After a profitable run in the Wild Card round, let’s shift our addition to the ALDS. Here’s my handicapping strategy for Yankees – Guardians odds in Game 1 of their best-of-five series.
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Yankees – Guardians Odds: Game 1
If you followed me during the 2021-22 college basketball season, my strategy with the Providence Friars reflected that of the Guardians.
I backed them until what I thought was the “peak,” as much of the betting market jumped on board. However, they both proved me wrong. At least I grabbed a piece of Providence before its Sweet 16 outright loss (despite covering against the spread) to Kansas.
But, per usual, I digress. In regards to Yankees – Guardians odds, New York ace Gerrit Cole opposes right-hander Cal Quantrill. Although Quantrill’s peripherals (4.31 xERA, 18.8% strikeout rate) suggest that his 3.38 ERA will rise, that tends to be the case for contact pitchers.
Quantrill represents a fly ball pitcher (37.8%) while the sinker is his most utilized pitch type. The Yankees boast a star-studded lineup, led by soon-to-be AL MVP Aaron Judge, but their -0.08 run value versus sinkers is their second-lowest mark against any hurl (via FanGraphs). Infielder DJ LeMahieu, their best contact hitter, is sidelined with a toe injury as well.
On the flip side, Cole has accrued the third-highest strikeout rate (32.4%) among qualified starters. Still, Cleveland owns the league’s lowest strikeout rate (18.2%), thanks to leadoff hitter Steven Kwan and its overall patient at-bats. The Guardians’ struggles against fastballs — Cole’s primary pitch — are well-documented, yet their ability to shorten Cole’s outings could come into play.
Terry Francona’s rested bullpen has a significant edge, too, headlined by its top-rated 2.78 FIP in the second half. New York won’t have Albert Abreu (right elbow inflammation) at its disposal, and fellow reliever Clay Holmes (right shoulder strain) reportedly may not be ready to pitch from the get-go of this series.
Related: World Series Odds
Yankees – Guardians Series Odds
The consensus series price on the Guardians is +175. Cleveland would throw Shane Bieber, who employed the cutter much more often after the All-Star break, twice if this series reaches five games. Well, Giancarlo Stanton & Co. showcase MLB’s sixth-highest run value versus that particular pitch type.
Moreover, Bieber will square off against southpaw Nestor Cortes. Jose Ramirez and his teammates’ wRC+ is 22 points lower versus lefties.
With that being said, I’ll likely back the Guardians’ Tristan McKenzie in Saturday’s Game 3. Keep in mind, the budding 25-year-old manufactured a 2.89 FIP and 5.53 strikeout-to-walk ratio, respectively, in the second half.