Indians Set for Frigid Home Opener vs. Royals on Friday Afternoon

micahel brantley

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, April 5, 2018 4:33 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 5, 2018 4:33 PM UTC

Weather permitting, the Cleveland Indians play their home opener on Friday afternoon (4:10 ET) and are set to activate a former All-Star outfielder for the game.

Kansas City Royals (1-3, 1-3 O/U) at Cleveland Indians (2-4, 3-3 O/U)Free MLB Pick: Indians & UnderBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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The weather is still a major mess in the Midwest and Northeast USA, so it’s no sure thing that Cleveland’s home opener on Friday (4:10 p.m. ET) will be played at Progressive Field. The current forecast is that the game should start off in around 40-degree temperatures but that it will drop to the upper 30s by the later innings. It could be moderately windy, meaning wind chills in the low 30s and upper 20s. They’ll play in cold and wind. Rain, snow or drizzle are another thing and all are possible.

The Indians are expected to activate outfielder Michael Brantley from the disabled list before the game. He had major ankle surgery last October and the club wanted to give him a bit of extra time to get ready for the season. This guy was one of the best all-around players in baseball in 2014 when he hit .327 with 20 homers, 97 RBIs, 23 steals and a WAR of 6.97 that was sixth in the majors.

Brantley had another very good season in 2015 but was limited to 11 games in 2016 due to injury. Last year, his season was cut to 90 games due to injuries, including hurting the ankle on Aug. 8 while chasing a fly ball to left field during a game vs. Colorado. He didn’t return until the final few games of the regular season and did play in the ALDS vs. the Yankees but was just 1-for-11. Cleveland decided to pick up his $11.5 million option for 2018 because Brantley at 100 percent is worth way more than that.

The Royals have had two games postponed already. They are hoping to have first baseman Lucas Duda back in the lineup Friday. He left Monday’s game in the first inning with hamstring tightness. The long-time Met is hitting .200 with a homer and five RBIs in 10 at-bats. He can’t hit lefties at all.

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Probable Pitchers: Duffy vs. Carrasco

Cleveland was 12-7 last year against Kansas City and 7-3 at home with an average score at Progressive Field of 5.3-2.4. On Sept. 15 in Cleveland, though, the Royals won 4-3 to stop the Indians’ MLB-record 22-game winning streak (see video above).

Because Kansas City’s game Wednesday in Detroit was postponed, lefty Danny Duffy will instead start here. He was so good in 2016 but last year was full of issues, including two stints on the DL with oblique and elbow injuries, an August DUI arrest, offseason elbow surgery and having to evacuate his Santa Barbara, Calif., home because of wildfires. Duffy finished 9-10 with a 3.81 ERA. He was 0-3 with a 4.60 ERA in three starts vs. the Indians, who hit .267 off him.

Duffy opened 2018 with a rough outing vs. the White Sox, allowing five runs and seven hits (three homers) over four innings in a loss. The homers were unusual as Duffy had a strong 0.8 HR/9 rate in 2017. Brantley hits him well, going 8-for-25 with three RBIs. Francisco Lindor is 2-for-8 vs. Duffy with a homer.

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Good morning. We absolutely cannot wait to see your smiling faces once again 😁#RallyTogether pic.twitter.com/96kmZxCsbh

— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) April 5, 2018
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Cleveland right-hander Carlos Carrasco was knocked around for five runs and seven hits (two homers) over 5.2 innings in his 2018 debut in Seattle but still walked away with the W. He generated just nine swinging strikes. Carrasco is 9-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 22 career games against Kansas City. Three key Royals can’t hit him at all: Mike Moustakas is 3-for-23 with six Ks, Alex Gordon is 5-for-33 with 15 strikeouts, and Alcides Escobar is 7-for-37 with six Ks.

  • Royals are 1-5 in Duffy’s last 6 road starts vs. Indians.
  • Indians are 4-0 in Carrasco’s last 4 home starts vs. Royals.
  • Under is 7-2 in Duffy’s last 9 starts vs. Indians.

I don’t always agree with the trends but do here. With that frigid weather, the runs should be at a minimum. Thus, I’m backing the Tribe & the ‘under’ on my Friday MLB picks.

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