The Indians jumped all over the Blue Jays yesterday to even up the series, and now they get to hand the ball over to ace Corey Kluber. The MLB odds board shows Cleveland as the firm favorite.
The Indians are in the -150 to -160 range to secure the victory at home and therefore go up 2-1 in the series. You can side with Toronto at a price of +145 or so on the posted MLB betting odds.
What kind of total do we see at the top online sportsbooks? The O/U is at 7.5 runs, with most of those expected to come from the bats of the Indians against young Aaron Sanchez.
Cleveland Indians (Kluber)
It was a great day at the plate for the Indians up against veteran Mark Buehrle yesterday, and they ended up easily winning and cashing as the small favorites in the MLB odds. With the victory, they've moved up to 8-14 on the season, and now they send out Corey Kluber to the mound in hopes of taking control of the series.
Kluber has been far from his dominant best early on in this season, going 0-3 with a 4.24 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in five starts thus far. He opened 2015 with three stellar performances in a row, but he's struggled over his last two outings, allowing a whopping 23 hits and 12 runs (10 earned) in 12 and 1/3 innings of work. The Indians have lost all five games in which Kluber has started, but you know that's going to turn around sooner rather than later.
Why? Kluber is that good. The right-hander went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA and 269:51 K:BB ratio in 2014 and was 10-3 with a 2.40 ERA at home. He went 1-1 with a 3.95 ERA in two meetings against Toronto last season. Will he be able to shut down a potent Blue Jays offense this afternoon? The odds suggest he will.
Toronto Blue Jays (Sanchez)
Buehrle was beaten up badly yesterday, allowing 11 hits and eight earned runs over 4 and 1/3 innings. It was a brutal day at the office for the right-hander. As a result of the loss, the Blue Jays see their record drop to 11-13 on the season, while they're now 6-8 on the road.
It's hard to see things getting much better today with young Aaron Sanchez set to receive the starting assignment in game three of the series. Sanchez has gone 1-2 with a 5.03 ERA and 1.68 WHIP in four starts and has yet to log six full innings in any of his assignments. The 22-year-old has struggled mightily with his command and that's led to a lot of laboring. His 16:14 K:BB ratio tells you all you need to know.
There have been rumors going around that the Blue Jays may move the right-hander to the bullpen, where he was actually slated to start the season before an injury to Marcus Stroman saw a spot in the rotation open up. Either way, there are going to still be a lot of growing pains coming up for Sanchez and he's just going to have to work at it.
We think it's only a matter of time before Kluber returns to his dominant self, and we wouldn't be too surprised to see it come today, even against a relatively imposing Toronto lineup.
Plus, we haven't been very impressed with what Sanchez has done early on this season and he's struggled in both of his road starts.
The MLB odds have Cleveland favored by a large margin and there isn't a ton of value on a straight moneyline play. So, we'll take a chance on the Indians with our MLB picks on Saturday afternoon and back the team to win by at least two runs.
MLB Pick: Cleveland Indians -1.5 (+145)