Cleveland Indians Wild Card Series Matchup Set

Battle of Two Aces: Shane Bieber vs. Gerrit Cole

Following Sunday’s 8-6 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cleveland Indians found out who their opponent will be in the Wild Card Series. Shane Bieber and Gerrit Cole will square off to start the series. Zack Meisel of The Athletic had all of the details first.

Before Friday’s game, the Indians announced their starting rotation for the Wild Card Series and indicated that Shane Bieber would pitch in Game One. However, it was unclear if Zach Plesac would start Game Two and Carlos Carrasco Game Three or vice versa. Those questions were answered Sunday morning as well.

As mentioned on Friday, Aaron Civale is set to be in a bullpen role. Should the Indians advance onto the next round of the playoffs, he will move back into their starting rotation.

Yankees Luck Against Shane Bieber

Given the circumstances of this season, the Yankees did not get the opportunity to square off against Shane Bieber. However, since making his debut in 2018, Bieber has pitched against the Yankees twice. In those two starts, he combined for a 8.31 ERA over 8 and two-thirds innings of work. He did record ten strikeouts between both starts, but had eight earned runs and gave up one home run.

Granted, the Yankees team is different than it was in 2018 and 2019, but those are still important factors.

Bieber’s most utilized pitch this year has been his four-seam fastball. He threw that 37.4% of the time during the regular season. Additionally, his second-most common pitch was his mid-80’s curveball which he threw 26.3% of the time. Opponents hit .095 off of Bieber’s curveball this season. Knowing that information, let’s take a look at how the Yankees lineup has faired against both fastballs and curveballs this year.

One important note to remember when looking at this data is that the postseason is different compared to the regular season. Although, this is the information that teams will use when determining the best matchups in any given situation during a game.

The Yankees hit .269 against four-seamers this season, according to data compiled by Baseball Savant. Compared to the rest of baseball, that ranked as the ninth highest. In addition, as a team the Yankees had a batting average on balls in play (BABIP) of .275 on that pitch. That put them in the bottom third of baseball in that category this season.

In regards to the curveball, the Yankees hit .207 and had a BABIP of .278. That put the Yankees right in the middle of baseball in batting average and 19th overall in BABIP. Yankees first baseman Luke Voit hit had a .278 BABIP against curveballs this season, while second baseman DJ LeMahieu hit a stunning .478 against that pitch. LeMahieu saw a total of 55 curveballs over the 60-game sample.

Final Thoughts on Shane Bieber-Gerrit Cole Matchup

Game One of the Indians-Yankees Wild Card Series is going to be intense. The fans might not be in the stands at Progressive Field, but the pressure will still be there for both teams. For the Indians, going up against Gerrit Cole will not be an easy task. Over his big league career, Cole has made a total of ten starts in the postseason. In that span, he has a 2.60 ERA with a 10.7 K/9 rate. Cleveland will need to be patient and work the counts in their favor to start the series on a positive note.

For the Yankees, going up against Shane Bieber won’t be an easy task either. Shane Bieber has never pitched a postseason game, but the track record for success is there especially after the numbers he posted this year. Regardless, it will be an important table setting game for both Cleveland and New York.

Game One is set to start at 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, and it will be broadcast on ESPN.

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