Indians-Royals: Cy Young Candidate vs. Who’s That Guy?

Friday, August 24, 2018 12:09 PM UTC

Friday, Aug. 24, 2018 12:09 PM UTC

Looks to be a major pitching mismatch on Saturday night as the Indians and Royals play the second of their three-game series in Kansas City.

Cleveland at Kansas CitySaturday, 7:15 p.m. ETFree MLB Pick: Indians RLBest Line Offered: SportsBetting

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We like to build up the MLB games we preview here at SBR, and we generally stick to those involving good teams or at least on national television. It’s a simple fact that games involving the likes of the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, etc., draw more attention and betting action than those involving the Royals, Twins, Marlins, Padres, etc.

So, while I’d like to tell you that Saturday night’s Indians-Royals matchup has some intriguing story line, it probably doesn’t. Cleveland has essentially nothing to play for the rest of the regular season as it’s miles ahead in the AL Central and locked into the third seed for the playoffs. It will open the ALDS against the AL West champion.

As for the Royals, it absolutely benefits them to lose as much as possible the rest of the way. That’s because they are battling the Baltimore Orioles for the worst record in the majors and the right to pick No. 1 overall in the 2019 amateur draft. Those two clubs are neck-and-neck right now and no other team is close. The only time in franchise history that the Royals picked first overall was in 2006 when they chose University of Tennessee pitcher Luke Hochevar. I suppose calling him a mega-bust isn’t correct since he played nine years in the majors, but he wasn’t great. Hochevar officially retired earlier this month even though he hadn’t pitched since 2016. Here are some guys in that draft the Royals could have taken: Evan Longoria (went No. 3 overall), Clayton Kershaw (No. 7), Tim Lincecum (No. 10) and Max Scherzer (No. 11).

Entering this series, the Royals had been 0-3 at home vs. Cleveland in 2018 and haven’t won a home season series vs. the Tribe since 2014.

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Corey Kluber, Nasty 93mph Two Seamer....JD Martinez, swing/miss on a pitch that hits him in the elbow.

Kluber stoically refuses to laugh. 😂 pic.twitter.com/o6IJibITAM

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 21, 2018
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Probable Pitchers: Kluber vs. Fillmyer

Could Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber win a second straight AL Cy Young Award and third career? He’s currently listed as the +450 second-favorite at BetOnline to Boston’s Chris Sale (-250), who is on the disabled list and has a history of fading late in the season.

Kluber (16-6, 2.74) leads the AL in wins and innings (174.1) and is third in WHIP (0.95), sixth in ERA and ninth in strikeouts (166). His strikeout rate is down, but his 14.4 pitches per inning are the fewest by any pitcher in the majors. Kluber is throwing more to contact.

He has never reached 20 victories. The Indians have won Kluber’s past five outings, although that looked in jeopardy last time out. Kluber allowed hits to six of the first 12 batters he faced Monday in Boston as he fell behind 3-0 in the second inning, but the Red Sox wouldn’t score again and the Tribe rallied to win. Kluber is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts this year vs. the Royals.

Kansas City rookie right-hander Heath Fillmyer (1-1, 4.57) was a fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft by Oakland. He was acquired by the Royals this past January. He has made 11 appearances, seven of them starts. Fillmyer was knocked around for six runs and seven hits last time out at the White Sox. His K:BB ratio of 27:23 is worrisome. Fillmyer’s lone outing vs. Cleveland was three scoreless innings of relief on July 4.

  • Indians are 5-0 in Kluber’s last 5 starts vs. Royals.
  • Indians are 12-1 in Kluber’s last 13 road starts vs. a team with a losing record.
  • Royals are 4-24 in their last 28 home games vs. a team with a winning record.

How lousy are the Royals? As noted above, Fillmyer has appeared in 11 games this year. Kansas City has lost 10 of them. Why would anything change here? Best value MLB pick is Tribe on the runline.

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