The Guardians essentially faced a must-win scenario in Game 2 and delivered, tying the series against the Yankees at one. Now, Cleveland is heading back to Progressive Field with an eye toward putting the Yankees’ season on the brink. Can New York bounce back in Game 3?
Let’s take a look at starting lineups, betting odds, and predictions for Saturday night’s game in Cleveland.
New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Guardians Betting Odds
The Yankees are narrow road favorites heading into Game 3, entering at -120 on the moneyline. The over/under is set at 7 runs.
The Guardians’ bullpen gives them the advantage late in games, and we saw that in Game 2. The Yankees are favored, but the line is narrow enough to tell oddsmakers believe Triston McKenzie might be able to force another close game. Will the Yankees’ bats get going after a shaky display in New York?
New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Guardians Picks & Prediction
My pick: Guardians Moneyline (+102), Under 7 Runs
My fear for the Yankees coming into this series, more than anything else, was Triston McKenzie. The breakout star doesn’t allow many hits and has gotten walks under control. With the pitching advantage, the momentum from Game 2, and the energy of the crowd behind them, the Guardians seem like a better value.
One disadvantage for Cleveland: elite closer Emmanuel Clase might not be available after a heavy workload in Game 2. The Yankees’ lineup looked overmatched against the rest of Cleveland’s bullpen too, so if McKenzie can give the Guardians length, it might not make-or-break this game.
A Game 3 loss wouldn’t mean the Yankees can’t win the series, considering Shane Bieber and McKenzie wouldn’t be able to start again.
2B DJ LeMahieu R
RF A. Judge R
1B A. Rizzo L
3B J. Donaldson R
DH G. Stanton R
LF O. Cabrera S
CF H. Bader R
SS I. Kiner-Falefa R
C J. Trevino R
New York Yankees vs. Triston McKenzie
Former first-round pick Triston McKenzie has blossomed into an all-star caliber starter for the Guardians this season. McKenizie posted a 2.96 ERA over 191.1 IP, with a 3.59 FIP, 0.95 WHIP, and 190 strikeouts. While the elevated FIP indicates the Guardians’ defense has helped him out a bit, McKenzie’s biggest asset has been his control. He struggled mightily with walks in 2021 and suddenly has cut his walk rate from 4.4 per nine all the way to 2.1.
McKenzie’s liability is the home run ball. He’s allowed 25 home runs, which is a concern against a Yankees team that led the league in homers this year. The Guardians need to plate a few runs to protect against the occasional solo home run allowed by McKenzie.
The Yankees have been hitting poorly for more than two months now, and even Aaron Judge is getting in on it. Judge is 0-for-8 with 7 strikeouts in this series, and rallies have been hard to come by for what’s become a low-contact lineup.
Harrison Bader, Anthony Rizzo, and Giancarlo Stanton have all homered, but the Yankees have six runs in two games. That doesn’t bode well against McKenzie, who has allowed a .201 AVG this season. It looks like this game will come down to whether the Yankees can hit home runs and/or force McKenzie out of the game early.
LF S. Kwan L
SS A. Rosario R
3B J. Ramirez S
1B J. Naylor L
DH O. Gonzalez R
2B A. Gimenez L
RF W. Brennan L
C A. Hedges R
CF M. Straw R
Cleveland Guardians vs. Luis Severino
When Luis Severino went on the 60-day IL in the summer, it wasn’t a guarantee he’d be starting a postseason game, let alone starting one after a dominant outing. Severino tossed seven no-hit innings in his final start of the regular season and looked like his former self. In all, Severino posted a 3.19 ERA across 19 starts (102 IP) this season, with a 3.70 FIP and 1.00 WHIP.
His numbers are pretty similar to McKenzie’s – Severino limits hits but gives up an elevated number of home runs. Though control has popped up as a problem from time to time, Severino allowed only 5 hits in 16 innings after coming off the IL. His length might be a bit limited due to his injury history, but Aaron Boone did let him push to 94 pitches during the no-hit bid.
The Guardians’ best bet might be to be patient with Severino and force Boone to make that decision. A team that doesn’t hit many home runs may have a hard time relying on stringing together hits against the right-hander, though Severino has a 5.23 ERA in his postseason career and will be worth monitoring under pressure on the road.
The gameplan to winning might be similar to Game 2’s for Cleveland: scrap a run or two across, maybe manage a home run, and try to win a battle of the bullpens.