5. New York Yankees @ 4. Cleveland Indians
Gerrit Cole vs. Shane Bieber
Tuesday, September 29th, 7:00 pm EST
The Yankees are going to have their work cut out for them right from the start. With Shane Bieber on the mound for the Indians in game one, the Yankees will be facing a pitcher who won the first Triple Crown since 2006, and he is the undoubted American League Cy Young.
As for the Yankees, they’ll have a guy on the mound who was expected to do just that in his first season with the Yankees, Gerrit Cole. Unfortunately for the Yankees, Cole hit a rough patch this season and lost three games in a row, but those were the only three games he lost in 2020.
Cole finished the season with a 7-3 record in 12 starts with a 2.84 ERA in 73 innings pitched, a 0.959 WHIP, and 93 total strikeouts. As for Bieber, he finished the season with an 8-1 record in 12 starts with a 1.63 ERA in 77.1 innings pitched, a 0.866 WHIP, and 122 total strikeouts.
That being said, the Yankees are going to have a very, very tough game one and if they want to get off to a good start, Gerrit Cole will have to be on top of his game. However, the good news for the Yankees is that the last time they faced Shane Bieber (June 9th, 2019) they took Bieber out of the game in 1.2 innings after tallying five hits and five earned runs.
Obviously, Bieber wasn’t nearly the pitcher he is now, but that’s simply the last time Bieber faced the Yankees, so that’s the only thing we have to go off of. As for Gerrit Cole, he went up against the Indians twice in 2019, going seven innings in both outings with a total of seven hits, three earned runs, 14 strikeouts, and five walks.
That being said, the history of these two pitchers against the other team, points in the Yankees’ direction, but once again, that was 2019. Both Bieber and Cole are much different pitchers and this game could truly go either way. The only thing we know for sure is that this is going to be one heck of a game.
Prediction: Indians win 3-2
Based off of the fact that the Yankees went 2-6 against the Blue Jays, Marlins, and Red Sox in their final eight games, and averaged only TWO RUNS in those six losses, I can’t see the Yankees beating a pitcher who had maybe the most dominant season of any pitcher since 2006.
All that being said, I see the Yankees battling in game one in what will most certainly be a pitcher’s duel between Cole and Bieber, but ultimately losing in a close one.