5. New York Yankees @ 4. Cleveland Indians
TBD vs. Zach Plesac
Thursday, October 1st, TBD
The Yankees don’t have a probable starter for game three (should there be one) yet, but it will undoubtedly be between J.A. Happ and Deivi Garcia, Jordan Montgomery is also an option, but that is more unlikely than the other two.
If I had to guess, it will likely be J.A. Happ, potentially with the options to use Garcia, Montgomery, and maybe even Gerrit Cole, out of the bullpen. Happ had a 2-2 record in nine starts, with a 3.47 ERA in 49.1 innings pitched, with a 1.054 WHIP and 42 total strikeouts.
On the other side, the Indians will throw Zach Plesac on the mound who went 4-2 in eight starts with a 2.28 ERA in 55.1 innings pitched, with a 0.795 WHIP and 57 total strikeouts.
In game three the pendulum swings back into the Indians’ favor if you look at strictly season numbers, but Happ’s ERA is what it is because of his rough start. Happ went seven total innings between his first two starts, allowing a combined eight earned runs on seven hits.
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However, if you look at his last eight starts, you’ll see he allowed only 11 earned runs in 42.1 innings pitched, including two outings where he didn’t allow a single earned run in 15.1 combined innings pitched.
That being said, Happ was a much better pitcher throughout the 2020 season than his numbers indicate, and should the Wild Card Series get to a game three, the Yankees would likely have the advantage if they put J.A. Happ on the mound.
Prediction: Yankees win 4-2
Game three favors the Yankees simply because of how good J.A. Happ was towards the end of the season, and because of the fact that they could use Deivi Garcia and Jordan Montgomery out of the bullpen if they needed, and maybe even Gerrit Cole.
For these reasons, and because the Yankees have better bats than the Indians, I believe the Yankees win game three and win the Wild Card Series 2-1, moving onto the ALDS where they would play the winner of the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays.