World Series Betting: Indians vs Cubs Game 6

jake-arrieta-vs-indiansHaving lost two straight games at home and on the brink of elimination, the Chicago Cubs needed a big win to extend the World Series. And they did this on Sunday, beating the Cleveland Indians 3-2, narrowing the series gap to 3-2 as action heads back to Progressive Field.

The Cubs used a 3-run barrage in the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead. They would never relinquish the lead as Jon Lester pitched 6-plus solid innings, and closer Aroldis Chapman got the final eight outs to end the game.

“A lot of people in Chicago have not seen a World Series game win,” said first baseman Anthony Rizzo, referencing how the Cubs hadn’t won a home World Series game since 1945. “I’m sure it’s emotional for everyone. It’s emotional for us.”

Chicago manager Joe Maddon was caught up in the emotion too, admitting it to the Washington Post after the game.

“Please be nervous,” said Maddon. “Absolutely. You should be nervous. We have to win tonight, so go ahead and be nervous. It’s up to us to get you beyond that moment and get back to Cleveland.”

While this victory is definitely nice for the Cubs, the challenge now is finding a way to win two straight games in Cleveland. That said, let’s go over the line for Game 6 and offer some betting analysis.

GTBets Line for World Series Game 6 (8:05pm EST at Nov 1)
Chicago Cubs -1.5 (+110), moneyline -145 (J. Arrietta)
Cleveland Indians +1.5 (+135), moneyline +135 (J. Tomlin)

Analysis on World Series Game 6

On paper, it appears that Chicago will have the pitching advantage with Jake Arrieta taking the mound. The 2015 Cy Young winner had very good stats this year, going 18-8 and maintaining a 3.10 ERA.

However, Arrieta has struggled in the postseason, losing his first two starts against LA and San Francisco and producing a 5.55 ERA. He managed to right the ship against Cleveland in Game 2, allowing just 1 run in 5.3 innings during Chicago’s win. But he also threw 98 pitches and walked three batters.

More concern for Arrieta is that just 40 percent of his pitches went in the strike zone in Game 2 – his lowest rate all year. But that was a cold-weather game, while tonight will be a warmer affair. Plus, Arrietta has one of the best sliders in baseball, holding opponents to 5-for-25 against this pitch in the postseason.

josh-tomlin-vs-cubsTomlin didn’t have as impressive of regular season numbers, going 13-9 and tallying a 4.40 ERA. But he’s reached a new level in the playoffs, allowing just 3 runs in 15.3 innings. The 32-year-old is undefeated in the 2016 postseason, and he’ll look to keep that record going and close out the series.

The big problem, though, is that this is just the second time in Tomlin’s career that he’s pitched on three days’ rest. During the season, he had a 3.47 ERA with five days or more rest, versus a 5.42 ERA with four days’ rest. That could play a factor tonight as he faces a tough Cubs lineup.

The good news for Tomlin: he had the lowest walk rate among starters and has only given up one homer in his last seven starts. He’s not going to beat himself, and Chicago will need to get their bats going to win.

If Tomlin can pitch well enough into the sixth inning, the Indians’ bullpen – which has been stellar – will have a great chance to close out the game.

World Series Game 6 Betting Prediction: Cleveland Wins 4-3

Both Arrieta and Tomlin pitched excellent in their last outings. We don’t expect as great of pitching tonight, but both players will give their teams a chance to win. The big difference-maker, though, will be Cleveland’s bullpen combo of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen shutting Chicago out in the late innings.

The Tribe should be celebrating their first World Series win along with LeBron James, while Chicago will extend their drought to 109 years without a World Series victory.

 

World Series Betting: Indians vs Cubs Game 5

What looked like a competitive World Series on paper is shaping up to be a blowout as the Cleveland Indians won 7-2 last night to take a 3-1 series lead.

Chicago grabbed an early 1-0 lead on an Anthony Rizzo single. But it was all downhill from here for the Cubs, as Cleveland scored the next seven runs to walk away with the game.

First baseman Carlos Santana opened the scoring with a second-inning homer. Pitcher Corey Kluber put Cleveland in the lead for good with a single that sent Lonnie Chrisenhall home.

