Corey Kluber (0-2, 3.90 ERA) and Jason Vargas (1-1, 6.75 ERA) are on the hill in the first of a three-game series between the Cleveland Indians (6-11) and the Kansas City Royals (12-6) at Progressive Field. Action begins at 6:10 p.m. ET on Monday, Apr. 27 and can be seen on FSN-KC and STO.
Kluber is 4-1 with a 2.83 ERA in his appearances against the Royals, but goes up against a good Kansas City offense which is batting .295 this season. Carlos Santana (.250, 11 Rs, 3 HRs, 11 RBIs, 2 SBs) continued his strong play yesterday, going 2 for 3 with two runs and one RBI. Vargas is 3-3 with a 5.19 ERA when pitching against the Indians. He takes on a below-average Cleveland offense which is hitting just .237 this season. Lorenzo Cain (.375, 13 Rs, 2 HRs, 12 RBIs, 5 SBs) went 1 for 4 yesterday.
Cleveland is a -152 favorite against Kansas City and the Over/Under (O/U) for this game is sitting at seven runs. The Indians have recorded an overall money line of -674 and have shown a weak performance as a favorite this season with a record of 3-6. Cleveland has had a discouraging season against division opponents, earning records of 2-6 and 4-10 as the favorite and SU respectively. Cleveland's batters do not strike out very often, with only 7.1 per game. Cleveland's pitchers fall apart when division rivals are on the field. Its average runs allowed per game rises to 4.9 against fellow AL Central members, compared to its 4.2 season average.
In the other locker room, Kansas City is coming in with an overall money line of +685 and an impressive record of 6-1 as the dog. They played solid baseball as the underdog over their last 10 games with a 3-1 record, and a 5-5 record SU. Offensively, they average five runs per game on the road, which is the best in the AL. The Royals are tough outs for opponents, leading the AL with 10.6 hits per game. The Royals are an excellent base stealing team with 15 stolen bases, ranking fifth in the MLB. Kansas City's pitching staff is one of the top in the AL, with a 3.08 ERA. When it comes to preventing batters from getting on base, the Royals are the best in the league with a WHIP of 1.08 for the season. The Royals have established a reputation of overwhelming hitters with an AL-best 7.3 strikeouts per road game, making them one of the top five teams in the league.
The Indians have a 1-6 record against left-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Vargas takes the mound. Kluber (RHP) will be on the hill against the Royals, who have a 5-3 record against right-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - KC, O/U - Over
The Indians are struggling at 4-10 in their division, while the Royals are 7-5.
Cleveland has won 43% (3-4) of its games when leading after 7 innings. However, Kansas City has won 83% (5-1) of its games when taking a late lead.
The Cleveland batters brought in a solid 10 hits last game. Kansas City has a record of 2-2 when their opponents get that many hits or more.
When they are outhit, the Royals are 0-3. The Indians have a 1-8 record when opponents outhit them.
Cleveland and Kansas City both rank in the bottom half of the league in home runs. Cleveland sits at 18th with 15 home runs this season and Kansas City ranks 20th with 14.
Kansas City tops the league in hits with 10.56 per game this season. Cleveland ranks in the top 10 at 10th with 7.88.
Ranking 21st, Cleveland is near the bottom of the league for its on-base plus slugging percentage (.662). Kansas City ranks in the top five at third with an OPS of .793.
When the Royals allow at least one home run, they are 7-3. When the Indians allow one or more homers, they have a 4-8 record.