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Cleveland Indians vs. Toronto Blue Jays MLB Predictions, Picks and Preview – American League Championship Series Game Five – October 19, 2016

Cleveland Indians vs. Toronto Blue Jays MLB Predictions, Picks and Preview – American League Championship Series Game Five – October 19, 2016


Cleveland Indians vs. Toronto Blue Jays ALCS Game 5 Preview

Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto

When: Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 4:00 PM ET

Line: Cleveland Indians (+160) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (-180); total: 8.0 – view all MLB lines

TV Broadcast: TBS

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Betting on the Cleveland Indians (+160)

Already on the brink of their first World Series appearance since 1997, the Cleveland Indians failed to complete the sweep of the ALCS, losing Game 4 to the reignited Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, 5-1.

The Indians had a lackluster effort getting on base that evening, as catcher Roberto Perez drove in the only run scored in the game with a one-run double in the fifth inning. The Tribe were undefeated in the playoffs entering yesterday’s contest, and they even finished the regular season with the fifth-most runs scored and the sixth-best collective batting average (.262) in the majors. However, they are only hitting a dismal .164 in this series against Toronto.

With the loss, Cleveland saw its nine-game win streak snapped at the worst rime. The team’s playoff success thus far has mainly come from its outstanding bullpen, but the likes of reliever Andrew Miller and closer Cody Allen did not seeing any action given the Jays’ rather comfortable lead on Tuesday. They’ll both need to be ready for their numbers to be called in Game 5, as unproven rookie Ryan Merritt (1-0, 1.64 ERA) is set to start the final game of the series north of the border.

Although Merritt allowed only one run and three hits over five innings in a win over the Kansas City Royals in his only Major League start on September 30, having 11 total innings of big-league work does not inspire much confidence unto the 24-year-old lefty’s first-career playoff start. That leaves the Indians bullpen with a tall order of filling in for the youngster if things do not go as planned early on.

Then again, the Indians are such a tenacious bunch this year that there’s still no reason why they can’t close out the series this Wednesday afternoon. They’re actually the only team this season to not lose four-straight games. And prior to Game 4’s loss, they’ve won five-straight contests with four of those having been won be three runs or less.

Betting on the Toronto Blue Jays (-180)

The big bats of the Toronto Blue Jays were bound to come to life, and they certainly did this Tuesday in Game 5. 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson hit a solo homer deep into Rogers Centre that day to give the Jays their first lead of the series against the Indians, and star slugger Edwin Encarnacion gave his team some leg room soon after, finishing with two hits and a couple of runs batted-in.

Donaldson’s five-game hit streak with three doubles and three RBIs is a welcome statistic. Encarnacion’s production in Game 4, meanwhile, is all the more pivotal, as he needs to be Toronto’s most consistent hitter in this series. He had a five-game hitting streak going for him with three doubles and seven RBIs to start the playoffs before getting blanked by Cleveland’s pitchers in Games 3 and 4.

It’s one thing to have found your offense again, and it’s another to have some solid pitching to back up those runs. Luckily for the Blue Jays, they’ll have Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.48 ERA) start this Wednesday afternoon. Estrada is fresh off a dazzling two-run, eight-inning outing from Game 1 of the series, albeit in a loss wherein those two runs given up were all the Indians needed to prevail with the victory.

However, the bottom line for Blue Jays remains that they need to score more so than have a superb night on the mound. They won all four previous contests wherein they scored four or more runs, whereas they lost their last three contests that they failed to do so. But with Toronto’s top bats starting to heat up and the series staying in Canuck country for one more day, it appears as though the blue birds of the north will live to fight another day as they aim to take the series back to Cleveland for Game 6.

Writer’s Prediction

The Blue Jays win with enough just offense once more, 5-3.

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Written by Mark

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