The Cleveland Indians barely survived last night, but they got out of the night with a big win to keep pace with the Minnesota Twins. With the Twins winning in Chicago against the White Sox, Thursday was a wash with nothing changing in the AL Central race. The Twins maintain a 2-game lead in the division, which is nothing considering where this was not too long ago.
It feels like yesterday that the Twins had things under control, flirting with a ten-game lead over the Indians. However, the pre-season favorites have stormed right back with an impressive run in the past month. They’ve also gotten some help with the Twins regressing after they were monsters in the first-half.
Cleveland were given nine lives last night in Kansas City. Against a good team who has long ball power, they likely don’t come out of Thursday night alive. Despite leaving a whopping 36 runners on base, the Indians were able to break through in the 14th with a Jose Ramirez home run. They also added another, which was ultimately the difference, on a Jake Bauers’ RBI single.
The Royals had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the 14th with the bases juiced and no its. All they got out of it was a sac-fly, though, and the game would end by a score of 5-4. It’s a steal for the Indians, as they head into Friday with a record of 60-42. The Royals fell back to 39-65 with the loss.
Zach Plesac, who has made the most out of the absence of Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, is scheduled to get the starting nod this evening for the Tribe. For the Royals, they will call on Jakob Junis. Head below for our free Indians vs. Royals pick.
Cleveland Indians vs. K.C. Royals Pick:
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The Indians have to be impressed with what they’ve seen of Zach Plesac this season. Even though he wasn’t planning on being a member of the starting rotation as a full timer in 2019, Plesac has handled it like a seasoned veteran. He has been a key contributor for the Indians in their comeback quest in the AL Central. Plesac heads into his 11th start of the season with a solid ERA of 3.50 and 1.09 WHIP.
He is coming off a 5-4 win over the Royals on the 21st. Plesac contributed to the win with 2 earned runs yielded in 6 innings of play. Note that the Royals are hitting just .188 with 1 long ball against him in 32 at-bats. We should expect to see him put forward another solid outing on Friday night. In his last three outings, Plesac has been solid with a 3.09 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. His team has gone 7-3 in his outings in 2019 and 5-1 in his last six.
With the victory last night, the Indians moved to 8-1 in their previous nine games against the Royals. Half of those wins came in KC, so they haven’t been shy about playing at Kauffman. Junis comes into this one hot, though, so maybe he’s the answer. He holds an ERA of 1.35 with a 0.95 WHIP and .244 OBA in his last 20 innings.
This is way beyond his overall production, though. Junis has a 4.83 ERA and posted ERA’s of 4.30 and 4.37 the last two seasons. Despite shutting down the Indians in his last showing, he has a career ERA of 5.73 against the Indians in nine starts and one effort in relief. Expect the Tribe to get back to business against Junis in this one. Look for another Cleveland win at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City this evening.