It went a few days longer than I anticipated, but the first major trade deadline domino has fallen, and the Royals took a MAJOR step towards being the clear favorite in the American League. The Royals had the best record in the league despite not having a really strong starting pitching staff, let alone an ace. That shouldn’t be a problem any longer. The acquisition of Cueto gives them a Game One starter that can match favorably with anyone they might see in the postseason, particularly if it is Los Angeles, New York or Minnesota. Only Houston with Kuechel would have a slight edge, but the Royals lineup and postseason experience more than makes up for the slight, slight edge.
The Royals look like the clear cut favorite to me at this point. Not that it means a TON in MLB Playoffs where wildcard teams and teams with barely 90 wins (or less) win the World Series more often than the heavy faves. But for now, the Royals are the team to beat. We took a loss yesterday as Dallas Kuechel got shelled by the aforementioned Royals, but let’s see if we can start this week off on a better note.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Kansas City Royals -101 at Cleveland Indians -107 (Total: 7.5)
Edinson Volquez (9-5, 3.15 ERA) vs. Cody Anderson (2-1, 1.94 ERA)
Johnny Cueto will get to Kansas City just in time to watch fellow former-Red Edinson Volquez take the mound. It’s been a nice bounce back season for Volquez who enters with an ERA near three and a solid 9-5 record. He has gone 1-1 with a nice 1.94 ERA in his last three outings and has been a near All-Star for a team that desperately needed a bump in its starting pitching.
Opposing him will be youngster Cody Anderson. Anderson started off his big league career 2-1 with a 0.89 ERA in his first four starts. The league caught up to him a bit in start five, allowing ten hits and four runs in just 2 2/3 innings. Tonight will be his first appearance against the Royals.
Don’t let Volquez career 11.48 ERA against Cleveland scare you off. He has only faced them once since 2011, so those stats feel more coincidental than causal. I think Volquez will be fine tonight. Cleveland has been held to a single run or less four times in their last six games and is just 1-5 over that stretch. The Royals enter winners of six of nine and have scored over 4 runs a game in those post-All-Star contests.
It’s not every day you can get the best team in the league with a high quality starter on the mound and get them at even money. I’m taking advantage tonight.