Kansas City Royals (64-63 SU, 62-65 RL, 59-62-6 O/U) vs. Cleveland Indians (71-56 SU, 57-70 RL, 47-70-10 O/U)
MLB: Sunday, August 27, 2017, Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio, 1:10 pm ET
Lines: Cleveland -160, Kansas City +150; Over/Under: 8.5
A series between a pair of AL Central rivals concludes from the shores of Lake Erie. The Kansas City Royals play the final game of a three game series against the division leading Cleveland Indians Sunday afternoon. Cleveland won the opening game of the series, 4-0, Friday night, to extend their lead in the AL Central. The pitching matchup for Saturday’s series opener saw Jason Hammel pitch for the Royals against Cleveland’s Mike Clevinger. First pitch in the game was set for 7:10 pm ET.
Kansas City Royals Fighting Injury Woes
Kansas City lost their second straight as they failed to generate any offense in the opener of this series. The Royals fell seven games behind the Indians in the AL Central entering Saturday and sit 1.5 games behind the Twins for the second wild card spot. Alex Gordon led Kansas City with three hits in the loss while Eric Hosmer added a pair. The Royals were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position in the contest and left eight men on base. Jason Vargas (14-8) took the loss for Kansas City as he gave up four runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts over five innings.
With Danny Duffy being placed on the disabled list with a left elbow impingement, the Royals are expected to send Eric Skoglund to the mound for his fourth career start in this contest. He is 1-1 with a 5.59 ERA, a 1.862 WHIP, five walks and eight strikeouts over 9.2 innings this season. Skoglund recorded a no-decision in his last start, which came June 9 on the road against the Padres. He threw 1.1 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with two walks and a strikeout in a game the Royals eventually lost 6-3. Skoglund took the loss in his lone career start against the Indians, which came at home on June 4. He allowed four runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in two innings as the Royals lost 8-0. This marks his first career start at Progressive Field in his career. Skoglund is 4-5 with a 4.11 ERA, a 1.381 WHIP, 29 walks and 102 strikeouts over 100.1 innings in 19 starts with Triple-A Omaha this season.
Cleveland Indians Look to Take Series
Cleveland rolled to the win in the opening game of this series. That allowed the Indians to maintain their 5.5 game lead on the Twins in the AL Central while closing to within three games of Boston for the second-best record in the American League. Francisco Lindor (run, two RBI), Yan Gomes (run) and Giovanny Urshela (two runs, RBI) each had a pair of hits in the win. Lindor hit his 23rd homer of the season in the win. Ryan Merritt (1-0) picked up the win as he threw 6.2 scoreless innings: he allowed seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
Carlos Carrasco takes the ball and makes his 26th start of the season in this contest for the Indians. He is 12-6 with a 3.95 ERA, a 1.137 WHIP, 40 walks and 167 strikeouts over 150.1 innings of work on the year. Carrasco took the loss in his last start, which came Tuesday at home against the Red Sox. He threw 6.2 frames, allowing six runs on eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts in a 9-1 Indians loss. Carrasco is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP, four walks and 25 strikeouts over 19.2 innings over his last three starts. He is 7-6 with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.216 WHIP over 97 innings in 20 appearances, 15 starts, against the Royals in his career. Carrasco is 21-30 with a 4.67 ERA and a 1.337 WHIP over 416.2 innings in 83 appearances, 67 starts, at Progressive Field in his career.
- Royals are 2-6 in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning record
- Royals are 2-6 in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- Indians are 9-2 in their last 11 vs. a team with a winning record
- Indians are 9-2 in their last 11 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
The Royals are struggling at this point and losing Duffy for the second time this season is going to take a toll on the rotation. Kansas City has been shuffling arms in the bullpen this year and having to do the same in the rotation is a daunting task. Carrasco struggled against Boston in his last outing but had won his two previous starts before that. Look for Cleveland to take advantage of Skoglund in this one to get the Indians the victory and take the series.
Pick: Cleveland Indians -160
The Royals will miss Duffy, especially if he misses any more time than the minimum, as they need him at the front of the rotation with Vargas. Kansas City doesn’t have the most prolific offense to carry mediocre pitching in games on a regular basis. Cleveland shut down Andrew Miller again as he’s having knee issues but with their rotation pitching well, they can overcome a short term loss of one of their ace relievers. The Indians still would like to get their lineup healthy as well in order to be ready for the postseason but they have four solid starting pitchers going at this point in time. You can’t underestimate that.
The over is 8-2-1 in the Royals’ last 11 games following a loss, 4-1 in their last five on the road against teams with a winning record at home, 8-3 in their last 11 against teams with a winning record and 12-5-1 in their last 18 games overall. Cleveland has seen the over go 3-1-1 in their last five on grass and 3-1-1 in their last five overall. With Skoglund showing struggles in his first start against the Indians this season, this one should push over the total here.