Free Baseball Picks: Kansas City Royals vs Cleveland Indians

Indians pitcher Danny Salazar

Saturday, May 27, 2017 12:59 PM GMT

The Royals have not won consecutive road games since the opening week, but they get a chance this afternoon as they square off against the Indians in the second of a three-game trip to Cleveland. Betting preview and pick here.

Kansas City Royals (20-27)

The Royals’ 6-4 win in the series opener versus Cleveland Friday night is a rare, but welcome occurrence. Kansas City is just 5-14 SU against AL Central foes in 2017, outscored by 2.2 runs per game. A win Saturday would be the first back-to-back victory against a division rival since last September.

The surprising Jason Vargas gets the honors for skipper Ned Yost. The veteran southpaw is 5-3 with 49 strikeouts, 13 walks, and a 2.30 ERA in nine outings. Today will mark the first time since 2014 Vargas starts 10 games or more after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The 34-year old only tosses a. 86.1 mph fastball, but owns one of the best changeups in the bigs. Opponents are hitting a paltry .100 against the pitch. Vargas is posting career-highs in a number of categories including a 2.96 FIP, 0.66 HR/9 rate, and 8.07 K/9 rate.

Vargas is coming off back-to-back losses for the first time this season. The left-hander had difficulty finding the strike zone in a 4-2 defeat to the Yankees last time out, gifting a season-high three walks. Still, Vargas put in a quality start, his seventh of the season. The wheels may be coming off, though. Vargas has allowed nine earned runs and three long balls in his last 10 frames.

Will Vargas have strong run support tonight? The numbers say probably not. In his career, the Royals are 2-6 SU as a road pup greater than +130 with the southpaw commanding the hill. K.C. scores 2.62 runs per game in this spot. Moreover, the offense is anemic in 2017, producing 3.38 runs per game. 

 

Cleveland Indians (24-22)

The Indians staff is whiffing 9.8 batters per game, which is the highest rate in MLB history. But how effective is it as preventing runs? Not very in recent weeks. Cleveland is allowing 5.10 runs per night in its last 10 games. The rotation has given manager Terry Francona one quality outing in this span.

Danny Salazar hopes to deliver a strong effort this afternoon. The flamethrower is 3-4 with 5.55 ERA in nine starts. Keeping the ball in the park is troubling Salazar. The right-hander has allowed 11 homeruns, or 2.1 per 9 innings—the latter more than double his rate in each of his prior four years of MLB service.

Nor is Salazar adept at working long into contests. Since last year’s All-Star break, the right-hander has worked just four quality starts in 17 appearances. Three of those came in April. He and the bullpen allow 5.06 runs on 8.59 hits per game in this stretch. The OVER is 10-6-1, surpassing an 8.4 average total by 1.15 runs per contest.

The Indians are 10-3 SU versus the Royals since the All-Star break last season, earning 30 percent profit to backers at -140 average odds. The staff is holding K.C. to 2.85 runs on 6.85 hits per game.

 

Kansas City Royals vs Cleveland Indians

The total moved from 8 to 8.5 in early betting, suggesting an offensive game in store. Vargas is showing signs he is coming down to earth after a blistering start, and Salazar is as inconsistent as any pitcher on Francona’s staff. If the game boils down to a lineup battle, the lean is Cleveland. The Royals bats are overmatched. Since Francona took over managing duties in 2013, the Indians are 13-4 SU at -130 average MLB odds when laying money in a matchup against K.C. with a total greater than 8 runs.

 

Free MLB Pick: Indians -159Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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