Matchup: Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians

Date/Time: September 24, 7:05 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook

Probable Starters: KC: Jason Vargas (11-10, 3.59) v. CLE: Trevor Bauer (5-8, 4.06)

Moneyline: Cleveland -114

Total: 7.5

The playoff hopes of the Cleveland Indians were dealt a death blow on Tuesday night with their lifeless 7-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals. After limping through most of the season with inconsistent offense and historically bad defense, the Indians appear to be ready for the season to end. The Royals, meanwhile, have plenty to play for and that could be very evident on Wednesday night.

Jason Vargas will take the ball for the Royals and he throws left-handed, which means that the Indians will have major problems against him. Vargas is 11-10 with a 3.59 ERA and he has a 4.19 ERA since returning from the DL on August 2. He has allowed 14 runs on 19 hits over his last three starts. Vargas was 8-4 with a 3.31 ERA when he hit the DL and pitched fairly well in August but September has not been kind to the southpaw.

Trevor Bauer has done a lot of good things to give the Indians hope for next season, but the right-hander has been very inconsistent. He tends to have one bad inning early in the game and then settle down and battle through the rest of his start. Bauer has a 4.26 ERA since the All-Star Break in 13 starts. Bauer does have 71 strikeouts in 76 innings over that span.

Vargas is 3-3 with a 4.88 ERA in eight career starts against the Indians. This season, Vargas is 1-1 with a 4.12 ERA this season in three starts covering 19.2 innings of work. The Royals are 14-15 for a loss of 4.28 units in Vargas’s 29 starts.

Bauer is 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts against the Royals this season. He has allowed 17 baserunners in 11 innings. The Indians are 12-13 for a loss of 0.93 units in Bauer’s 25 starts this season.

Free MLB Pick: Kansas City Royals

The Indians haven’t been able to hit for a month and it’s very unlikely that they will suddenly start with the season on its last legs. The playoffs are the longest of long shots for the Indians and Jason Vargas is a lefty, which means the Indians will have major problems scoring runs. The Royals have had success against Bauer that hasn’t translated into runs, but that could be the case on Wednesday.

Matchup: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers

Date/Time: September 23, 10:05 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook

Probable Starters: SF: Tim Hudson (9-12, 3.52) v. LAD: Clayton Kershaw (20-3, 1.80)

Moneyline: Los Angeles -245

Total: 6

The San Francisco Giants are virtually assured a spot in the postseason, but they are having trouble keeping pace with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the race for home-field advantage in the wild card game. The Los Angeles Dodgers are in control of the NL West and they’ll have their ace on the mound on Wednesday night.

Tim Hudson is having a great year in his age-38 season, but the Giants haven’t given him a lot of run support. Hudson is 9-12 with a 3.52 ERA and he has allowed just 33 walks in 184 innings of work this season. Hudson entered September with a 2.90 ERA but a terrible month of September has really hurt his season numbers. In four starts this month, Hudson is 0-3 with a 9.92 ERA. He has allowed 20 runs on 30 hits in those four starts and the Giants have lost all four games.

Clayton Kershaw has been special once again this season. The game’s best pitcher is the only 20-game winner in baseball and a win would push his win percentage into a tie for the 12th-best season in MLB history. Kershaw leads the league in ERA, complete games with six, and has 228 strikeouts in just 190.1 innings of work. Only Pedro Martinez, Dwight Gooden, and Sandy Koufax have a better FIP in the live ball era than Kershaw’s 1.87. It’s a season for the record books.

Hudson is 6-5 with a 3.98 ERA in 16 career starts against the Dodgers. This season, Hudson is 0-1 with a 10.29 ERA in two starts. He has allowed eight runs on 16 hits in seven innings. The Giants are 17-13 in Hudson’s 30 starts for a profit of 3.24 units.

Kershaw is 13-5 with a 1.44 ERA in 25 starts and one relief appearance against the Giants in his career. This season, Kershaw is 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in three starts. The Dodgers are 22-4 in Kershaw’s 26 starts for a profit of 14.22 units. That’s the second-best mark in the league and a rather incredible stat since the Dodgers are always a big favorite with Kershaw on the mound.

Free MLB Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers

Come on. It’s Clayton Kershaw. Lay whatever price is required.