July 28 MLB Preview — Cleveland Indians (61-42) at Kansas City Royals (39-66)

(Trevor Bauer photo courtesy Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports)

This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.

Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.

When and Where: Sunday, July 28, Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo., 2:15 p.m. EDT.

Trevor Bauer looks to make it three wins over the Kansas City Royals in as many starts this year when he leads the Cleveland Indians into their series finale versus the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

Bauer’s name still popping up in trade rumors

Given Cleveland’s charge into contention for both the AL Central and wild-card spots, it would seem unlikely this would be Bauer’s last start for the Indians. But with Wednesday’s deadline looming, the right-hander is still considered an option for higher-spending teams and enters this contest 5-1 with a 2.82 ERA in his last nine starts.

Bauer (9-7, 3.49 ERA) turned in one of his best starts in that stretch Tuesday but had nothing to show for limiting Toronto to three hits and three walks while striking out nine in 7 2-3 shutout innings. Cleveland’s bullpen squandered a 1-0 lead in the ninth and lost 2-1 in 10 innings.

“Trevor pitched terrific. He battled his rear end off,” Indians manager Terry Francona told the team’s official website. “Especially on the heels of not feeling really good this morning, I thought he was terrific. He gave everything he had. He always does.”

The righty has had two varying starts versus the Royals with the same outcome — a win. He allowed five runs over six-plus innings pitching with a big lead in an 11-5 road victory in the most recent matchup July 2 and struck out 12 over 6 2-3 innings while conceding one run in a 5-3 triumph June 26.

Bauer is 3-0 with a save and a 2.59 ERA in his last four appearances against Kansas City and 5-4 with a 3.15 ERA in 16 overall games. He has won his last three starts at Kauffman Stadium and is 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA in eight starts lifetime there.

Whit Merrifield has given Bauer some issues, going 9 for 27 with a pair of doubles.

Duffy out to end run of misery versus Indians

Like Bauer, Danny Duffy (4-5, 4.32) did not have a win to show for one of his best starts of 2019 last time out. The left-hander fanned a season-high 11 in six innings while limiting Atlanta to one run and five hits Tuesday.

Also like Bauer, Duffy watched his bullpen squander a lead, but the Royals eventually won the game 5-4 and have won in each of his last three starts.

The Royals did make one move prior to Saturday’s game, sending left-handed reliever Jake Diekman to Oakland for a pair of minor leaguers.

Duffy has known little but misery against the Indians of late, losing eight consecutive starts over the past three seasons. The southpaw pitched well in a July 3 matchup, yielding two runs in 6 2-3 innings, but was outpitched by Mike Clevinger in a 4-0 setback.

Duffy has a 7.34 ERA with 21 walks in 38 innings during his lengthy losing streak to Cleveland, but Kansas City’s offense has done him few favors with only seven runs of support in those games.

Carlos Santana has enjoyed the upper hand in their matchups, going 15 for 33 (.455) with a pair of home runs, and Francisco Lindor is 6 for 20 while also taking him deep twice.

Notable Trends

The Royals are:

  • 1-9 in Duffy’s last 10 home starts vs. above-.500 teams.
  • 9-26 in their last 35 Sunday games.
  • 3-13 in Duffy’s last 16 starts vs. the Indians.

The Indians are:

  • 21-5 in their last 26 games vs. left-handed starters.
  • 7-0 in Bauer’s last seven road starts vs. the Royals.
  • 7-1 in Bauer’s last eight starts vs. sub-.500 teams.

*****5-Star Pick*****

Indians -1.5 runs (-115)

Though Duffy did have a good outing against the Indians earlier this month and a solid performance last time out, his track record against Cleveland cannot be ignored. Add in Bauer’s recent surge and history versus the Royals, and the run line for the Indians is a solid play.

Also, the expectation is Bauer will be slightly amped early following his Twitter tete-a-tete with New York radio personality Mike Francesca and help the Indians get going quickly.

****4-Star Pick****

Indians -0.5 runs first 5 innings (-131)

The Indians are 7-3-1 at the midway point in the last 11 games between the teams and also 4-1-1 in Bauer’s last six starts. Kansas City is also 2-4-1 in Duffy’s last seven home starts.

***3-Star Picks***

UNDER 9 runs (-110)

Though the over/under has split in Bauer’s two starts versus Kansas City this year, the under remains a strong trend in this head-to-head matchup. The under is 5-1-2 in his last eight starts in Kansas City and 7-2-2 in the last 11 overall.

The under is also 6-1-1 the last eight times Duffy has taken the ball in the finale of a four-game series and entered Saturday night’s contest 5-1 in Kansas City’s last six games and in its last six versus above-.500 teams.

Royals UNDER 3.5 runs (Even)

Kansas City has scored five or fewer runs in the last 10 games between the teams and four or less in the first three games of this contest. This is a confidence pick in Bauer’s form as well, as the Royals have held three of their last four opponents under four runs in his last four starts.

UNDER 5 runs first 5 innings (-121)

The under has trended in this matchup, going 8-3-1 in the last 12 games. It was also streaking with both teams before Saturday’s win by the Indians, hitting in Cleveland’s prior four games and Kansas City’s previous six.

The under is also 4-1-1 in Duffy’s last six starts, including his most recent outing versus the Indians.

Indians -0.5 runs first 3 innings (Even)

The Indians have jumped out to multi-run leads after three innings in the last two contests and in four of their six games on this road swing. Cleveland has also scored two or more runs in the first three frames in nine of its last 13 games, and with Bauer on form after his last outing, there is confidence in the Indians grabbing an early lead.



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