Yankees vs. Indians MLB Odds & Picks: Expect Pitching Duel Between Gerrit Cole & Shane Bieber (Saturday, April 24)
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole.
- There are big-time pitching matchups and there's what is happening Saturday when the Yankees face the Indians.
- Star aces Gerrit Cole and Shane Bieber, two likely candidates for this year's American League Cy Young award, square off in the latest meeting between New York and Cleveland.
- Matt Trebby explains why he's backing an extremely low run total below.
Yankees vs. Indians Odds
|Time||Saturday, 6:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday and via PointsBet|
Pitching matchups do not get better than what’s on deck.
Two of the three best strikeout artists in Major League Baseball face off Saturday in Cleveland, when the highest-paid pitcher ever — Gerrit Cole — takes on Shane Bieber, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner.
The total for this game is set at 6.5 runs, which is about as low as you’ll see in a regular-season game. However, is it low enough?
Let’s dig in to find out.
New York Yankees
There’s not much about Cole you don’t already know. He has been the AL’s premier strikeout pitcher since 2018, punching out 735 batters over 510 1/3 innings since being acquired from the Houston Astros.
This season, Cole’s 1.82 ERA is complemented by his 0.95 FIP. He has a 0.81 WHIP and has struck out 39 over 24 2/3 innings. Needless to say, he has been very good and earned every penny of his record-setting contract.
Meanwhile, the Yankees’ offense has not been so stellar.
A win in Thursday’s series opener that saw New York score six runs raised its team OPS to .644. That moved them up to 29th overall, just ahead of the Baltimore Orioles.
Aaron Judge’s .860 OPS entering Friday’s games was the only one among Yankees regulars that was above Gio Urshela’s .760 number. Giancarlo Stanton (.571), Aaron Hicks (.509), Gary Sanchez (.676) and DJ LeMahieu (.736) all have more room for improvement than they’d like to have at any point in the season.
New York entered Friday’s contest with a .640 OPS against right-handed pitching, although Cleveland’s starter isn’t your normal, run-of-the-mill pitcher.
Bieber will see me call Cole the AL strikeout king and think, “Hey, what about me?” Since the start of 2019, Bieber has 429 strikeouts over 321 innings. He’s striking out 14.3 batters per nine innings (this is a starting pitcher we’re talking about) since the start of last season.
Last season’s Cy Young winner’s 2.45 ERA and 2.28 FIP indicate he’s going to be near the top of voting yet again in this year, assuming he stays healthy.
Cleveland’s lineup had the unenviable task of replacing Francisco Lindor, and it’s not going too well so far. The Indians entered Friday with a .674 team OPS that ranked 22nd in MLB. However, the players that have kept the Indians’ lineup afloat have been Jordan Luplow and Franmil Reyes.
Luplow, a platoon outfielder who starts against left-handers, entered Friday matchup against New York southpaw Jordan Montgomery with a 1.087 OPS over 34 at-bats.
There’s a possibility that Luplow could keep up very strong production over the course of an entire season in this role, and he might give the club no choice but to trot him out there against right-handers as well if Ben Gamel keeps struggling.
Meanwhile, Reyes is known for his size and power. He has struck out 19 times in 59 at-bats already, but his .872 OPS entering Friday is exactly what the Indians need behind José Ramírez.
If this was a Yankees-Indians matchup of recent years, I wouldn’t consider touching the total. Over the past two or three years at the minimum, either offense would pack enough pop to present a series threat to either ace.
This is a different story, though. Neither offense is exactly thriving at the moment, and I’m not going to take much stock into the runs that were accumulated Friday night when Montgomery faced off against Logan Allen, with all due respect to those southpaws.
It’s fair to assume both Cole and Bieber go six innings and allow two runs. Given the prowess of each offense, that’s not just possible. It’s probable.
So the only thing that could ruin the total is either bullpen. The Yankees entered Friday’s game with the seventh-lowest bullpen ERA (3.40) in the majors. Cleveland was 10th with a 3.72 earned run average. That’s good enough for me to think first to three might just win this game. If either scores four, then it’s a definite win.
We’re going to live a little and bet the lowest under you’ll see all season, because this is the best starting-pitching matchup you’ll see all year.
Pick: Total Under 6.5 Runs