Free Picks: Kansas City Royals vs Cleveland Indians

Royals vs Indians Week 15
Kansas City Royals vs Cleveland Indians, MLB, Progressive Field

The Kansas City Royals (36-51) will face the Cleveland Indians (43-42) to continue a four-game series on Friday, and the time is now for Cleveland to kick things back into gear. The Indians had lost nine in a row, matching their longest losing skid since 2012, prior to a walk-off win on Thursday night in the series opener. The Royals have been the weaker team this season, and in this particular matchup — Cleveland has won six of seven — but at least Kansas City has won three of its past seven games.

Despite losing streak, Indians remain home favorites vs. Royals

Amid their season-worst losing streak, which extended into Thursday night’s action, Indians players and managers have said the types of things they’re supposed to say: that the current skid is not a time to feel sorry for themselves, and that they’ve emerge from it together. Those platitudes are nice and all, but they do little for prospective bettors, who want to know if Friday will be the day Cleveland can truly start to bounce back.

After Thursday’s win, Cleveland is in the favor of the oddsmakers again as -141 money line favorites (10Bet) among the day’s MLB picks. Kansas City, who’s now lost six in a row against the Indians, serve as +120 money line underdogs (10Bet)

The positive trend for Cleveland in this particular matchup is important, but there’s more to know under the surface. Most of these matchups have been tight, and five of the Indians’ six wins against the Royals were credited to a reliever. Cleveland’s lone starter win against Kansas City belongs to Triston McKenzie, who just so happens to be on the mound Friday night.

In some ways, McKenzie’s five innings of two-hit, shutout ball against the Royals back on May 6 might as well have happened a season ago. He has an 8.20 ERA in five starts since then, including a start on June 12 that lasted less than an inning and prompted a demotion to Triple-A. When he was sent down, McKenzie noted that he wasn’t used to pitching in front of so many people (over 20,000 were on hand). Perhaps that’s part of the reason he issues so many walks (39 in 42 1/3 innings).

His opponent, Brad Keller, isn’t entering Friday’s matchup with a stellar run of games lately, either. Keller has a 7.36 ERA in his past seven starts to go with a 1-5 record in that span. In his last start against Cleveland, which came in 2020, he allowed five runs in 6 2/3 innings in a losing effort.

All of this is to say that we aren’t very impressed by either starter, but at least McKenzie has some recent success against these Royals. And the Indians’ six-game win streak against the Royals is probably a good enough reason to roll with them, which is what we’ll do in this BetPicks prediction. The over on 9.5 runs (-115 at 10Bet) is also worth a look.

Stats

  • Kansas City is 6-4 on the money line in its past 10
  • The UNDER has cashed in four of the Royals past five games
  • Cleveland is 8-2 on the money line in its past 10
  • The OVER has cashed in five of the Indians past nine games

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Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University). You can follow Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHorrobin

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