indians Offense the Question Mark
You shouldn’t need it but if you aren’t aware of what the Yankees’ offense can do, here’s the short version. They were first in the AL in OBP and OPS, second in Slugging Percentage and sixth in average. New York was first in runs scored and walks, and second in home runs.
The Indians’ offense has been so disappointing that even some of the cardboard cutouts left early.
— Monte the Color Man (@Monte_Colorman) September 23, 2020
New York averaged 6.2 runs in support of Cole. Bieber finished 100 spots below Cole in that category at 3.2 runs of support, which makes his 2020 even more impressive. Cleveland was 12th or worse in the AL in most offensive categories. They were ninth in OBP.
Bieber’s History Bites Him
In a normal season, we’d know if Bieber was over his Yankees-induced yips. But all we can go on is recent history.
If you want a comparable, he was able to shutdown the White Sox in his last start, but they did hang three runs on him earlier in the season.
Ultimately, Bieber is better than he’s been against the Bronx Bombers, but the run support issues are too much to overcome against a pitcher as good as Cole.
The Picks: Yankees (-110), Over 6.0 (-110)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.