The Cleveland Indians’ ability to keep one of the most potent offenses in the American League in check have them one win away from the sixth World Series appearance in franchise history. Cleveland turns to its ace Tuesday as it attempts to remain perfect in the postseason and complete a sweep of the AL Championship Series against the Blue Jays in Toronto.
After dispatching Boston in three games in the ALDS, the Indians limited the Blue Jays to three runs over the first three contests after the wild-card club collected 22 in its three-game sweep of Texas in the ALDS. The chances of Toronto breaking out of its scoring slump appear more difficult as it faces Corey Kluber, who tossed seven scoreless innings in a victory over Boston in the ALDS before keeping the Blue Jays off the scoreboard over 6 1/3 frames in a Game 1 triumph. Cleveland pushed Toronto to the brink of elimination with a 4-2 victory Monday as Mike Napoli delivered an RBI double and a solo homer, Jason Kipnis also went deep and six relievers combined to allow two runs over 8 1/3 innings after starter Trevor Bauer exited early with an injured right pinky finger. The Indians are seeking their first World Series appearance since 1997 and first championship since 1948.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, TBS, Sportsnet (Toronto)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Corey Kluber (2-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Aaron Sanchez (0-0, 9.53)
Kluber starts on three days’ rest for the first time in his career because of Bauer’s early departure, pushing rookie Ryan Merritt back a day if Game 5 is necessary. The 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner and also a candidate to capture the prize this year gave up only nine hits over his first two turns this postseason, walking five while registering 13 strikeouts. Kluber was superb against the Blue Jays in the series opener but was tagged for five runs on seven hits and four walks over 3 1/3 innings of a loss at Toronto on July 3.
Sanchez’s first career postseason start was one to forget as he surrendered six runs on three hits - two homers - and four walks over 5 2/3 innings against Texas in the AL Division Series but managed to walk away with a no-decision. That outing also took place at home, where the 24-year-old Californian went 6-1 with a 3.74 ERA in 13 turns during the regular season. Sanchez is 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA in three career games (two starts) against the Indians, including a no-decision on Aug. 20 in which he yielded five runs (four earned ) and four hits in four innings at Cleveland.
1. The Indians haven’t allowed multiple runs in an inning this postseason.
2. Toronto hit one homer in the series after belting eight in the three-game sweep over Texas and is 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
3. Cleveland LHP Andrew Miller struck out 13 of the 17 batters he faced in the ALCS.
PREDICTION: Indians 11, Blue Jays 2