WhatIfSports ALCS prediction: Blue Jays vs. Indians

WhatIfSports.com simulated the American League Championship Series 101 times to predict which team will advance to the World Series.

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When the computers produced the final prediction between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians for the AL crown, I had to do a double-take. After 101 series simulations, Toronto advanced to the World Series 51.5 percent of the time. However, in simulations that went six or seven games, Cleveland’s odds improved to 53.4 percent. The Blue Jays were particularly dominant in series that lasted five games, owning a 70.8 percent success rate. Check out the winning percentages from the simulations:

Blue Jays vs. Indians: 101 Simulations of Best-of-7 Series
Matchup Win % 4 Game % 5 Game % 6 Game % 7 Game %
Blue Jays 51.5 7.9 16.8 10.9 15.8
Indians 48.5 10.9 6.9 13.9 16.8

MORE PREDICTIONS: NLCS – Dodgers vs. Cubs

Pitchers may have their hands full in the ALCS, if the simulations are any indication. Only one starter for each club had an ERA below 4.00, with Corey Kluber (3.54 ERA) and Aaron Sanchez (3.47 ERA) leading the way for their teams. Against the Red Sox, Cleveland relied on a short bullpen, with Andrew Miller, Brian Shaw and Cody Allen seeing most of the relief work. That strategy was less effective in the simulations, with the Indians’ pen combining for a 4.63 ERA, compared to a 4.22 ERA for the Blue Jays’ bullpen.

On offense, the Blue Jays live and die by the long ball. In our simulations, three players from Toronto averaged more than one home run per series: Edwin Encarnacion (1.53), Josh Donaldson (1.54) and Troy Tulowitzki (1.09). On the Indians, only Mike Napoli (1.11) was in that realm.

Cleveland’s only hope is to keep the ball in the park and to let its bullpen continue to eat innings. As for Toronto, the quicker the series the better, and they need to keep those bats hot.

Interested in simulating the game yourself? Try MLB SimMatchup. Or, create your own Dream Team of current and historical players to challenge your favorite club.