Second baseman Jason Kipnis put the game away when he hit a line-drive, 3-run homer that gave Cleveland a six-run lead. Chicago’s Dexter Fowler would hit a home run in the eighth inning to stop the bleeding, but it was too little too late.

Aside from providing offense for his own cause, Kluber pitched an excellent game, allowing just 1 run in 6 innings. The bullpen did the rest as Cleveland wrapped up their second straight game in Chicago.

Let’s continue discussing the series by looking at tonight’s Game 5 line, along with some analysis on what to expect.

GTBets Game 5 Line on Indians vs Cubs (8:05pm EST on Oct. 30)
Cleveland Indians +1.5 (-115), moneyline +200 (T. Bauer)
Chicago Cubs -1.5 (-105), moneyline -230 (J. Lester)

World Series Game 5 Preview

corey-kluber-world-seriesFor the Indians, tonight’s game is a matter of doing the same things that they’ve been doing. And this means that Cleveland manager Terry Francona will use normal game preparation that doesn’t include any big speeches.

“No, it might make them nervous,” said Francona. “They’re OK. They know how to play the game. In our game, you can’t meet every night. It’s not like football. If they don’t understand by now, they’re probably not going to. And I think they’re doing just fine.”

Kluber, who was the big winner yesterday, echoed this sentiment by saying that Game 5 will be “business as usual.”

Kipnis is taking a different approach, focusing on the importance of this game and how tough it will be to defeat Chicago three straight times at home.

“It’s not an ending yet,” Kipnis told the Chicago Tribune. “We’ve got one more to get. It’s probably going to be the hardest victory of the year. This is a special night for me and the team to take the first two here. Now we have a couple of tries to win one more. But we’re ready to get it. This is the fun one.”

Trevor Bauer will take the mound for Cleveland tonight. He’s the only pitcher to lose to the Cubs in the World Series. But Santana definitely isn’t worried about how Bauer will perform tonight.

“We’re confident, especially how we won in this very tough game,” said Santana. “Lester, he’s throwing very good baseball. He has experience in the World Series. But we’re fine. We’ll worry about tomorrow and try to win the game.”

The Cubs will trot out lefty Jon Lester, who’s hoping to end Chicago’s two-game slide and extend the World Series. Lester’s start in Game 1 was okay – 3 runs on six hits in 5.2 innings – but it still resulted in a 6-0 loss for Chicago.

This was markedly different from his first three postseason starts against San Francisco and LA, where he allowed just 2 runs in 21 innings while recording 14 strikeouts. There’s certainly reason to think that Lester can regain his touch in tonight’s matchup.

jon-lester-vs-indians“Jon is going to give us a good game,” said Chicago third baseman Kris Bryant. “He’s our ace for a reason.”

Another thing that Chicago needs to do better is get runs early in the game, before they fall behind and lose momentum. This is especially important when considering how well Cleveland’s bullpen has performed.

“We’ve just got to grab a lead,” said Chicago manager Joe Maddon. “We’ve got to grab a lead [before] the latter part of the game and avoid those [bullpen] guys with either being tied or them having a lead. That’s what we have to do.”

Chicago has only managed three runs, four walks, and a .292 on-based percentage through the first four innings of the World Series. The fifth inning and beyond has been even worse, with a .259 on-base percentage, so early runs are crucial.

One Team Will Make History

The Cubs haven’t won a World Series in 108 years, while Cleveland hasn’t won in 68 years. For the Indians, they have the added history of trying to bring both a baseball and basketball championship home in the same year.

One of these teams is going to break their winless streak and make history. Before this series, most thought it would be Chicago, given that they won 103 games – 9 more than Cleveland.

But down 3-1 in the series, the Cubs would need a Cleveland Cavaliers-type turnaround to come back and win. Only five of 44 MLB teams have pulled off this feat. Can Chicago become the sixth?

Prediction on World Series Game 5: Cubs Win 4-2

We see Cleveland closing this series out eventually, but it’s hard to see Chicago losing three straight at home, especially with their ace pitching tonight.

