2016 MLB Playoff Preview Part 4: The ALCS

For my American League Divisional Series predictions I went all in on the Red Sox in order to stay true to my original World Series pick back from February. As I said, I went all in and I lost. I was correct about the Toronto Blue Jays prediction though so I went one for two and now the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians are set to face off for the American League Championship Series. Be on the lookout for my National League Championship Series Preview on Friday afternoon. Let’s get to the preview.

Toronto Blue Jays vs Cleveland Indians

Both the Blue Jays and the Indians are on fire, their respective Divisional Series matchups didn’t provide too much resistance due to the fact that both Toronto and Cleveland swept their opposition. I think that the Indians have a bit more momentum than the Jays do simply because many people picked the Red Sox to defeat them. Though I’m not discrediting the Blue Jays since they have a potent offense paired with a great postseason pitching rotation. For me, I really like the bullpen of the Cleveland Indians headlined by Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. Indians manager Terry Francona displayed the sheer power of the Indians bullpen against the Red Sox during the ALDS. Andrew Miller, who is the most effective relief pitcher in baseball except for maybe Zach Britton, was able to eat up key innings extremely effectively. In two appearances, Miller pitched four innings only letting up two hits with zero runs while striking out seven. The Tribe’s offense is extremely well-rounded and bottom of the lineup players such as Tyler Naquin really pulled their weight both defensively and offensively which will be key once again for Cleveland. The Blue Jays snuck past the Orioles in the Wild Card and have one of the most underrated pitching staffs in all of baseball with Marco Estrada, Aaron Sanchez, JA Happ and Marcus Stroman. Toronto doesn’t have the flashiest bullpen but they do have a passable one in my opinion and an extremely experienced one at that. The core bats of the Blue Jays have really stepped up, Josh Donaldson is batting 0.500, Edwin Encarnacion is batting 0.375 with three longballs and Troy Tulowitzki has a homer of his own while batting 0.353. The Toronto Blue Jays offense should fair well against a depleted Indians pitching rotation notorious for surrendering home runs. In terms of the managerial advantage, I am going to have to side with Terry Francona, his experience and track record speak for themselves. Why can’t the Red Sox get a great manager like him?

Cleveland Indians X-Factors: Mike Napoli and Andrew Miller

Toronto Blue Jays X-Factors: Jose Bautista and Marcus Stroman

Prediction: Indians over Blue Jays (4-2)

What did you think of my prediction? Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below, on Twitter @N2KSports or on Facebook at N2K Sports. Be sure to check out my past previews on the Wild Card, the ALDS and the NLDS.

Cover Photo via The Boston Herald

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