With CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.34 ERA) and Mike Clevinger (7-4, 3.34 ERA) facing off, the pivotal game three of the 4-game set between the Indians and Yankees begins at 7:15 EST / 4:15 PT today, and the plot line is simple. New York needs to get into the anemic Cleveland bullpen as early as possible, while Clevinger has to keep Yankee hitters off balance all night long, and hope his powerful offense can build up a bullpen-proof lead.
Bronx Bombers vs Clevinger
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Tonight, Mike Clevinger will be making his third appearance and second career start against the Yankees. In his first start, he threw a gem at The Stadium on May 6th, when he had the misfortune to pitch against Domingo German and his 6 innings of hitless ball. Clevinger had his own no-hitter going until Aaron Hicks ended that thought with a sharp single to right-center in the 5th. He was lifted in the 8th with a 4-0 lead, 1 out and 2 on.
Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge knocked in runs to bring it a 4-3 deficit. In the bottom of the 9th, Gleyber Torres blasted a 3-run homer off Dan Otero for a 7-4 Yankee walk-off victory. Clevinger did not figure in the decision as closer Cody Allen took the loss. That was the game Jordan Montgomery exited after 1 inning with a left elbow flexor strain that resulted in Tommy John surgery, and the promising lefty on the shelf until mid-2019.
Clevinger ($8,800) has a arsenal that features a mid-90s four-seam fastball, which he throws over 50% of the time. He also incorporates a slider, change, and curve. He’ll rarely throw the curveball (80mph) when behind in the count, but depends on it heavily when ahead of the hitter, and its usually low and inside to right-handed hitters, and low and outside to lefties.
While all batter sample sizes (23 total at-bats) are too small against Clevinger, Judge is the only Yankee to homer off him. But drafting New York hitters tonights, you should consider Aaron Hicks ($4,900), Gardner ($4,800), Didi Gregorius and Judge ($5,100) — who is probably due to hit one on the road.
Who CC Needs To Watch Out For
Start with the most expensive shortstop in the entire contest, Francisco Lindor ($5,600), who is 6 for 12 against The Big Man. Jose Ramirez ($5,600) is also hitting .500 in a small sample (5-10), and a heated up Yonder Alonzo ($4,000) might be added to this list. Sabathia ($6,700) will be making his 13th start against his old club, with a 4-3, 3.36 ERA mark against them.
Wise Guy Wisdom
Last night the under/over was 9 and the final run total was 10 (amazing how they do that, huh?). Tonight the under/over is the same, 9. Keeping it under depends on Clevinger, as the Yankees could pounce on the Cleveland bullpen for 9 runs right there, plus the totals have gone over in 4 of the last 6 games New York played at Progressive Field. A consensus money line favors the Yankees, -103.
Last Night: Impatient Bats Doom Rally in 9th
Tribe closer Cody Allen could not find the plate, giving Neil Walker a free pass and once again put the tying run on base in the 9th. With Didi pinch hitting for Klye Higashioka, it looked like a little magic was brewing but Didi did Allen a favor and jumped on the first pitch, lifting a harmless fly to short left field. Game over. Seven-game winning streak against Cleveland over. Tribe wins.
Remember this is for speculation only, not meant to be taken as gospel. And don’t forget to double-check your lineup(s) just prior to game time as the weather may create havoc for you. We exist under the manta that “You can’t predict baseball” but it’s fun trying. Good luck with your lineup and let’s go Yankees!