Shane Bieber (6-0, 1.35 ERA) vs. Brad Keller (3-1, 2.08 ERA)
The Cleveland Indians are on the road in Kansas City for a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium against the Royals. The Indians are coming off a 7-2 loss against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday. That was a sweep opportunity for the Indians and they came up short.
Nevertheless, it was a good weekend for the Indians, as they won two of three games, but the loss on Sunday puts them into a two-way tie with the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. The Indians will have to be great down the stretch in the second half and not just good.
It’s a tight race in the AL Central, with the White Sox and Indians tied, while the Twins trail by a game and a half. I don’t have much faith in the Detroit Tigers finding it in them to mount a comeback, but they’re within shouting distance at 16-16 for a four-game deficit. The Royals are well back with a record of 13-21 and eight games behind.
It’s a race between the White Sox, Indians, and Twins. The Indians have the most impressive rotation of the bunch, which should help down the stretch. Despite not having an offense that stands up to the Twins, it usually comes down to pitching late in the season.
The Indians can go from the bottom to the top of their rotation and get results. Aaron Civale was rocked on Sunday for 8 hits and 5 earned runs, but is certainly capable of pitching much better than that terribly display. When everyone is pitching up to their expectations, the Indians’ starting rotation is dangerous.
The most dangerous of all is their Cy Young candidate, Shane Bieber. Going into the second half of the season, Bieber is certainly worthy of winning the Cy Young. Whether he can stay hot remains to be seen, though. Bieber still has several starts to go down the pipeline. Bieber will get the nod against the Royals, while Brad Keller counters for the Royals. Head below for our free Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals pick for August 31, 2020.
Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals MLB Betting Odds:
Cleveland Indians vs. KC Royals Prediction:
The Royals will have to find a way to score on Shane Bieber on Monday evening. I’m not even talking about a lot of runs, because the Royals might be able to steal a win with Brad Keller on the bump. But it might be difficult to just get a little bit of offense against Bieber. The American League Cy Young favorite is likely going to be a tough team to score on today. Bieber has an ERA of 1.35 and 0.81 WHIP through seven games and 46.2 innings. In his previous 19 innings, Bieber has conceded 2 earned runs.
Bieber has held batters to an average of .176 at the plate. He’s seen the Royals in 92 at-bats and kept them in check with a .223 batting average. The key to this game is going to be Brad Keller. If he pitches like he has for most of this season, then he might be able to keep the Royals within reach of a win here. Keller enters Monday with an ERA of 2.08 and 1.15 WHIP through four starts. However, that’s not a big sample size, and we saw Keller struggle in his most recent start.
The Cardinals got to Keller for 6 hits and 5 earned runs through 4 innings in St. Louis. This was after going three straight games without giving up a run. Keller was terrific through 17.2 innings to open the season. He’s coming off an adequate season as a sophomore, with an ERA of 4.19 and 1.35 WHIP through 28 games and 165.1 innings. Keller should be in better form than he was in his last outing, but keeping up with Bieber likely won’t be easy. I’d side with the Indians in what looks like a 5-2 or 5-3 final score.