A Thursday matinee will settle the MLB odds series between the Indians and Royals. Join us for a preview and free baseball pick for the matchup in Kansas City.
Wednesday's Game 3
By: Willie Bee
It didn't take Kansas City manager Ned Yost long to realize he had seen enough of Royals starter Danny Duffy on Wednesday. Just three outs into the game and his Royals already trailing 4-zip, Yost turned to his bullpen as the Cleveland Indians skated to a series-leveling 10-3 win in Kansas City.
The two clubs will decide this 3-game set Thursday afternoon with a 2:10 PM (ET) first pitch at Kauffman Stadium. Edinson Volquez will deliver that first pitch for the Royals and attempt to level his season record; Corey Kluber takes the mound for the Indians in search of his first victory of 2015.
Opening MLB odds were tight, as one would expect with a pitching matchup like this one, and Wagerweb is carrying it as a pick 'em on game day, the 'over' favored on a 7½ run total.
Tribe Still Winless Behind Ace
It has been a very rough start on Kluber so far as defending his 2014 AL Cy Young. He's 0-4 with a rising ERA, and after winning 22 of his 34 starts a year ago, the Indians are 0-6 and down more than 8 units behind Kluber.
The Royals knocked him around 10 days ago in Cleveland, the defense behind Kluber also adding to that 6-2 loss as $1.40 favorites on the MLB betting card. The 'Bama native had done fairly well overall vs. the Royals before that, the Tribe going 6-3 in the previous nine starts with a sub-3.00 ERA, all three losses coming in Kansas City where Kluber has a 4.58 ERA in six appearances (35.1 IP).
Volquez has lost both of his assignments since serving his suspension, but didn't pitch badly at the White Sox and home vs. Detroit (11.2 IP, 3 ER). The Royals will be his 6th-straight AL Central foe to face, and first against Cleveland since a disastrous interleague outing in 2011 while pitching for the Reds. That was the second time in three career starts against them that the Indians lit Volquez up, though only a half-dozen hitters in tonight's lineup have faced him for a grand total of 36 plate appearances (.658 OPS).
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
The series will end with crew chief Gerry Davis calling the balls and strikes. The 62-year-old has alternated 'over' and 'under' winners on the baseball odds to begin his 34th season, all four home teams losing the games, three times as home chalk for a grand total of -5 units for anyone following those teams.
In addition to potentially dodging raindrops, baseball bettors will want to take note of the wind in this one. The forecast calls for a 15-20 mph SSW blow (out to center, left-center) with gusts as high as 25 mph. Kluber is going to get it together at some point, but for today, I'm running with the 'over' (-115) for my free MLB pick.
Wednesday's Game 2
By: Willie Bee
The Cleveland Indians struck first. The Kansas City Royals struck last and with more authority. The end result was a Royals victory on Monday, lifting Kansas City to the top of the American League Central heap by a half-game over the Detroit Tigers.
What started as a slugfest petered out in KC's 5-3 decision that just barely made it 'over' a 7½ run total. Eric Hosmer delivered the big blows with a 3-run homer and RBI triple for the Royals, Jason Vargas and the Kansas City bullpen doing the rest.
We have another 7½ run total on the MLB Odds for the second game of the set, scheduled for an 8:10 PM (ET) start at Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City is light chalk in the -120 to -130 range, Danny Duffy getting the starting call for Ned Yost's club. Terry Francona and the Indians counter with Carlos Carrasco.
Royals 4-1 Behind Lefty Duffy
Carrasco has settled into a win one, lose one rut in this first five outings, Wednesday's pitching matchup headed towards a defeat should he keep that up. The Venezuelan has a 2.59 ERA in the three victories so far, that clip soaring to 14,53 in the two defeats. His 29/6 strikeout to walk ratio in under 22 innings is impressive, and Carrasco has only served up two long balls.
The righthander is making his first start at Kauffman Stadium since 2011, both of his assignments that season resulting in Cleveland victories. Carrasco has held the current Royals hitters pretty much in check with Alex Gordon, Alex Rios and Mike Moustakas a combined 3-for-35 (.085) against him.