Indians Beat Blue Jays 2-1 – Take 2-0 Series Lead

josh-tomlin-vs-blue-jaysThe Cleveland Indians had little trouble getting past the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. But few gave them a chance against a rising Toronto Blue Jays team after injuries hit their starting pitching staff. Nevertheless, Cleveland now finds themselves up 2-0 in the ALCS.

For the second straight day, Cleveland shut down Toronto’s hitters en route to a 2-1 victory in Game 2. Starter Josh Tomlin turned in an inspired effort, allowing just 1 run and three hits over 5-plus innings. Middle reliever Andrew Miller struck out five of the six batters he threw against, and closer Cody Allen finished the Blue Jays in the ninth.

For the second consecutive game, the Indians could only muster two runs. But again, it was enough to beat a struggling Toronto lineup.

Shortstop Francisco Lindor supplied the offense when he hit a two-out RBI single in the third inning. Lindor was also the hero of Game 1, hitting a two-run homer in the Indian’s 2-0 Game 1 victory.

Action switches back to Toronto tomorrow night, where the Blue Jays hope that Rogers Centre is more kind to them than Progressive Field. Before we continue discussing this ALCS series, let’s look at the GTBets line for Game 3:

Game 3 of ALCS: Oct 17 at 8:05pm
Cleveland  +1.5 (-120); moneyline +168
Toronto  -1.5 (+100); moneyline -188

Breaking the Curse

Cleveland has had some strong teams over the past two decades, but they’ve failed to win a World Series title since 1948. So normally, fans would fear the worst, even with their Indians only 2 wins away from a World Series trip.

However, there’s reason for optimism, thanks to the Cleveland Cavaliers breaking the city’s title curse this year.

“Bringing that first championship to this city, we rallied around that,” said second baseman Jason Kipnis. “That’s going to be hard to beat, to break the curse. That being said – and it’s not just my opinion, it’s what I’ve gotten from people around Cleveland – the first Tribe or Browns championship has a little different ring to it.”

cleveland-toronto-blue-jaysAside from being fueled by the Cavs’ NBA championship, the Indians have provided reasons of their own to believe. Despite facing vaunted Boston and Toronto hitting lineups, Cleveland’s pitching has made them look silly in five postseason games.

The first result was a 3-0 sweep against Boston, and the Indians are currently on pace to sweep the Blue Jays.

A Review of Tomlin’s Performance

Game 2’s one-run pitching effort almost seems improbable.

Tomlin, who only started because Trevor Bauer sliced his pinkie open while fixing a drone, looked like a mere band-aid against Toronto. Topping out at only 89 mph with his fastball, Tomlin, as Kipnis put it, “had to work all 89 miles on that fastball.”

Rather than throwing a mediocre fastball into the teeth of the Blue Jays’ bats, Tomlin and catcher Roberto Perez came up with a plan to use curveballs over and over. This seemed like an effective strategy because the pitcher only threw 15 curveballs on 85 pitches the last time out against Toronto.

Tomlin used the strategy to perfection, keeping his curveballs low in the strike zone, leaving the Toronto batters reaching for many of them.

“The game kind of dictates what you do,” said Tomlin. “It’s going to be tough for me to sit there and throw 87, 88 all game long and be successful.”

Perez also called a good game, and Tomlin trusted him and drew motivation from his catcher’s words. One example was a big at-bat by Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion.

“Encarnacion is not going to beat us right here,” Perez told Tomlin during the game. “We’ve got to make pitches right now. Just follow me. Keep the ball down. And give me your best pitches.”

In 85 pitches, Tomlin produced 17 outs, with 10 coming on groundballs, six strikeouts, and one fly ball – an interesting ratio for a pitcher who has less than a 45% groundball rate. Tomlin was able to change his tendencies by throwing expert curveballs against a team that’s poor at hitting them.

Looking Ahead to Game 3

One of the best things for Cleveland is that they get an off-day for their overworked pitchers. Allen and Miller have pitched four times in the Indians’ five postseason games.

The results have been outstanding, with both combining to strike out 25 of the 38 batters they’ve faced. But both players also need a rest if they’re to keep up this strong pace.

“One of the things I’m most excited about tomorrow is Andrew Miller doesn’t have to throw any pitches,” said Kipnis. “Same with Cody Allen.”

