Cleveland Indians vs. Texas Rangers
MLB Pick: Over 8.5 (May 15th 2015)
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The Texas Rangers struggles at home continued yesterday, losing to the Royals by a score of 6-3. They host the Indians in Game 1 of a new series tonight, and with a pair of struggling pitchers on the mound, it could be a slugfest.
Bruce Chen will toe the slab for the Tribe, and it will be just his second start of the season. Chen (0-1, 13.50 ERA) was rocked for six runs on 10 hits over four innings in a 7-4 home loss to the Twins in his debut. The veteran was let go by the Royals in the off-season, and picked up by Cleveland in a desperate move to fill a gap in the rotation. He was 9-14 with a 5.28 ERA in 29 starts on the road over the last three years.
The Rangers hand the ball to Wandy Rodriguez, who has been pretty decent so far for Texas. He’s only had one start at home though, and that was his worst of the year. Rodriguez (1-1, 2.70 ERA) allowed four runs on five hits and five walks in just 4 1/3 innings in his lone start in Texas. I think this 36 year old veteran is going to have his struggles pitching at this hitter’s park.
The Rangers bats have been hot lately, as they’ve scored an average of five runs per game over their last nine.
Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals
MLB Pick: Cleveland +107 odds (May 7th 2015)
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The Cleveland Indians get the call Thursday as road underdogs to the Kansas City Royals. The Indians got back on track with an emphatic 10-3 win at Kansas City yesterday, and I look for them to win again Thursday behind their ace and 2014 AL Cy Young winner.
Corey Kluber is coming off the best year of his career, but he’s undervalued right now due to a slow start that has seen him go 0-4 with a 4.62 ERA and 1.359 WHIP in six starts. Kluber is 4-2 with a 3.11 ERA and 1.035 WHIP in 10 career starts against Kansas City.
Conversely, Edinson Volquez is overvalued due to a great start that has seen him go 2-3 with a 2.10 ERA and 0.932 WHIP in five starts. However, Volquez does not like facing the Indians at all. Indeed, he is 1-2 with a 12.19 ERA and 2.611 WHIP in three career starts against them.
Kansas City is 1-8 (-9.1 Units) against the money line off a loss by 6 runs or more to a division rival over the last two seasons. Kluber is 25-10 (+13.3 Units) against the money line vs. teams whose hitters draw 3 walks or less/game over the last two seasons. Cleveland is 5-1 in its last six trips to Kansas City. Bet the Indians Thursday.
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Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals
MLB Pick: Cleveland Indians +105 odds (May 5th 2015)
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I think this is a good spot to take the Indians with Salazar on the rubber who has a 28K/ 5 BB mark on the season and is 3-0 on the season as well. Vs. the current members of the Royals, Salazar has a 21K/ 3 BB mark and now the Royals lineup will be a bit thin as Lorenzo Cain is suspended for this game and he was leading the Royals in batting average, OBP, and stolen bases as well. I will also note that Escobar and Rios are still on the DL for the Royals as well.
I will also note that the Indians have activated 1B Nick Swisher from the DL as this should give them some more offense hopefully. Swisher is 5-for-16 with 2 HR career vs. Vargas. Vargas takes the rubber for the Royals and he has a pitiful 9K/ 8 BB mark in 19.2 IP so obviously Vargas is not a strikeout pitcher and the 26 hits he has given up in 19.2 IP is a red flag also. This is the Royals worst pitcher and I think this is a good time to give him a fade. Opponents are hitting .420 vs. Vargas after they see him for the first time in the game. I look for the Indians to put up 3 or 4 runs in the 4th and 5th inning, then pile up a few insurance runs later in the game.
The Royals have cooled off slightly now as they have split their last 18 contest. The Indians have now won 3 of 5 and they have won the last 4 meetings in Kansas City. The Indians are 8-3 in their last 11 following an off day and are 9-2 in Salazar’s last 11 games vs. the AL Central.
Salazar and Vargas squared off against each other once last year and Cleveland won the game, 6-1. I look for more of the same tonight. Take Cleveland tonight.
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