The Toronto Blue Jays face what is virtually a must-win on Monday night at home as they host the Cleveland Indians in Game 3 of the ALCS on TBS. The Blue Jays are down 0-2 in the series and teams that fall down 0-3 have come back to win a series just once in 33 tries. It is already bad enough for Toronto as 24 of the 27 teams that have taken 2-0 leads in a series have gone on to the World Series. The Blue Jays will turn to Marcus Stroman on Monday while the Indians send Trevor Bauer. Let’s look at the game and MLB picks.
MLB Playoff Odds
Toronto Blue Jays -200, total 9 under
Probable Pitching Matchup – Bauer vs. Stroman
Bauer started Game 1 of the ALDS against Boston and he didn’t really pitch well as he allowed three runs on six hits including two home runs in just 4.2 innings. Bauer went 12-8 this season with a 4.26 ERA. He has now given up three runs or more in seven straight starts. He has faced the Blue Jays three times in his career and the Indians won two of the three meetings.
Stroman is just 9-10 this season with a 4.37 ERA. He has dominated the Indians in his career though and he faced the Indians twice this season and struck out 15 in 14 innings and allowed just two runs.
The Indians have been great at home this season but they have not played nearly as well on the road as they scored 1.5 fewer runs per game. Cleveland hasn’t done much hitting in this series as they are hitting just .182 but they are up 2-0 in the series. "We've got five or six guys in the lineup who haven't even checked in yet," Jason Kipnis said. "The fact that we scraped out two wins, holding home field, with only a few guys swinging the bat well, is very encouraging."
The Indians haven’t needed to score many runs in this series as Toronto has been pathetic on offense. The Blue Jays have a .159 batting average with 25 strikeouts in 63 at-bats. "History shows that we can hit the baseball," Russell Martin said. "It definitely would be nice to start doing that."
The Blue Jays had just three hits in the 2-1 loss in Game 2. Jose Bautista is 0 for 6 with five strikeouts and Russell Martin is 1 for 7. "Everyone in this room is confident that we can get it done," Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson said. "We're not out of it. I still believe we can do it."
The Blue Jays went 46-35 at home this season so they have the ability to turn this series around. "Having home-field advantage is good - and we're going to need it," said left-hander J.A. Happ, "Hopefully, we can feed off the fans."
The Indians are 6-0 in their last 6 vs. American League East. The Indians are 1-4 in their last 5 League Championship road games. The Indians are 9-3 in Bauer’s last 12 starts.
The Blue Jays are 5-1 in their last 6 playoff home games. The Blue Jays are 6-2 in Stroman’s last 8 home starts.
The Over is 5-1-1 in the Indians last 7 playoff road games. The Over is 6-0-1 in Bauer’s last 7 starts overall. The Under is 4-1 in the Blue Jays last 5 home games. The Under is 4-0 in Stroman’s last 4 home starts. The Under is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings in Toronto.
I will take the Blue Jays and the game over the total.