Rays Steal Game 1 in Coinflip Matchup

Rays vs. Guardians, 12:07 ET

We have the opening game of the MLB Playoffs and I am pumped to see where this goes. I have a pretty chalk expectation of who makes it to the World Series (I think Dodgers and Astros are headed there) but baseball can be funny, sometimes you don't get the two teams you expect. I thought the Dodgers were going to win it last year with that crazy pitching staff, and they didn't even make the World Series. Let's see what happens.

Today, we have the battle of the Shane's. I mentioned that this was a possible playoff matchup a couple of weeks ago when the two teams squared off. Here they are now playing each other in Cleveland. For the Rays, Shane McClanahan takes the ball. Not really a surprise there, he has pitched very well this season and may even be a finalist for the AL Cy Young. On the year, he has a 2.08 road ERA and a 2.58 overall ERA. He has been just fine in day games, going 7-3 and only allowing 19 earned runs over 71.2 innings. September was the worst month of his season, and he corrected it slightly in October, but I am a bit concerned that he could be tiring out. Against Cleveland, he had one start, and he allowed five earned runs in 4.1 innings.

Shane Bieber came into the season as one of the favorites for the Cy Young. He might get some votes as he had a really nice season, but I can't imagine he would be a finalist for the award. On the season, he has a solid 2.88 ERA, but it does increase about a half run in home starts, which also matches with an increase in ERA during day starts. Unlike McClanahan, Bieber excelled in September when the Guardians needed him most. He went 43 innings over six starts and allowed just 12 earned runs. He carried that over into October with a solid five-inning, one-run allowed performance. He faced Tampa twice this year and allowed five earned runs over 13 innings.

This one might be the biggest question mark on the board for me. The Rays are coming in playing very bad baseball at just 2-8 over their last 10. Their playoff success is good though and I have more faith in their club than I do the Guardians. I'm going to play McClanahan and the Rays to win the game at +105.

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