That was some kind of performance by the Cleveland Indians on Saturday. It’s difficult to recall a team in recent memory who made Homer Bailey look like an All-Star. The Indians managed just 2 hits against a guy who was 1-20 in his last 21 games as a starter going into last night. A broken clock is right twice a day, so maybe it was just Bailey’s time to finally get his one good start out of the way.
Despite his sharp performance, I wouldn’t be scared to fade him in the future. Rather than focus on how good Bailey was on the bump in 7 innings of successful work, the attention is on how bad the Indians’ bats were. How many more breaking balls are they going to lazily slap at before wanting to play baseball.
The excuse of Francisco Lindor isn’t in the lineup isn’t going to cut it for very long. Even if he’s playing right now, it doesn’t take away from how badly everyone else in the lineup has been attempting to hit the ball at the plate. Lindor can’t take every at-bat. When he returns it will help, but others are going to have to start seeing the ball better as well. With Mike Clevinger out, it’s even more important for the offense to produce.
The Indians dropped to 8-5 with the loss on Saturday. Certainly nothing wrong with that, though I don’t think they’re going to be able to just coast like they did last season. If they get stuck in that mindset, they might as well hand the AL Central over to the Twins. Relying solely on the pitching staff to carry them isn’t going to work either. Although, the Indians will have their ace on the bump Sunday. Cleveland are expected to give the starting nod to Corey Kluber, while Jakob Junis starts for the Royals. Head below for our free Indians vs. Royals pick.
Cleveland Indians vs. K.C. Royals Pick:
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Kluber is expected to do a lot of heavy lifting for the Indians this season, along with the rest of the pitching staff. It’s been a decent start for them, and they even got a nice outing from Jefry Rodriguez last night. His standout performance wasn’t good enough to get a win, though. They weren’t expecting Rodriguez to pitch that well, so they missed an opportunity to get a win with a guy who is filling in for an injured Clevinger.
Kluber has had a couple of nice starts this season, sandwiched between an outing he’d like to put in the garbage can. He opened the season against the Twins and allowed 4 hits and 2 runs across 7 innings. Nicely done, but he unraveled with 8 hits and 4 earned runs allowed in 3.1 innings against the White Sox in his next showing.
He was able to bounce back against the Tigers in Detroit, with just 1 earned run allowed against the Tigers. Kluber will likely have another quality season for the Indians, and there is no reason to believe that he won’t play the part against the Royals this afternoon. He hit a career-high with a 2.25 ERA in 2017 and then followed it up with another impressive year last year, posting a 2.89 ERA in 33 starts.
He has an extensive history against this Royals lineup and has seen success against the bunch. In 193 at-bats, the Royals are hitting just .218 with Alex Gordon clueless at .143 in 56 plate appearances against Kluber. I have faith in him to handle the Royals on Sunday.
Maybe the Indians’ offense can get going against Junis? They do have a solid history when facing Junis. Note that they’re hitting .324 with a .387 against him in 68 at-bats. The only issue is that Lindor is the only guy to hit a homer off him, and he of course will not be playing this afternoon. Junis has had a shaky start to the season, posting an ERA of 5.74 with a 1.60 WHIP.
Opposing hitters have a .352 OBP against Junis in 15.2 innings pitched against the White Sox, Tigers, and Mariners. The win yesterday was just the fourth of the year for the Royals. Despite the two wins over Cleveland, they’re still not a good team. Kluber likely gets the Indians back on track Sunday, while the offense does just enough to help him out.