MLB – Boston at Cleveland

MLB – Boston at Cleveland

Cleveland stands 27 outs away from returning to the World Series with the hopes of breaking the longest running American League streak between championships


2007-10-19

Cleveland stands 27 outs away from returning to the World Series with the hopes of breaking the longest running American League streak between championships, which currently stands at 59 years. In order to take the next step they will have to do so with there best pitcher an underdog in his home ballpark. As the Indians chase this dream they are also trying to make history, since no team has ever beaten the Yankees and Boston in the postseason.

The Colorado Rockies literally came out of nowhere with possibly the greatest run ever in the history of sports to play in the Fall Classic. As Cleveland stands one game away from closing out the ALCS, maybe no team has had less fanfare about how well they have played down the stretch than the Indians.

Since the formulation of this current playoff format, the team with the best record has not always been World Series champions. What has instead occurred is the team playing the best towards the end of the season has won more often than not. In Cleveland’s case they have quietly had the best record in all of major league baseball since August 15, at 37-14. In any discussion concerning postseason play, the old adage – good pitching beats good hitting – is true for the Tribe. As Cleveland entered play on that middle of August day, their team earned run average was 4.38. Since that time the Indians pitchers are collectively stingy, holding opponents to meager 3.15 ERA.

Sportsbook.com has Eric Wedge’s club as +110 underdogs with a total of Un8.5. How can a team up 3-1 in the series with its ace at home be an underdog? Largely because the ace has pitched like a joker in the postseason. In two October starts C.C. Sabathia has allowed 11 runs on 11 hits, including 11 walks in only 9 1/3 innings. He has not had command of any single pitch he throws. Maybe he is better suited in the role of underdog since he and the Tribe are 14-4 against the money line as an underdog of +100 to +150 over the last three seasons.

Being down three games to one is not a death sentence for Boston, though it is close. In the last 13 times a team was down in this exact situation in the ALCS, they have managed to win three times. One of those times happened three years ago, with many of the current Red Sox players still were on this club from the miracle against New York. If nothing else it is a rallying cry knowing if they can win tonight they return home. Boston’s best pitcher Josh Beckett has also been down this path, just with another team when Florida over came the Cubs in 2003. The Red Sox are 83-43 against the ML as a favorite of -110 or higher this season. A large portion of those wins came with Beckett on the mound, as the Red Sox have been unbeatable 10-0 as road favorites with the former Marlin on the hill. In his relatively short career, Beckett has proven to be one of the best postseason pitchers in recent baseball history.

For bettors seeking an edge, this system might be the right one. Teams that have two or more consecutive wins in the playoffs and are underdogs of +100 to +150 on the ML have won 75 percent the last five seasons. (21-7)

First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 Eastern on Fox.

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