Carlos Carrasco will settle on to the mound in Kansas City tonight and look to improve on his already stellar campaign in 2016. Carrasco is hoping to bring the Indians over the hill and into prominence. Behind him, the Indians have made it all the way to the top of the AL Central. A division thoroughly controlled by the Tigers and Royals over the past few seasons, has witnessed the Indians jump right over them, thus far anyway. The Royals got throttled by the Indians last night, a 7-3 win. Meanwhile the Tigers had troubles with the Twins at home, putting only 2 runs up on the board against Tommy Milone, falling by a score of 6-2.
The Tigers have been cold offensively, scoring just 3 runs the last two games. Cleveland was able to extend their lead in the AL Central, with the Tigers losing and Indians getting a big win over the 3rd place Royals. Anibal Sanchez surprisingly pitched fine, but the Tigers couldn’t get to Milone. That is a missed opportunity for the Tigers. Strong starts from Sanchez are hard to come by this year.
Now the Indians can do some more damage tonight, with a guy who has taken over as one of the aces on the squad. There isn’t much wrong the Indians have been doing this season. The Tribe haven’t faltered following the All-Star Break either, compiling a 3-2 record in their first five games back. The perception here is that the Indians are going to fall apart in the second-half, but so far anyway, the Indians have been looking good. The Indians don’t want to look back in September and be the team that could have had so much more. Conversely, it’s evident the Kansas City Royals have to put in some extra work to successfully defend their World Series.
A spot in the postseason is looking in doubt right now, and as we head to the tail-end of July, the Royals have to start showing signs of life. Mike Moustakas has been dearly missed in this lineup. Adding to the headache, is a recent addition to the disabled list, Lorenzo Cain. We’ll see in the next several weeks if the Royals can dig deep and make a run on the Indians. A win this afternoon would be a good start, but they have a mountain to climb against Carrasco.
Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals
Carlos Carrasco (6-3, 2.49 ERA) vs. Ian Kennedy (6-7, 3.86 ERA)
Carrasco was not at the All-Star Game, he wasn’t selected to go to the festivities. Perhaps Indians’ fans were too busy celebrating the Cavaliers’ NBA Championship to bother voting him, or the more likely scenario, was that Carrasco missed all of May. When he’s been healthy, Carrasco has pitched like an All-Star. He is as good as or better than the guys that were there at the All-Star Game. Carrasco has boasted a 2.49 ERA, along with a 1.07 WHIP and .275 OBA. Note that he hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs since June 8th, which was his second start back to the rotation. Since shaking the rust off, Carrasco has been spectacular. He, Corey Kluber, and Danny Salazar have been an integral trio for the Indians.
All the credit in the world to those three guys, who have been the catalysts for this improbable Indians charge. Ian Kennedy has been pitching pretty well on the Royals’ side, but his efforts have sort of gone to the wayside due to the Royals’ struggles as a team. He’s been pitching well lately too, posting no more than 3 runs allowed in his last five starts. He enters with an ERA of 3.31 in his last starts, and a 2.11 ERA pitching at home in Kansas City. This pitching matchup has the makings of a 4-3 final score. 8.5 looks way too high for me. Therefore, I see some good value on the UNDER 8.5 this afternoon.
PICK: UNDER 8.5 RUNS (-120)