MLB Pick: Indians Favorites Pull One Back On Series' Final Clash vs. Orioles

Cleveland Indians

Swinging Johnson

Sunday, July 24, 2016 2:21 PM GMT

The Orioles are gunning for a series sweep over their guests, the Indians, this afternoon. Let's review the matchup, as well as the MLB odds, and cash a winner in this series finale.

Cleveland Indians vs Baltimore Orioles

Swinger’s MLB Record: 56-25, +31.75 units
Yesterday I decided to back the lowly San Diego Padres in my MLB picks as a +284 road dog in Washington. One of my readers emailed me and suggested not to tinker with a winning percentage that was north of 70 percent with a big underdog like San Diego. He parenthetically stated that while hitting a huge underdog would be great, the chances of it winning was less than ideal. I understand the sentiment because handicapping an entire season in any one sport at a 70 percent clip is almost unheard of. I know there are cappers who have claimed it but then again, touts are known to have a complicated relationship with the truth.

As for my record, I am happy to report I have no editorial control over the content I create for SBR. Simply put, I send in my columns and they publish them. I can't rewrite them to serve my own purposes and if you go back on all my articles you will find my record is completely legitimate. But I won't be cautiously capping the rest of the way. My record will be what it will be and my winning percentage will, in all likelihood, take a dip. But at the end of the day I want to win money for my readers and that's why I would rather have a modest winning percentage but a huge return. Underdogs make that happen and a steady diet of laying north of -200 (or -330 as it was with Max Scherzer and the Nationals over the Padres yesterday) is a recipe for disaster. I will always go for big value and San Diego almost made me look like a genius but they ultimately bowed 3-2 in the final frame.

Let's review the MLB odds for this series finale at Camden Yards and get back on the winning track.

 

ALCS Preview?
As of this morning the AL Central leading Indians share an identical record with the beast of the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles. Both clubs are 56-40 and boast the best winning percentage in the American league. The Orioles have secured 5-1 and 5-2 victories in the first two contests and now look to put a big ol' bow on the series as they look to complete a three-game sweep this afternoon.

The Indians will look to avoid the sweep when they send Corey Kluber (9-8, 3.63 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) to the hill, who has turned in a pair of fine performances over his last two starts. Kluber shut down the Yankees over eight innings, allowing only one run on five hits in the team's 10-2 thrashing of New York on July 8th. He then returned to the mound 10 days later and blanked the defending World Champion Kansas City Royals over seven innings, surrendering five hits and no runs. Unfortunately for Kluber, the Indians bullpen melted which led to a 7-3 defeat.

Baltimore will counter with Vance Worley (1-1, 6.00 ERA, 1.40 WHIP in three starts) who has been taken out of long relief and put back in the rotation. Worley did not look comfortable in his first start since April when he lasted just four plus innings and was touched for three runs on three hits in a 7-1 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday.

 

Betting Analysis
The former AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber has been a mixed bag this season. He has not been the lights out, stud ace stopper of 2014 and may never be again. Kluber is undeniably a better than average pitcher and solid No. 2 guy or even an amazing No. 3 if your team was stacked with pitching. He has surrendered five runs or more on five occasions this seasons which gives me cause for pause when I hear people classifying him as elite. Kluber is not elite though he was for one year, two seasons ago. However, it should be noted that he has gotten better as the season has worn on. Kluber's ERA has dropped in every month and he enjoyed a sparkling June with a 2.19 ERA. That trend could end as Kluber enters this contest with a 2.95 ERA for July and will most likely get one more start after this to wrap up the month.

Kluber is 1-1 with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.446 WHIP at Camden Yards throughout his career and looking for his 10th win of the season. Though Baltimore boasts one of the most tenacious offenses in the majors, it should be noted that Cleveland has actually produced more runs this season (475 vs. 466) than the O's.

I am leaning towards the Tribe in this one. They have a better starter than the long reliever pressed into action for Baltimore, due to the paternity leave of starter Ubaldo Jiminez. I confess I am not fond of laying the lumber in the backyard of one of the best teams in baseball but the Indians also occupy residence with the Orioles in that rarified air and have a much better head start to this game with Kluber on the hill.

 

Free MLB Pick: Indians -133
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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