Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 7:00 AM
As the media in Cleveland (and nationally) has gone full throttle covering LeBron James and the Cavaliers in their quest for an NBA Championship, baseball’s Indians have quietly started putting together some very good results. The Tribe has won seven of its last 10 games entering a three-game series against division-leading Kansas City that begins Tuesday night.
*Cleveland is only SIX games behind Kansas City with 112 to play
*Cleveland has a run differential of +4, which is better than Detroit
*Corey Kluber is starting to look unhittable again!
Many pundits were picking Cleveland to win the AL Central this season. Las Vegas win expectations had the Indians tied with Detroit at the top of the group with 84.5 projected victories. It’s very easy to get hot in baseball right now. Just improve your play a little…and you pass a dozen teams!
Does Cleveland have what it takes to chase down the top of the division? This road test with the Royals will help answer that question. Let’s run the numbers…
Cleveland: 4.50 runs per game, .331 on-base, .405 slugging
Kansas City: 4.67 runs per game, .328 on-base, .419 slugging
The Royals have a slight edge that the moment. But, there’s no guarantee that’s going to continue. We could easily see the teams playing dead even moving forward. Close call in this category.
Carlos Carrasco: 4.24 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 10.4 K-Rate, 5.7 IP-per-Start
Jeremy Guthrie: 6.70 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 3.5 K-Rate, 5.4 IP-per-Start
Carrasco just had two very good starts…suggesting better things may be on the way after a shaky beginning to 2015. Guthrie was supposed to pitch at Wrigley Field this past weekend, but a rainout gave him extra preparation time since Monday was an off day for the Royals. Guthrie’s last outing was a true debacle against the New York Yankees. But, he hasn’t been right all season. Clear edge to Carrasco. And, if you only look at “recent form,” it’s an even bigger edge for the visiting starter.
Corey Kluber: 3.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 11.3 K-Rate, 7.0 IP-per-Start
Jason Vargas: 5.16 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 6.1 K-Rate, 4.9 IP-per-Start
Four straight quality starts for Kluber have helped knock about a run-and-a-half off his ERA. Vargas could only go four innings in New York against the Yankees after sitting on the shelf for three weeks. He’s been dealing with a flexor strain, and may not be back to his best form just yet. Wow…Cleveland is positioned to take the first two games of this series with surprising ease! If Kluber is back to Cy Young stuff, then this is a mismatch on the mound.
Trevor Bauer: 2.97 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 9.2 K-Rate, 6.3 IP-per-Start
Chris Young: 1.55 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 6.6 K-Rate 5.7 IP-per-Start
Four straight quality starts for Bauer. Young has only made five starts this season. Some strong innings in relief are causing his overall stats to overstate best expectations as a starter. Probably better if you use his career numbers rather than 2015 numbers when handicapping this one.
You can see in the pitching stats this series why Cleveland still has a great chance to matter in 2015…and why Kansas City isn’t a sure thing to maintain their early form. Yes, Kansas City has a fantastic bullpen. And, yes…the offense is better than statheads given them credit for. But, the starting rotation has some vulnerabilities that are likely to influence the standings at some point. If Kansas City struggles in this home series vs. a surging rival, then the AL Central race is going to get more interesting than it already is!
JIM HURLEY is likely to have at least one big release in this series. And, there are great possibilities all over the card as we continue to build bankroll for the coming NBA Finals that begin Thursday. You can purchase NETWORK’S daily BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Be sure you check on combination packages that include Cavs/Warriors and this Saturday’s BELMONT STAKES!
We’ll preview that Cleveland/Golden State championship showdown tomorrow. Here’s what’s coming up here in the NOTEBOOK…
Wednesday: NBA Championship Preview…Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors
Thursday: MLB Series Preview St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers
Friday: MLB Series Preview: Los Angeles Angels at New York Yankees
Saturday: NBA Early Look for Sunday’s Game Two of Cavaliers/Warriors
Monday: MLB Series Preview: Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins
Tuesday: NBA Game Three Championship Preview
What’s been happening lately with the Cleveland Indians is a great reminder that you can’t lock in your perceptions of Major League Baseball teams in the first six weeks. We could say the same thing about at least a half-dozen other teams right now. The market has been slow to notice…which means more BIG, JUICY WINNERS coming your way every day from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!
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