Triston McKenzie (1-0, 2.70 ERA) vs. Jakob Junis (1-0, 4.26 ERA)
The Cleveland Indians responded in a big way after giving their star pitcher no run support on Monday. Shane Bieber was left out to dry, as the Indians were edged out by a score of 2-1 in the first game of this series. It was a different story on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The bats came out to play for the Tribe in a 10-1 win. Matt Harvey was shelled for 6 hits and 5 earned runs in 1.1 innings. Harvey is trying to keep his major league career alive, but he isn’t doing himself any favors with the Royals. The Indians were the latest team to put a dent in Harvey’s season.
With the win and White Sox loss last night, they’re in a two-way tie for first in the AL Central. The only downside to that is the team to beat the White Sox was the Twins, so the Twins inch a bit closer. Minnesota is a game and a half behind the Indians and White Sox.
The Detroit Tigers won again last night and are within striking distance at 3.5 games back. I’m not expecting the Tigers to come out of nowhere to pass all three teams, but you have to give them a shot to reach the postseason. In a normal season, no, they aren’t going to get in, but the Tigers might have a chance late. In any case, the Indians and company likely don’t have to worry about Detroit.
The Indians traded Mike Clevinger at the trade deadline to the San Diego Padres. Ever since he breached COVID-19 policies in Cleveland, it didn’t feel like Clevinger was well liked in the clubhouse. That put into motion a trade for a very quality pitcher. The Padres get a good one in Clevinger, and the Indians trade a guy that might have been serving as a distraction.
The Indains feel confident without Clevinger, though. 23-year-old Triston McKenzie has something to do with that. The rookie has been solid and is scheduled to make his third start in Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium today. Jakob Junis is scheduled to counter for the Royals. Head below for our free Cleveland Indians vs. KC Royals pick for September 2, 2020.
Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals MLB Betting Odds:
Cleveland Indians vs. KC Royals Prediction:
Triston McKenzie has been able to show why the Indians aren’t too sad about Mike Clevinger leaving. McKenzie heads into Wednesday with an ERA of 2.70 and 0.90 WHIP through two starts. 10 innings isn’t enough to judge any pitcher, but the Indians must feel good about McKenzie if they were willing to send Clevinger to San Diego.
McKenzie held the Tigers and Cardinals to 3 earned runs across 10 innings of work. A couple of long balls were his biggest mistakes. Other than that, though, McKenzie has been in good form. He has conceded only 5 hits as a major league pitcher.
If the offense comes to play like they did last night at Kauffman Stadium, then McKenzie will be in good shape with plenty of run support. However, I think Jakob Junis should be able to offer more resistance than Harvey did last night.
Junis has been serviceable with an ERA of 4.26 and 1.58 WHIP. The 27-year-old has given up 2 earned runs in all three of his starts. The most he’s reached in a game is 4.2 innings on the bump. He’s had a heck of a time trying to slow down Cleveland in past meetings.
The Indians are hitting .352 with a .401 OBP against Junis in 125 at-bats. They’ve scored 24 runs and racked up 6 home runs against Junis during that stretch. Francisco Lindor has destroyed Junis for 4 home runs and 12 RBI with a .500 average in 32 at-bats. If he isn’t careful with Lindor at the plate, then it’s likely going to be more of the same. Expect the Indians to stay hot on Wednesday in Kansas City.