MLB Baseball: Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 19, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 1:05 p.m. ET
Venue: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
Where to watch: Bally Sports Great Lakes, YES

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Yankees -365, Indians +280
BetMGM: NL
Caesars: NL

Season record (entering Saturday)
Indians: 71-74 (2nd place, AL Central)
Yankees: 83-65 (3rd place, AL East)

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Indians - Yankees preview and analysis


Recent form
Indians: 3-7 in last 10
Yankees: 5-5 in last 10

Perhaps the most exhausting aspect of a 162-game baseball season is the constant flip-flopping in the playoff standings.

And if you’re a fan of the New York Yankees, I apologize for the craziness that has ensued over the past couple of weeks. But have no fear, because the Yankees are back in the American League Wild Card chase with less than 20 games to go.

The Yankees will look to continue this mini wave of momentum when they close a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

New York enters Saturday having won four of its last five after losing this past weekend’s Subway Series against the New York Mets. The Yankees took two of three against the Baltimore Orioles, but rebounded from Thursday’s 3-2 loss with an 8-0 series-opening win against Cleveland.

Corey Kluber had arguably his best performance since coming back from the injured list a month ago. The former Indians star, who won the Cy Young with Cleveland once upon a time, threw six scoreless innings and allowed only four hits while striking out four.

"It doesn't matter whether I'm pitching against a former team or pitching against somebody else -- we've got to go out there and try to win every ballgame, every night," Kluber said. "That was the only objective tonight, to contribute to getting a win for the team. That's the position that we're in -- we've got to win every night.”

Joey Gallo hit two homers to take the team lead with 37, and Aaron Judge crushed his 35th home run of the season to pace the Yankees offense. Giancarlo Stanton also hit his 29th homer in the eighth inning to put a cap on a much-needed win.

The Yankees can thank the Minnesota Twins for defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 in Toronto on Friday night. New York re-took a half-game lead on the surging Blue Jays for the second wild card spot, and still trail the Boston Red Sox for the top wild card spot. Safe to say, that race will be tight throughout September.

The Indians are running out of time, although we knew their postseason hopes would be dashed sooner rather than later. Their elimination number in the American League Central is down to five, while the eliminator for the wild-card race is down to six.

Zach Plesac did all he could to keep the Indians in it, going six innings and allowing five earned runs while striking out six. But the offense did not do much in this matchup. The 1-5 hitters combined to go 1-for-18 while the Indians went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

"I would say more so than none this year rather than the pitches getting away," Plesac said, "it's unfortunate events that happened that kind of lead to things not going my way. I'm trying to keep a good attitude as much as I can all the time.”

Cy Young candidate Gerrit Cole will take the mound Sunday for the Yankees against Cleveland starter Eli Morgan.

Prediction


It’s still difficult to trust the Yankees in these late stages, but they should be able to handle business against these inferior teams. We’d rather trust Cole in this situation to get the job done in a must-win game, and that’s where the comfort factor resides. Yankees win 6-2.

Betting trends


The Indians are 8-21 (-7 net games on the moneyline) when an underdog of +150 or more this season.

The Yankees are 41-26 (-12.8 net games) when a favorite of -150 or more, and 18-12 when specifically between -175 and -250.

Players to watch


Indians: The batting average has dipped a bit for star Jose Ramirez, but the power has been there. In August, Ramirez hit nine home runs and drove in 22 runs while batting .273. He’s hit only two homers in the month of September.

Yankees: We can never forget how much of an impact Giancarlo Stanton can make at any given point. In the last 30 days, he’s hit .309 with 10 home runs and 21 RBI.

Projected lineup


Indians:
Myles Straw (R) CF
Bradley Zimmer (L) RF
Jose Ramirez (S) 3B
Franmil Reyes (R) DH
Bobby Bradley (L) 1B
Harold Ramirez (R) LF
Owen Miller (R) 2B
Roberto Perez (R) C
Andres Gimenez (L) SS

Yankees:
DJ LeMahieu (R) 3B
Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
Aaron Judge (R) RF
Giancarlo Stanton (R) DH
Joey Gallo (L) LF
Gleyber Torres (R) 2B
Gio Urshela (R) SS
Brett Gardner (L) CF
Kyle Higashioka (R) C

Statistical leaders


Indians:
Batting average: Amed Rosario (.279)
Hits: Amed Rosario (144)
Home runs: Jose Ramirez (33)
RBI: Jose Ramirez (90)
Stolen bases: Jose Ramirez (24)
Wins: Aaron Civale & Zach Plesac (10)
Saves: Emmanuel Clase (23)
ERA: Aaron Civale (3.59)

Yankees:
Batting average: Aaron Judge (.288)
Hits: DJ LeMahieu (150)
Home runs: Joey Gallo (37)
RBI: Aaron Judge (85)
Stolen bases: Tyler Wade (15)
Wins: Gerrit Cole (15)
Saves: Aroldis Chapman (27)
ERA: Gerrit Cole (2.75)

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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