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Indians vs. Royals Pick MLB – August 31st

The Angles have beaten Jeff Samardzija and Jon Lester in back to back days to take a commanding four game lead with a chance to complete the sweep tonight and possibly put a nail in the coffin of the Oakland A’s AL West hopes. It doesn’t make the respective trades “bad” per se, nor does it mean that Oakland can’t win today, get hot, and still win the AL West. Nor does it mean they can’t still win their wild card game and then rise their revamped rotation to a World Series crown. The results of the last two days don’t preclude any of the above from happening and they don’t make Billy Beane’s big gamble “wrong.”

But they do make it a whole lot easier to ask the question…

It’s a wacky sport sometimes. Oakland makes a blockbuster deal to bolster the rotation. The Angles stand pat and then subsequently lose their best starter to a freak ACL injury.   All they’ve done since is reel off seven wins in their last ten games including four straight against the A’s.

We will try to cap off the week with a rebound winner on Sunday Night Baseball.

Today’s Free Pick:

Cleveland Indians +150 at Kansas City Royals -158 (Total: 8)

T.J. House (2-3, 4.18 ERA) vs. Danny Duffy (8-11, 2.47 ERA)

Just when the Royals were making strides towards capturing a stunning division crown, they’ve hit some stumbles heading into Labor Day, the unofficial white flag of the MLB season. They are back into a dead heat with the Tigers after losing three straight games and need a big effort from Danny Duffy to avoid a damaging series sweep to Cleveland.

The Indians will send TJ House to the mound, and he has been good in his first three starts since being recalled to the major leagues. The problem is he also made a fourth start in whih he lasted only 4 2/3 innings allowing five earned runs. Was it a small blip or a regression to the norm as the league gets more familiar with him?

The Royals will counter with tough-luck loser Danny Duffy. The lefty has eleven losses on the season, yet an ERA UNDER two and a half. That’s a dazzling ERA to have double digit losses. It makes me a little cautious to back to Royals at a huge line (-158) tonight.

Neither team hits lefties as well as they hit right-handed pitching, which bodes well for a pair of southpaws tonight.   Both teams have stayed UNDER more than they’ve gone OVER this season, and with an extra half-run tonight on the 8 run total, I like this game to stay UNDER. I thought this one would be a 7.5 with the numbers Duffy has put up lately.

I’ll take a well-played, low-scoring affair tonight in a rare Royals appearance in National Television. SO enjoy your “oh, that’s what Alex Gordon and Billy Butler look like” moment on ESPN, and root for some good pitching and defense.

Free Pick: Run TOTAL UNDER 8