4) Cleveland Indians V. 5) New York Yankees
My how the mighty have fallen. After signing Gerrit Cole to a monster deal in the off-season, the Yankees were the favorites to represent the American League in the World Series. And then the Yankees’ injury problems continued to pop up. Before the season started it was announced co-ace Luis Severino would undergo Tommy John surgery while both bash brothers Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge spent long stints on the IL. Throw in James Paxton, D.J. LeMahieu, Gleybor Torres, Zack Britton, and Tommy Kahnle, and the majority of the Yankees core was hurt at some point. With an injured Yankees offense facing a Cleveland Indians starting rotation that finished first in ERA, all of the pressure in the world will be on Gerrit Cole and the rest of the Yankees rotation. In his first season with the Yankees, Cole went 7-2, with a 2.84 ERA, and 94 strikeouts in 73 innings pitched. However, he will be facing off against Shane Bieber in Game One and will need to be at his best.
This might be the Indians last best chance at winning a title with their current core. Fransisco Lindor is getting ever so close to free agency and the team will more than likely trade him away. But in the meantime, the Indians are back in the playoffs after barely missing making it in 2019. After a down 2019 season, Jose Ramirez is having himself an MVP caliber year. He is hitting .292, with 17 homers, 46 RBIs, and an OPS of .993.
The Indians will go as far as their starting rotation will carry them. Ace Shane Bieber just won the pitching triple crown (led the AL in ERA, strikeouts, and wins) and is a lock to win the American League Cy Young. The breakout star went 9-1, with a ridiculous 1.63 ERA, and 122 strikeouts in 77.1 innings pitched. Joining Bieber in the playoff rotation is Carlos Carrasco and Zach Plesac. That’s a dangerous trio.
Prediction: The Indian’s rotation will cruise through the Yankees lineup. Indians in 2.