Guardians vs Yankees ALDS Game 1 Picks and Predictions: Offenses Shine Through

Cleveland's defense shined in a two-game sweep to reach a date with the Yankees in the ALDS. Our MLB betting picks break down the game and explain why we believe this matchup will see much more offense than the Guardians' last series.

Oct 11, 2022 • 15:51 ET • 4 min read
Aaron Judge New York Yankees MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees and Cleveland Guardians will get the ALDS going in the Bronx on Tuesday night. 

Cleveland put up an incredible two games to get to this spot, sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays in a series decided by the thinnest of margins. It won Game 1 by a score of 2-1 off a two-run home run by Jose Ramirez. They followed it up with an incredible marathon of a Game 2 that didn't see a single run scored until the 15th inning. That single run gave the Guardians a 1-0 walk-off win. 

Find out how things shake out in our MLB betting picks and predictions for the Yankees vs. Guardians. 

Guardians vs Yankees best odds

Guardians vs Yankees picks and predictions

As someone who has followed Yankee baseball for a lifetime, I have a unique apprehension about picking the Yankees to win this series — and particularly this game. It's all centered around pitching. New York will send Gerrit Cole to the mound to face off against Cal Quantrill. First, I want to discuss this matchup for Cole.

Over the last month or so, it's been increasingly noticeable how easily annoyed Cole can get when things aren't going his way. I'm not a body language expert, but it certainly doesn't take one to catch it. This is certainly the most relevant in the postseason, where every little thing matters. It's even more relevant in this matchup because Cole is a strikeout-reliant pitcher, and the Guardians don't strike out.

They are last in baseball in swing rate and chase rate, and first in chase contact. They don't chase out of the zone often, but they usually make contact when they do. So what happens when he isn't getting those strikeouts? Can he keep his emotions in check? I'm thinking in a vacuum, the answer is no.

Whether this leads to a complete blowup or just an odd run more than he should give up is hard to say. However, we should expect the same outcome: Gerrit Cole will give up some runs to the Guardians because they grind out at bats. In addition, they hit the fastball quite well — their preferred pitch based on the numbers.

Now that we have the case for Cole giving up runs established. Let's look at the other side of this matchup: Cal Quantrill vs. the Yankees' hitters. 

I've faded Quantrill a fair amount this season and had excellent success. I think he struggles in this one for a few reasons, the biggest of which is his barrel issues. Quantrill gives him a good amount of hits with an expected batting average rating in the bottom 25% of baseball. What's more pressing in this matchup is when he does it, teams are barrelling up.

Unfortunately for him, his barrel rate ranks below the league average, and it's been an issue against teams with big bats. The Yankees have the second-best barrel rate in the playoffs, and they'll take advantage him.

I'm in a difficult spot on which side actually wins this game. I like a market like Aaron Judge to hit a home run, but I probably won't get the price I want. I'm most confident about runs happening, and my projections follow that. They have this going Over the posted total around 65% of the time, signaling that this price is simply wrong. I want more of an edge than usual to play an Over in the playoffs, and I have one here.  

My best bet: Over 6.5 (-130 at DraftKings)

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Guardians vs Yankees ALDS odds

Teams Odds to win series
Steelers Cleveland Guardians +165
Browns New York Yankees -210

Guardians vs Yankees moneyline analysis

I've already offered up that I have many apprehensions about backing either side here. 

There's a fundamental element of wanting to back the Yankees. However, I have real concerns that Cole could sink. Or he may not. That's the issue. One of these teams will see a pitcher for the second time this season (New York), and the other will see a pitcher for the third time this season (Guardians). Since I view starting pitchers weighing heavily on the result here, I wanted to take a moment to note what each team does their second time seeing the same pitcher this season. 

When the Yankees have seen a pitcher for the second time this season, they have an increase in batting average of .21 points to .251, score 1.4 more runs per game, and have a .20-point jump in BAbip.

When the Guardians have seen a pitcher for the third time this season, they have an increase in batting average of .19 points to .274, score .72 more runs per game, and have an incredible BAbip of .302 — suitable for a .34-point jump.

Both of these teams hit the ball better in these situations. That adds to the difficulties of picking a side. I will take a small position on the Guardians pregame at +185 and win the series at +182. I needed +180 or better to back them, so I'm seeing a bit of value on the current number. Depending on how Cole looks, I may look to increase my position on Cleveland or completely hedge out to back New York.

Guardians vs Yankees Over/Under analysis

I'm riding with the Over, as I've spoken about under my best bet. 

I spent a lot of time talking about the situational aspect with Cole, but it's worth noting that he's posted one of the worst hard-hit rates in his career. Cleveland ranks right around league average here, but the way guys like Jose Ramirez are hitting the ball makes that a bigger deal.

As far as things go for Quantrill, he will give up some hits, and I'm counting on his mediocre barrel rate to show up against the Bronx Bombers. The conditions in Yankee Stadium should be reasonable for the ball to leave the park, and I'm expecting it to happen. Those two combinations of things should assist greatly in helping this get Over the total. It won't hurt that the Cleveland bullpen isn't precisely rested, having played a 15-inning game and using four different arms on Saturday. 

Back runs to be scored in the Bronx on Tuesday night. Both of these teams are well-suited to put them on the board. 

Guardians vs Yankees trend to know

The Over is 6-1 in the Yankees' past seven games following a rest day. Find more MLB betting trends for Guardians vs. Yankees

Guardians vs Yankees game info

Location: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
Date: Tuesday, October 11, 2022
First pitch: 7:37 p.m. ET

Starting pitchers

Cal Quantrill (15-5, 3.83 ERA): Quantrill has had similar production as Cole this season. However, his issues have been more related to the aforementioned barrel rate and giving up too many hits — not necessarily hard hits. His xWOBA is .321. That's among the worst in baseball for starting pitchers with as many innings as him. His K and whiff rates also sit near the bottom of the league, which is another metric that reflects his problems of finding the bat too frequently.

Gerrit Cole (13-8, 3.50 ERA): Despite being priced like an elite pitcher throughout most of these seasons, Cole's performances have been more aligned with very good. Home runs have been an issue for him, and hard-hit balls with an average exit velocity ranking in the Bottom 25% of baseball. Giving up the odd home run here will happen more often with a pitcher like Cole, who still has elite fastball velocity. However, it's happened much more than you'd like this season.

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