The Kansas City Royals make their first visit of the season to AL Central Division rival Cleveland on Friday night to open a three-game series. K.C. won’t go back to northeast Ohio until after the All-Star Break. The Indians aren’t doing so well right now in their current 4 game series against the Cincinnati Reds, which ends tonight. They’re losing that series at 1-2. For the Royals, they also end a 4 game series today against the New York Yankees, which they’re currently losing at 1-2. The Tribe will be MLB betting favorite for the series opener.
Kansas City at Cleveland MLB Betting Preview & Game Info
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) May 25, 2017
When: Friday, May 26, 7:10 PM ET
Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland
Probable pitchers (away/home): Ian Kennedy/Danny Salazar
TV: MLB Network
Radio: Kansas City / Cleveland
Opening MLB Lines: Indians favored by TBA
Why Bet On Kansas City?
The Royals have placed RHP Nate Karns on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to May 21, with a right elbow injury. Karns experienced a buildup of fluid around his right elbow during his last start Friday against the Twins. He’s eligible to return next Wednesday and it’s possible that he will only miss one turn in the Royals’ rotation. Outfielder Alex Gordon will be back for this series as he has been activated off the paternity list. He’s hitting below the Mendoza Line, however.
All-Star catcher Salvador Perez is off to a powerful start at the plate. Perez is no stranger to having a hot start. Again, he’s not seeing many strikes, and he’s not seeing many fastballs. Accordingly, he hasn’t drawn walks, because he’s still chasing as often as ever. Yet Perez is hitting for power, sitting on a 127 wRC+. Perez has never before pulled the ball this much. His career pull rate is 44%. Last year’s pull rate was 47%. This year’s pull rate is 62%. That’s the second-highest pull rate in baseball among qualified hitters. His power potential has been obvious for years, and now he’s showing what he can do to the left side of the field.
It’s Ian Kennedy (0-4, 4.06) on the mound here. He lasted just two innings last time out vs. the Twins after coming off the DL, allowing five runs and two homers with three walks in a loss. Robbie Grossman and Max Kepler each hit two-run home runs off of Kennedy in the first inning in the Twins’ 8-4 win over the Royals. It’s the first time Kennedy allowed multiple home runs in the first inning in the 244 starts he has made in his career.
“He was way out of whack,” manager Ned Yost said. “His leg was fine. He felt normal, felt good. Just timing was off, rhythm was off.”
Kennedy hasn’t faced the Indians this year.
Why Bet On Cleveland?
The Indians are expected to have outfielder Austin Jackson back for this game. Jackson will play in a minor league rehab game at Triple-A Columbus on Thursday. Jackson is expected to just need the one rehab game before he is activated from the disabled list. He has been sidelined for the past three weeks while rehabbing a hyperextended left big toe.
Monitor the status of fellow outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall. He was scratched before Wednesday’s game as Chisenhall mentioned a feeling of vertigo prior to the game. The outfielder believes he may have been injured awkwardly sliding home against the Houston Astros last weekend. The Indians are still not sure if Lonnie has a concussion or something less severe. Chisenhall might have to go on the seven-day disabled list.
The Indians’ rotation has gotten off to a slow start this season, with a collective ERA of 5.99 entering Tuesday night. That includes Corey Kluber, who posted a 5.06 ERA in six starts before landing on the disabled list with a sore back.
One of those guys struggling is Friday’s starter, Danny Salazar. He pitched 5.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits (two home runs) and three walks while striking out seven in Sunday’s win over Houston. Catcher Yan Gomes, who helped Salazar reach the sixth inning for the first time in four starts, said it was encouraging to see him get out of a fourth-inning jam. Salazar allowed three hits, including a two-run homer by Jose Altuve, and a walk in the inning. Despite picking up his first win since April 29, Tribe manager Terry Francona expects more from the right-hander.
“We set up a high bar for Danny because of his stuff,” Francona said. “I just know that there’s more in there and we want him to reach that level so bad. I’m thrilled we won. I just think he can set himself up, the way he’s pitched, to have more success.”
Salazar’s stat line is not pretty: 3-4, 5.55 ERA, 29 earned runs and 49 hits in 47 innings. He’s also allowed a team-high 11 homers. Salazar’s career-high 13.2 K/9 continues to lead MLB, but his 2.1 HR/9 is fourth-worst in the AL.
Kansas City at Cleveland MLB Betting Pick: Cleveland Indians
Salazar lost to KC earlier this year, but that was on the road and he has been better at home.