In my pick yesterday in the game between the San Diego Padres and the Colorado Rockies, I asked the question, who wouldn’t want to back the Padres as underdogs right now? The Padres have been winning nearly every game they have played in the past two weeks, and after loading up on talent in a major way this week with a whopping six trades, I felt that the Padres were going to be hyped up and playing well, and to see them as underdogs was shocking.
The starting pitching matchup scared me a little bit, as Garrett Richards had been getting beaten up in his previous two starts, but he was strong in his lone Coors Field start earlier this year, and I noted that he didn’t need to be all that great to give this Padres powerful lineup a chance to win the game. And that if he could just be mediocre, the Padres would do plenty against Rockies starter German Marquez, who had been really pitching poorly in his previous four starts, after a strong start to the year.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) September 1, 2020
As expected, the Padres managed to hit Marquez early and often, hammering him for five runs in the first four innings. Richards lasted only three and two-thirds of an inning but didn’t allow a run and gave up just one hit. The San Diego bullpen did the rest, as they pitched a shutout, and the Padres coasted to a no-sweat, underdog victory.
The Padres debuted a couple of their new assets, as both Auston Nola and Mitch Moreland started, and Trevor Rosenthal pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out two guys, in the win. The Padres will add several more key players this week, and in my book, the Padres just became the favorites to win the National League pennant, sorry Dodgers fans. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to Kansas City, where the Royals will host the Cleveland Indians.
Cleveland Indians (21-14) at Kansas City Royals (14-21)
The Kansas City Royals host the Cleveland Indians tonight in game two of a three-game series. The Royals took game one last night in dramatic fashion, as they rallied from behind late, to steal the game 2-1. It was the Royals first win this year when trailing after the seventh inning and was a gut punch for an Indians team that was already having a bad day, after seeing Mike Clevinger get traded away to the San Diego Padres before first pitch.
For Cleveland, the Indians are left reeling after yesterday’s big trade, and with the loss, they fall to second place in the American League Central Division, now a full game behind the streaking Chicago White Sox. The Indians have now lost back to back games and are just 5-5 in their last ten. Cleveland is going to have to turn things around quickly if they want a chance at hanging around the top of the uber-competitive AL Central standings.
Starting tonight for the Indians is Zach Plesac (1-1 1.29 ERA), and for the Royals, it is Matt Harvey (0-1 11.12 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine runs. The Indians are big -205 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 PM PST from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
The Cleveland Indians management made a major statement this weekend when they traded away starting pitcher Mike Clevinger. They put the rest of the team on notice that nobody is bigger than the team and traded Clevinger away after he broke team COVID-19 protocol a couple of weeks ago. Clevinger is still on the right side of thirty and has been one of the best pitchers in the American League the last several seasons, so it was a bold statement, to say the least.
And when you look at how this might affect the Indians, it could hurt, bad. The Indians are one of the lowest-scoring teams in the game, and the only way they have managed to win games this year is by completely shutting down the opposing team.
The Cleveland bullpen has been very good this year, but Cleveland fans have to be screaming after losing Trevor Bauer, Cory Kluber, and now Mike Clevinger over the course of the last couple of years, and Cleveland is going to wish they had these guys back for the stretch run this season.
Zach Plesac (1-1 1.29 ERA)
Somehow, Zach Plesac survived the trade deadline yesterday and is still pitching for the Cleveland Indians. Plesac was also involved in the breaking of team COVID-19 protocols, and most expected him to get moved as well. But the Indians couldn’t find a suitor, and they will move forward with Plesac in their rotation for now. And that’s a good thing for the Indians division title hopes, as Plesac has been very good this year in limited action.
Plesac hasn’t pitched in almost three weeks, as he was banished to the Indians alternate training site for his transgressions, but in three starts this year, he has been stellar. His ERA of 1.29 is elite, and he has managed to shut down a Chicago White Sox lineup, that is one of the hardest hitting in the game, twice, as he has a combined fourteen innings pitched against the South Siders this season, and has yet to allow a single run. Cleveland will need Plesac to step into Clevinger’s shoes right away and fill the big hole left by his departure in the Indian’s rotation.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals are bad, and they are going to be even worse the rest of the way out, as they traded away their closer in Trevor Rosenthal, and their platoon center fielder, Brett Phillips, this week for prospects and cash. The Royals are clearly in rebuild mode but are enjoying playing spoiler this year, as they have five wins over their division rival Minnesota Twins, two wins over the Indians, a win over the White Xox, and two wins over the Tigers.
Matt Harvey (0-1 11.12 ERA)
The Royals picked up Matt Harvey from the junk pile early last month, and he has made two starts for the Royals and has not pitched well. Harvey has pitched a combined 5.2 innings and has gotten blasted for seven earned runs. The days off Matt Harvey being a respectable Major League pitcher are long gone, and at this point, the Royals are just looking for a guy to show up and eat up innings until they finish what is expected to be a multi-year rebuild.
Who Do I Like?
I don’t like either of these teams right now. The Indians have been sluggish recently, and after seeing them trade away one of their best pitchers, this team has to be dejected. It was a Bill Belichick type of move, but usually, only Bill Belichick gets away with moves like that, and that’s why nobody else does them. Trading away, Clevinger is going to hurt this team, both on the field and in the clubhouse.
We saw them come out flat yesterday, and again they did not hit well, scoring just one run. And to see the Royals steal the game late had to be a morale killer. I am officially on the fade the Indians bandwagon at this point, as they can’t hit, and now they might even struggle on the mound, with one of their key starters gone. I still see the Indians finding a way into the postseason, but they aren’t winning the division title, and they won’t do much when they do get to the playoffs.
The Cleveland Indians have gone under their posted game total 23 times in 33 games this season. That is the most unders in the Major Leagues this year. Guess which team has the third most unders in the game right now? Yep, you guessed it, the Kansas City Royals. Even though Matt Harvey is awful, I would expect the Indians to struggle at the plate again today.
And Zach Plesac has been very good, so I don’t see the Royals scoring many runs either. If the Royals can’t score, which is going to be tough against Plesac and this elite Indians bullpen, I just don’t see any way that the Indians can score enough runs to go over by themselves.
I am jumping on the under nine runs and expecting a low scoring affair. Will, the Indians find a way to win the game? Probably. But do they show any value whatsoever at -205? Absolutely not. So, I will stick with the safer play, and take just the under, and expect another boring game, with minimal action tonight in Kansas City.