Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#909 Kansas City Royals vs.
#910 Cleveland Indians
Monday, September 20, 2021 at 4:10pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

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A pair of AL Central foes kick off an early-week series by playing an Ernie Banks special on the shores of Lake Erie. The Kansas City Royals are on the road as they open a four-game series with the Cleveland Indians with the first game of a doubleheader Monday afternoon. Kansas City played the rubber game of a three-game series with the Mariners at home Sunday afternoon. The Royals picked up an 8-1 victory in the middle game of the set Saturday night. Cleveland played the rubber game of their three-game series with the Yankees on the road Sunday afternoon. The Indians picked up an 11-3 victory on Saturday afternoon. This article was published prior to the conclusion of either team’s contests on Sunday.

Kansas City Royals Looking to Battle Through Injuries

Kansas City has dealt with a rash of injuries to their pitching staff of late with both Brady Singer and Mike Minor hitting the IL in the past week. In addition, they shut down Brad Keller for the rest of the season Saturday, taking another arm from their rotation. For the year, the Royals are fourth in the AL Central entering Sunday, 17 games behind the division-leading White Sox. They have been eliminated from playoff contention as they were 16 games behind the Blue Jays with 14 games to play. On Saturday, Whit Merrifield (two runs), Nicky Lopez (run, RBI), Andrew Benintendi (run, RBI), Adalberto Mondesi (run, RBI), Michael A. Taylor (run, two RBI) and Hunter Dozier (run) each had two hits in the win. Taylor hit his 12th homer of the season for Kansas City in the contest. Kris Bubic (5-6) earned the win as he threw 6.1 innings, allowing one run on two hits with four walks and two strikeouts before turning things over to the bullpen.

It’s unclear as to who the Royals may throw here on short notice but the current buzz is that Ronald Bolanos will take the ball for his fourth appearance and first start of the season here. He comes in with no record, a 1.42 ERA, a 0.947 WHIP, two walks and 10 strikeouts over 6.1 innings of work on the year. Bolanos didn’t factor in the decision in his last outing, which came in relief against the A’s on the road back on June 11. He threw 3.1 innings, allowing one run on two hits with two walks and four strikeouts in an 11-2 Royals loss. On the road this season, Bolanos has no record, a 1.69 ERA, a 0.75 WHIP, two walks and nine strikeouts over 5.1 innings in two appearances. Bolanos took the loss in his lone career start against the Indians, which came on the road on July 26, 2020. He threw two innings, allowing two runs (none earned) on three hits with one walk and one strikeout in a 9-3 Royals defeat. That gives Bolanos a 0-1 record, a 0.00 ERA, a 2.00 WHIP with one walk and one strikeout in two innings in his lone career start at Progressive Field. In 12 minor league starts this season, Bolanos is 0-4 with a 7.50 ERA, a 1.806 WHIP, 27 walks and 34 strikeouts over 36 innings split between the Royals Blue and Royals Gold of the Arizona Complex League, Northwest Arkansas of the Double-A Central League and Omaha of the Triple-A American Association East.

Cleveland Indians Hoping for Brighter Future

Cleveland won for just the fourth time in 12 games as they took down the Yankees with some timely hitting after a New York miscue Saturday night. The Indians entered Sunday second in the AL Central, 11 games behind the White Sox for the division lead. In the AL wild-card race, the team was 10 games behind the Blue Jays for the second wild-card spot with 16 games to play. On Saturday, Cleveland got three hits from Franmil Reyes (two runs, three RBI) while Yu Chang (two runs, three RBI), Owen Miller (run, RBI) and Andres Gimenez (run, three RBI) each added a pair. Jose Ramirez (his 34th), Reyes (his 30th), Chang (his eighth) and Gimenez (his third) all went deep in the contest. The offensive outburst was more than enough for Aaron Civale (11-4) on the mound as he threw six scoreless frames, allowing four hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

Triston McKenzie takes the ball for the Indians and makes his 23rd appearance and 22nd start of the season in this contest. He comes in 5-6 with a 4.28 ERA, a 1.061 WHIP, 50 walks and 127 strikeouts over 109.1 innings of work this season. McKenzie earned the win in his last start, which came Tuesday on the road in the first game of a doubleheader against the Twins. He threw six innings, allowing one run on three hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in a 3-1 Indians victory. Pitching at home this season, McKenzie is 1-2 with a 4.04 ERA, a 1.041 WHIP, 24 walks and 59 strikeouts over 49 innings in 10 appearances, nine starts. McKenzie makes his seventh career appearance, sixth start, against the Royals in this contest. He comes in 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA, a 0.735 WHIP, 11 walks and 38 strikeouts over 32.2 innings of work. This marks his 15th career appearance and 12th start at Progressive Field. McKenzie is 2-2 with a 3.66 ERA, a 0.922 WHIP, 26 walks and 82 strikeouts over 64 innings of work in those outings.

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Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:


The Royals have been up and down all season though the injury issues that have ravaged their rotation leaves them in an unsettled situation as the season reaches its final couple of weeks. Kansas City is missing three-fifths of their starting rotation and now has to rely on some young arms that are unproven at this stage of things. The Indians were minus Civale and Shane Bieber for long stretches this season, which is why they are on the outside looking in for the playoff picture. Cleveland is at home here and McKenzie has pitched extremely well over the last several weeks. With Kansas City having a question mark on the mound, you have to give the upper hand to the Indians in this contest.

Prediction: Cleveland Indians -153

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:


There’s not much to lean on with the Royals when it comes to pitching as we’re looking at basically a dart throw as to who takes the hill. Bolanos has sputtered all year and that’s going to be an issue here. Meanwhile, McKenzie has seen an average of eight runs per game in his last 10 starts. If you lop off the first three starts of that stretch and look at his numbers since August 1 on, that number drops to just 5.71 runs per game with the under hitting in six of his seven starts in that stretch. During that run, McKenzie is 4-2 with a 1.76 ERA, a 0.543 WHIP, five walks and 48 strikeouts over 46 innings. Opposing hitters have a putrid .128/.160/.224 slash line during that run with a .170 average on balls in play. The Royals are just 24th in runs per game on the road with an average of 3.86 per contest. McKenzie hasn’t given up more than three runs in any of his last seven starts. He keeps the Royals in check and holds this one under the number.

Prediction: Under

Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

Chris Kubala has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well. as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.

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