Tuesday’s SportsBIT Show: Is This The Indians’ Year?

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Cleveland Indians at Texas Rangers
The only opening MLB series to feature division winners from last season is Rangers at Indians. Cleveland might have won the World Series last year if it had No. 2 starter Carlos Carrasco healthy. However, he was lost in early September to a hand injury and missed the playoffs. Carrasco makes his 2017 debut on Tuesday. The right-hander was 11-8 with a 3.32 ERA last year. Since Carrasco joined the Tribe’s rotation for good on Aug. 10, 2014, he's one of only three qualified pitchers to average at least 9 strikeouts per nine innings (9.8), less than 2.5 walks per nine innings (2.1) and a ground-ball percentage of at least 50 (50.7). The other two are former NL Cy Young winners Jake Arrieta of the Cubs and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers.

Texas has been a combination of lucky and good the past two seasons, winning the AL West in both but then losing in the ALDS both times to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rangers were a combined 184-141 those two regular seasons despite being just plus-7 in run differential. Texas can rake with just about any team but the pitching staff is a question mark. The Rangers turn to lefty Martin Perez here. He was 10-11 with a 4.39 ERA last year but doesn’t strike many batters out at 4.7 per nine innings. Of the 73 qualified pitchers last year in that statistic, Perez was last. He was roughed up in his lone start vs. Cleveland.

Deep Dive: Ranking Lineups
Rob Veno joins Pauly & Teddy in the Deep Dive to examine some interesting lineups in baseball this season. The guys believe the best overall could be the Indians after adding slugger Edwin Encarnacion this offseason in free agency and a full season of former All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley. He was limited to just 11 regular-season games in 2016 due to injury. The guys also are bullish on the lineups of the Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Kansas City Royals, although none of those teams’ pitching staffs are very good. The New York Mets are loaded in starting pitching but their lineup is full of holes and health questions. David Wright has already hurt again.

Charlotte Hornets at Washington Wizards
The game of the night in the NBA is Charlotte visiting Washington with both clubs jockeying for playoff position. The Wizards already have clinched a spot but are neck-and-neck with Toronto for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Washington is not playing well in winning just five of its past 12 games (3-9 ATS). The team’s defense has been one of the NBA’s worst since the All-Star break. The Wiz are also the only team in the NBA with four players ranking Top 30 in minutes played. They could be gassed. Charlotte is currently on the outside of the playoffs looking in but just barely. The Hornets are 7-2 in their past nine (7-2 ATS as well). The bench has really stepped it up of late, led by former Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky. Teddy & Pauly’s “play of the day” is Hornets +4.

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