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June 15, 2016

There is one pick tonight.

Take Cleveland Indians (-140) on the ML against Kansas City Royals risking 4.2% to win 3%.
(Kluber and Kennedy must start for wager to have action)

Tonight’s matchup between the Indians and Royals is an advantageous spot for the Tribe. The seasonal ERA and win-loss record of the two pitchers on the mound tonight appear similar, however the two veteran hurlers are heading in opposite directions and while the stats may not show it, we believe this is a mismatch on the mound.

There is a huge disparity in talent between Corey Kluber and Ian Kennedy and both pitchers have taken different paths to get to this point in the season. Kluber struggled through the first few weeks of the season and is nowhere near as mediocre of a pitcher as his overall record and ERA suggest. He has pitched much more consistently in recent weeks and now resembles the "Ace" that he is.  Meanwhile, Ian Kennedy had somewhat of a career resurgence and stormed out of the gate in the early part of the season, however things have started to regress back to the mean for the veteran as his numbers have certainly taken a dip over the past few weeks. Kennedy has given up 12 runs in less than 12 innings so far in the month of June! That includes a poor start against these same Indians on June 4th, a game which Cleveland ended up winning 7-1!

This has been a closely contested series thus far and while the KC bullpen may have done enough to give them 1-run victories in the first two matchups, we doubt it'll be enough tonight. The Tribe will not allow themselves to get swept by their division rivals. Cleveland has the much better run differential of the two clubs as their offense has scored a lot more runs than Kansas City's while their pitching staff has actually allowed fewer runners to cross home plate. Cleveland currently sits atop the AL Central division and a loss to the Royals would put them in a tie for first place! We don't believe they will want to share that lead and will do what is necessary to walk out winners.

The defending champs also have some key injuries that they are dealing with to the likes of Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas, who is out for the season. Out of the entire Royals lineup tonight, only Eric Hosmer has produced quality numbers against Kluber in the past. In fact, this current Kansas City group has a collective and embarrassing .204 batting average (in previous 240 at bats) against Corey Kluber! The Indians also have tomorrow off which means Terry Francona will not have to worry about resting key bullpen arms or others and should have everyone available for this pivotal clash. The Royals, on the other hand, have another important division game against the Tigers tomorrow and coach Ned Yost will have to keep that in mind as well.

Despite losing the first two games of the series, the Indians find themselves priced as road favorites in this situation which speaks volumes about the advantages that they will enjoy in this contest. This will likely be a close game, but the Tribe should avoid the sweep and pull off the victory behind another quality start from Corey Kluber, who's likely to out-duel and outlast Ian Kennedy.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Cleveland is 18-10 when the total is set at 8 or 8.5 runs.
  • Cleveland is 31-21 on the road after a loss over the last 2 seasons!
  • Cleveland is 5-1 in their last 6 games after losing the first two games of a series!

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