Allen and Miller aren’t the only ones who could use the rest since there are other Cleveland heroes who’ve earned a break too. This includes Lindor, who, in addition to the offense, also saved a hit with a jump throw to first.

It seems like Toronto, who dispatched the Texas Rangers in three games, are due for a win now that they’re heading home. But with the way that Cleveland is playing, it’s tough to say whether home-field advantage will be enough for the Blue Jays.

David Ortiz Assesses Red Sox’s Desperate 0-2 ALDS Deficit

david-ortiz-vs-indiansThe final week of the regular season was cause for celebration for the Boston Red Sox. As we discussed before, the Red Sox won an improbable AL East title after finishing last place the year before.

But now that the postseason is here, Boston has no reason to celebrate since they’re down 0-2 to the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS.

The last outing was especially disparaging because Boston failed to score a single run in a 6-0 drubbing.

After a 93-win season and a division title, the Red Sox’s impressive season can be erased with one more loss. This also means the end of David Ortiz’s career, who, at age 40, turned back the clock to have a great season.

But like the rest of Boston’s lineup, Ortiz didn’t do anything on Friday night, going 0-4 with three runners left on base in his at-bats.

Now 1-for-8 in the playoffs, Ortiz got angry when a reporter asked about his visible frustration on the field.

“Should I be happy? We’re getting our asses beat. It’s nothing to celebrate.” said Ortiz.

He was also asked if the 5-4 and 6-0 losses that Boston has suffered has surprised him.

“Why should I be?” Ortiz told reporters. “They’re playing better than what we are.”

The numbers back up Ortiz’s words because Boston has went just 13-for-65 (.200) at the plate with 22 strikeouts. Their pitching hasn’t been much better, with starters Rick Procello and David Price combining for 10 runs in only 7 2/3 innings (13.0 ERA).

The Indians, on the other hand, have little to fear after blowing Boston out in Game 2 and getting clutch plays to win in Game 1.

david-ortizCorey Kluber was the hero in Game 2, pitching seven innings and only allowing three hits and three walks. He got more than enough offense too, with Lonnie Chisenhall’s 3-run homer and three other players producing run-scoring singles.

So what can Boston do to turn their performance around and win three straight games?

“Gotta do better and pitch better,” said Ortiz while doing an excellent job of hiding his emotions.

“We’ve got no choice,” he added. “Gotta go home now and play better. It’s part of the game, man. But I know we’re better than that. Just gotta come and play better.”

The Red Sox and Indians meet tomorrow, Oct. 9, at 4:08pm EST. The action moves to Fenway Park, where Boston hopes that homefield advantage will work in their favor.

Cleveland pitcher Josh Tomlin (4.40 ERA) will face off against Boston’s Clay Buchholz (4.78 ERA). Below you can see our GTBets.eu line on the game:

Cleveland  +1.5 (-170), moneyline +127
Boston  -1.5 (+150), moneyline -137

Red Sox Clinch Unlikely AL East Title

boston-red-sox-clinch-divisionThe Boston Red Sox were not heavy favorites to win the AL East when the season began. Nevertheless, they’ve clinched their third AL East title in the last decade.

Boston didn’t clinch because of their own victory – they lost to the New York Yankees 5-3 on Mark Teixeira’s walk-off grand slam. Instead, they clinched after the Baltimore Orioles beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2.

The Red Sox now sit at 97-63, while the Orioles (88-73) and BlueJays (87-73) don’t have enough games left to close the gap. Both Baltimore and Toronto at least control their own destiny with regard to Wild Card slots, though.

The Red Sox will now hope to do what they did in 2013, bouncing back from finishing last the previous season to winning the World Series.

It’s not unfathomable to think that Boston could win, given that they lead the league in runs, have an athletic outfield, and boast a solid pitching staff.

Even still, nobody could’ve truly predicted another AL East title for the Red Sox just a few months ago. So how did they improve upon being in the division cellar last year?

For one, David Ortiz has defied age by turning in one of the best seasons of his career. The 40-year-old hit for a .317 average, 38 homers, and 127 RBIs. With Big Papi set to retire at the end of this year, few would’ve thought that he’d put up MVP-caliber numbers.

