MLB Picks: Indians at Royals Series Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 4/18/2011
Well, I can honestly say that before the 2011 Major League Baseball season began I certainly never anticipated previewing a Cleveland Indians-Kansas City Royals matchup, much less one with first place in the American League Central on the line. Oh, and did I mention the best record in the AL is on the line too? Meanwhile, the Twins are in last place. That division is literally upside down from what people expected.
How the Teams Enter
Both clubs were going for series sweeps on Sunday. Kansas City’s four-game winning streak was snapped in a 3-2 loss to Seattle. The Royals entered the game leading the American League in batting with a .279 average, but managed just five hits, matching their season low. Royals outfielder Alex Gordon singled in the first to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, the longest active streak in the majors and one game shy of his career best. Kansas City is the only AL team not to lose a series yet.
The Tribe did manage to sweep the Baltimore Orioles. Grady Sizemore hit a home run in his first game back from knee surgery as Cleveland won, 4-2. It was Sizemore’s first game since last May and first home run since late August 2009. He also had a double. Last season, Sizemore had one game out of 33 with multiple extra-base hits. It was Cleveland’s seventh straight home win. The Indians had not won seven straight at Progressive Field since Aug. 15-Sept. 1, 2007. It was also their third series sweep of the season. Last season, they did not do so until mid-July. Closer Chris Perez got his fifth save and hasn’t yet allowed a run in seven appearances.
Indians at Royals Series Odds
Kansas City is at -130 for the series, with the Indians at +110. Be aware that this is a four-game series and series prices are only for the first three games played – so that’s why you will only see the probables for the first three games.
Indians at Royals Series Probables
Monday: RHP Carlos Carrasco (1-1, 5.03 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Davies (1-1, 9.00) – Carrasco was bombed for seven earned runs in his season debut, but he's turned in two straight quality starts since. Davies is 3-8 with a 5.80 career ERA against Cleveland. Don’t look for Kansas City to score in the first inning tonight. Cleveland starters have not allowed a run in the first inning of the past 13 games, and opponents are hitting just .095 (4 for 42) in their first at-bat.
Tuesday: RHP Jeanmar Gomez (0-0, 0.00) vs. LHP Bruce Chen (2-0, 2.37) – Gomez is starting for Mitch Talbot, who was placed on the disabled list over the weekend. Last season he was 4-5 with a 4.68 ERA in his stint with Cleveland. He was 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in Triple-A this season. Chen has allowed just one earned run in his past two starts.
Wednesday: RHP Justin Masterson (3-0, 1.33) vs. RHP Luke Hochevar (2-1, 4.21) – Masterson might be your AL Cy Young winner right now. Last time out he limited the Orioles to one run over seven innings. He is 6-3 with a 2.45 ERA in his last 16 games (11 starts) covering 77 innings. Hochever held Seattle to just one run and one hit, by Ichiro Suzuki, over seven innings last time out.
MLB Picks: Indians at Royals Prediction
Cleveland is 10-8 against the Royals in each of last three seasons. They have won seven straight season series. I actually think they split the four games, but Cleveland will win two of the first three (losing Gomez’s start), so go with the Tribe here.
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