The Corey Kluber show continues in Tampa on Sunday, with the Indians and Rays gearing up for yet another important game in the American League. With each passing day, this race keeps getting more interesting. The Mariners dropped another one to the Angels last night, giving away a solid start by Erasmo Ramirez. Once Ramirez left and the Mariners went to the bullpen it was game over. Getting Felix Hernandez back would be nice, but David Phelps in the rotation would be especially nice.
The Angels have moved in possession of a wildcard, while the Mariners have slipped to a game back and the Twins 0.5 back. The Rays are sitting tight with a 1 game deficit for the final postseason spot in the American League. For those that need a reminder, the two wildcards will play a one-game play-in game to see who advances to the next round. Along with the Angels, the Yankees have the other spot in the AL. The Red Sox appear like they are creating some adequate space between them and the Yanks. There is still plenty of time to go, though.
The Indians are holding on to a 4.5 game lead in the AL Central, so feeling pretty good about their chances at this point. The Twins are the next team up in the division and have played better baseball than anybody gave them credit for before the season began. The Tribe and Red Sox are always going to get my stamp approval over other teams in the American League because of their lockdown bullpens. Kluber hasn’t needed much help from the bullpen, as he’s been hot on the hump lately. He will take on Austin Pruitt this afternoon. Head below for our free MLB betting pick for Sunday.
Cleveland Indians vs. Tampa Bay Rays Pick
Corey Kluber (10-3, 2.65 ERA) vs. Austin Pruitt (6-3, 5.14 ERA)
Pruitt is making the fourth start of his career, after transitioning from the bullpen to the starting rotation. He’s a 27-year-old rookie and being thrown right into the fire in a postseason bid for the Rays. Pruitt couldn’t handle the Yankees in his first start, as he got hit for 5 runs in 5 innings but he’s settled down since. In his last two outings against the Astros and Red Sox, he allowed just 1 run total. So, after the shaky debut against the Yanks, Pruitt settled down nicely to shut down two good offenses. He will look to make it another today.
Pruitt may not have much room to be off course today against a pitcher like Kluber. Kluber enters with an overall ERA of 2.65 and 0.91 WHIP. He went 9 innings deep in each of his last two outings, giving the bullpen the days off. In 18 innings he’s surrendered just 2 runs. The Rays have yet to score a run this weekend, getting blanked 5-0 and 3-0. Tampa have lost four of their last five and the Indians can make it another loss today. Kluber has a good chance of making that happen. The UNDER is 5-0 in the Indians last five, while it’s 9-1 in the Rays last ten games. This one should make for a low-scoring struggle between the Indians and Rays.
PICK: UNDER 7.5 (-115)