With the 2016 ALCS set to begin, the staff at Jays From the Couch offer up their Toronto Blue Jays predictions
The staff at Jays From the Couch put our heads together and made out predictions for the 2016 ALCS. Not surprisingly, it is heavily skewed in one direction. With apologies to Cleveland fans, according to our staff, this series will go much differently than the last time these two cities matched up in a postseason series. We expect the baseball version to be a slam dunk for the Blue Jays. Here we go:
Wade Black: If Toronto’s offense ambushes Corey Kluber like they did to the Rangers SP staff, it could be over in as little as 5 games. Getting to him early puts that bullpen in play faster than Francona and Co. would prefer and could very well throw off plans going forward. I would suspect they do not plan to get more than 5-6 innings from Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin or Mike Clevinger in their respective starts, so having to cover 4-5 on Friday could dampen their plans a great deal. Barring a complete soiling of the bed, Toronto should win this series in six…five if they ambush Kluber early on Friday.
Catherine Stem: I see the Jays and Cleveland splitting the games 1 apiece before the Jays take game 3 at home and then an eventual game 6 win. The energy of the fans and the opportunity to win it at home would be that extra push. It’s uncanny how alike these teams are on paper though, so I definitely don’t see a sweep of any kind. Looking at how close the stats are, Jays OBP .330, CLE .329, Jays ERA 3.78, CLE 3.84. We have more homeruns, they have more stolen bases. The possibility for some fantastic baseball is there and I can’t wait 🙂
Dustin Reddon: Baseball is a game of ebbs and flows, and after a brutal September, the Jays couldn’t be hitting their stride at a better time. The offense is firing on all cylinders and the pitching performances have continued to be impressive. Throw on top of that that the crew has some time to lick any wounds they may have in a bit of a layoff, and it’s a perfect storm for a Jays win. Kluber and Bauer are scary, but the Jays are incredibly lucky to miss Carrasco and Salazar. With those two on the shelf, it leaves opportunities to seize against Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger at home. Add in that the Jays have one of the best defensive catchers in the game to help control the Cleveland running game, and I forecast the Jays coming out on top in 6.
Ryan Andrews: Avoiding Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar is huge for the Blue Jays. Their starting rotation now looks streets ahead of Cleveland’s, especially when you consider their ace, Kluber, got torqued to the tune of 5 ER in three and a third innings in a start earlier this season. Having Aaron Sanchez go fourth also means he can hang in the bullpen under the “Break in Case of Emergency” glass.
As long as the bats can maintain the groove they found when battling the Rangers, it nullifies the advantage Cleveland has in the bullpen with Andrew Miller and Cody Allen lurking back there. Ezequiel Carrera keeps setting the table, Josh Donaldson keeps hustling, Edwin and Jose keep swinging those sweet, sweet power strokes. That happens, and the Blue Jays will be back in the World Series for the first time since I was in Grade Primary.
William Wilson: I expect a tight, close series, but one that will eventually expose the thinness of Toronto’s bullpen. The Jays will hit their share of home runs, and Cleveland will manufacture their share of runs, but I think the series will ultimately come down to this: Andrew Miller, Dan Otero, Cody Allen, Jeff Manship, and Bryan Shaw all pitch out of Cleveland’s bullpen. John Gibbons can only call upon Joe Biagini, Jason Grilli, and Roberto Osuna for so long before the hoax is up. Toronto has the advantage in terms of starters, and if their bats stay hot, they have an advantage here, too, but a great bullpen can keep a great offence in check – pitching trumps hitting in today’s MLB (just ask Boston).
I think we’ll see something similar to that gutwrenching, mid-August matchup between the Jays and Cleveland, with the bad guys ultimately prevailing in six games. For me, all of this is gravy anyway – I didn’t think the Jays would survive September to make the playoffs – so if they want to prove me wrong again, that’s cool – I’ll gladly accept the shame, but I’ve been disappointed too many times this year to suddenly rethink the Jays’ actual chances.
Shaun Doyle: So, predictions are so tough. Take out the team name and they’re all the same: Team X needs a good start from their starter and their bats to hit. If they get to the bullpen too early, it will be a problem. For the Toronto Blue Jays, this is spot on. The rotation needs to keep doing what it has been doing- being the best in the AL. A 7 or 8 inning outing from Marco Estrada will set the tone nicely for this series. And, whether or not his rotation companions can do the same. If they do, it negates the tired bullpen worry. The rest certainly would have helped the bullpen, so to would getting Francisco Liriano back, but…of the two teams, Toronto comes up short in this department.
Of course, if the bats continue their postseason pace, the starters won’t have to be perfect. That is what will be the difference maker for me. Did the days off cool off the bats? They were so hot, I kind of wanted the ALCS to start right away. So, I’ll be watching to see if the bats can indeed keep rolling. If so, then it might be a shorter series than Cleveland would like.
Prediction: Blue Jays in 6
Spencer Redmond: I’m gonna say Jays in 5. This is a tough series to predict because they both swept teams they were considered underdogs to. It will be a short series because I think, with the Jays offense rolling, there’s no better lineup on paper. Cleveland wins one game on the back of Andrew Miller, but I really believe the Jays are unstoppable right now.
*Featured Image Credit: C Stem- JFtC
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.