Friday night will feature an AL Central matchup when the Cleveland Indians (8-4) travel to Kauffman Stadium to take on the Kansas City Royals (2-10). Both teams played on Thursday, with the Indians beating the Detroit Tigers 4-0 and the Royals losing to the Mariners 7-6 in extra innings. In the matchup, Cleveland will be sending righty Carlos Carrasco (1-1, 7.72 ERA) to the mound to square off against the Royals’ Brad Keller (1-1, 2.84 ERA). First pitch for this one is scheduled for 8:15 pm ET.
The moneyline for Friday’s game is set at the Cleveland Indians -144 and the Kansas City Royals +134. The over/under for runs scored is set at 7.5.
Indians Hoping To Get Carrasco On Track
With Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer leading the way, the Cleveland Indians’ pitching staff has the ability to be dominant. If they can get Carlos Carrasco going, it could truly be a special rotation. Thus far, Carrasco is 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA and 1.93 WHIP. In 9.1 innings, he has given up a whopping 16 hits, 8 earned runs and 2 home runs in 2 starts. On the plus side, he does have 16 strikeouts versus just 2 walks. After a brutal first game, Carrasco was much better in his last start in a 7-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. In that game, he went 5 innings, allowing 6 hits and 2 earned runs, but also struck out 12 batters while walking just one. If he can pitch along those lines, he could be in for a great game against a weak Kansas City team.
Despite being 8-4, the Indians team has struggled to this point. In fact, the whole lineup only has two players hitting higher than .237. Carlos Santana has actually had a nice start, hitting .425/.521/.575 with a 1.096 OPS. He has 1 home run, 3 doubles, 10 runs batted in, 7 runs and only 3 strikeouts versus 8 walks. The other batter is Tyler Naquin, who is hitting .300/.323/.400. Aside from Francisco Lindor still being injured, the biggest issue is that the Indians need Jose Ramirez to get going. 44 at-bats into the season, he is hitting just .136/.170/.182 with no home runs and only 2 runs batted in.
Royals Looking For W’s
At 2-10, it has been a pretty rough start for the Kansas City Royals this season…well, that is unless your name is Whit Merrifield. Sadly, on Thursday, Merrifield’s 31 game hitting streak (extending back to last season) came to a close as he went 0 for 6 with 2 strikeouts. Still, on the season, Merrifield is hitting .302/.339/.472 with 2 doubles, 2 triples, a home run, 5 runs batted in, 11 runs scored and 4 stolen bases. Also hitting well for the Royals are outfielder Alex Gordon (.333/.458/.583 with 2 home runs, 10 runs batted in and 11 runs) and Aldaberto Mondesi (.306/.340/.633 with 3 triples, 2 home runs, 9 runs batted in).
On the pitching side, it has been a little more hit or miss. Brad Keller has been the one bright spot in the rotation, though as he is only one of two starters with an ERA under 4 and the only one with an ERA under 3. In 3 starts, he is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. In 19 innings, he has allowed just 12 hits, 6 earned runs, no home runs and has struck out 13 versus 8 walks. In his last outing, he took the loss against the Detroit Tigers despite having a quality start of 6 innings, allowing 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts.
Hard Not To Bet The Indians
The headline says hard not to bet the Indians, but not impossible. While I think Carlos Carrasco will pitch more like he did in his last outing, as opposed to when he gave up 6 earned runs in 4.1 innings in his first start, the Indians’ offense has been dreadful this season. I do expect it to be a low scoring game, but I think that the Royals are capable of manufacturing a couple of runs while I think Keller might be able to keep a rough Indians’ offense in check. While it is hard to bet on a team that has only won 2 games to date, I like the Royals at +134 in this one.