Another change is that the pitching is better in 2016. The $217 million man David Price hasn’t been as good as advertised, with only a 4.04 ERA.

But Rick Porcello has been a huge surprise, with 22 wins and a solid 3.11 ERA in 217 innings. He won’t win the Cy Young on ERA, but his 22 wins can’t be overlooked when it comes to discussing this year’s best pitcher.

There’s also first baseman Hanley Ramirez, who didn’t offer much last season with a .249 average and 19 homers. But this season, he’s revived his career with a .287 average, 29 home runs, and 110 RBIs.

More players who were key to this division title include Mookie Betts (.321 avg, 31 homers) and Jackie Bradley (.268 avg, 26 homers). Betts is a fringe MVP candidate after breaking out in 2016, while he and Bradley earned their first All-Star nods this season.

Based on the fact that Boston has a number of young contributors on the roster, including Betts, Bradley, Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt, Chris Young and Andrew Benintendi, this team could be really good for years to come.

Of course, with 97 wins and a division title, the Red Sox aren’t thinking much beyond October.

They will face the Cleveland Indians in the AL Divisional Series. Boston had a 4-2 record against the Indians in the playoffs, which should give them some confidence heading into this series.

Of course, the postseason is a different beast than the regular season. However, if Boston should win, they’ll face the winner of the Texas Rangers vs. Baltimore Orioles/Toronto Blue Jays series.

Baltimore and Toronto haven’t clinched playoff berths yet, but that’s how things stand right now.

Given the current playoff landscape, the Red Sox will be among the favored teams to make it through the American League and into the World Series.

Miami Marlins Betting: August Trade Improves Bullpen

hunter-cervenka-miami-marlins-tradeThe Miami Marlins are currently fighting for an AL Wild Card spot, so they made a trade this weekend to upgrade their bullpen.

Miami acquired left-handed reliever Hunter Cervenka from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor-league infielder Anfernee Seymour and left-handed pitcher Michael Mader.

The Marlins failed to upgrade their pitching before the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline. But this month still allows teams to trade for players who’ve cleared waivers.

This isn’t a blockbuster deal by any means, but Miami needs any kind of quality pitching it can get to make the postseason. Cervenka is exactly this, given that he has a 3.18 ERA in 34 innings with Atlanta.

The 26-year-old had a hot start to the season, pitching 15 consecutive scoreless innings. That streak is long gone, but other stats indicate that Cervenka is for real, striking out a better per inning and holding left-handed hitters to a .145/.264/.242 line.

The one knock on Cervenka is that he gives up a lot of walks, allowing 6.1 BB per nine innings. But given his tremendous success against left-handers, he could be an excellent situational pitcher for this team.

Miami is going to see a lot of Bryce Harper (Nationals), Daniel Murphy (Nationals), and now Jay Bruce (Mets) over the last two months. Having another strong pitcher like Cervenka gives the Marlins one more weapon to use while trying to minimize the bats of NL East opponents.

hunter-cervenka-miami-tradeMiami is currently second in the East with a 58-52 record, which puts them seven games behind Washington (65-45). Catching the Nationals at this point would be tough, but it’s not hard to see this team making the playoffs through a wild card spot.

At 61-49, the LA Dodgers currently hold one of the spots, while Miami is tied with the St. Louis Cardinals (also 58-52) for the other wild card slot. The Mets (56-54), Pittsburgh Pirates (55-53), and Colorado Rockies (55-55) are also in the hunt.

The wild card race is always tight, so any improvement could be the difference between making the playoffs, or missing out by one or two games. Cervenka is definitely an upgrade on a team that needs pitching more than most contending ball clubs.

As for waiver trades, which Miami used to their advantage, these dealers are longer and more complicated than those made before the August 1 deadline. Any deal for a player like Cervenka must clear trade waivers before they’re added to a team’s 40-man roster.

The club that releases the player also has the option to pull them back after they’re claimed, or let them go without any compensation. In the case of Cervenka, Atlanta at least got back some minor league prospects for the reliever.

You won’t see any big-time players involved in August waiver trades. But it’s still fun to see some of the upgrades that teams make during this period.

If you’re interested in betting on Miami over the last two months of the season, keep in mind that GTBets offers MLB lines every night.