Duffy had a poor performance in his season debut vs. the Tigers (5 IP, 5 ER), but he has since settled into a nice groove with a 2.28 ERA in the four starts since. Kansas City has won four of the southpaw's five outings, most recently an 8-1 decision vs. Detroit with Duffy allowing a run in seven innings of work. Six starts and a relief appearance vs. the Indians over his career have yielded a 2-1 personal record -- Royals 4-2 in the starts -- and 2.60 ERA.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Now in just his second full season calling games in the big leagues, Will Little should have the plate for Game 2. The Tennessee native is 2-1 O/U calling balls and strikes this season after going 15-18 a year ago. Little is calling balls and strikes on this diamond for just the second time, his other KC contest skipping past the total.
It's going to rain in Kansas City during the day, that much we know for sure. What we don't know is whether it will taper off and the grounds crew can get the field ready to go by the appointed time. We also know it's going to be a windy evening at Kauffman, the 14-18 mph blow from the SSE helping balls headed out to left.
The Indians simply don't exude a lot of confidence right now, and that's why I'm going with the Royals (-125) for my free MLB picks in Game 2.
MLB Picks: Royals -115 at 5Dimes
Tuesday's Series Opener
By: Willie Bee
Even when clubs are having contrasting seasons such as the current states of the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals, division rivalries still have enough going for them to keep our interest when they play.
This 3-game series in Kansas City definitely has our interest as far as the baseball betting goes, as we'll be following the entire set. In fact, we're trailing the Royals all week with their trip to Detroit for a showdown with the Tigers looming this weekend.
The set at Kauffman Stadium gets underway Tuesday with an 8:10 PM (ET) first pitch. Danny Salazar looks to improve to 4-0 in his second consecutive start against the Royals, lefty Jason Vargas also aiming for his second straight dubya against the Tribe. It's close to a pick 'em on the MLB odds, GT Bets presently pushing the Royals as -115 chalk with the 'under' favored on an 8 run total.
The Royals started last week in Cleveland where they took the first two contests before dropping the finale to the Indians. The rivalry was dead-level at 28-28 between the two since the beginning of the 2012 schedule, and marked KC's second consecutive series victory at the old Jake after losing three straight there. All three games in Cleveland went 'over' the MLB Odds totals.
Five of the nine played in Kansas City last year failed to make it to the scoreboard hurdle. The Royals won the first five at Kauffman in 2014 before the Indians took the final four.
Pitching An Early Problem For The Tribe
Terry Francona is hopeful this mine 3-game road trip will help get his Cleveland (9-15, -9.3 units) club turned around after a sluggish April. After the Indians dropped the set to the Royals, they split a 4-gamer with Toronto over the weekend, needing a comeback in Sunday's finale to salvage the half before taking Monday off.
It has been something of a middling effort by the offense and poor performance on the mound that has the Tribe seven games off the pace in the AL Central. Though not entirely his fault, one can't help but notice that Cleveland is six games below .500, and 0-6 when defending AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber is on the mound. Kluber is currently scheduled to pitch Game 3 of this series.
The Indians are 3-0, however, when Salazar pitches to help erase half of Kluber's red ink. A bad spring sent Salazar to the minors to begin the season, getting the call up a little more than two weeks ago with solid results so far. The hard-throwing Dominican was touched up for four runs in his six innings of work against the Royals last week, but he's 2-1 lifetime on this mound deficit in three appearances, yet to surrender a homer in KC with a 3.50 ERA (18 IP).
Royals Could Get Closer Back For This Series
That hot start Kansas City (16-9, +7.2 units) got off to has cooled considerably in the past couple of weeks. After going 12-4 out of the gate, the Royals have dropped five of nine and enter this series on a little 2-game skid. Ned Yost is getting good all-around play from his squad, KC third in the AL averaging 5.12 RPG and first surrendering just 3.32 RPG.
Vargas walked five Indians last Monday, but worked around that by giving up just three hits and inducing a couple of double plays. Since joining the Royals before the '14 season, Vargas has faced the Indians five times now, KC going 2-3 while he pitched to a 4.70 ERA. The former Long Beach State star also owns a 4.71 ERA at Kauffman Stadium in that span.
Kansas City is expected to have closer Greg Holland back for the opener of this series. The righthander has been sidelined since April 18 with a strained pectoral, and had converted all four of his save opportunities before hitting the DL.
Rain should hold off for Tuesday's tilt, but the rest of the series could be in doubt. With a SSE wind giving balls headed to left a little extra push, I'm liking the 'over' 7½ that's available at several outlets for my free MLB picks.
Free MLB Pick: Over 7.5 at Pinnacle (+104)