In a battle of Wild Card contenders, the Cleveland Indians will capture a key home win Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals.
Indians pitcher Scott Kazmir has been inconsistent this year, but there’s reason to believe he’ll bring his best to this match-up. The left-hander has pitched against the Royals three times this season and thrown reasonably well in all the contests (His ERA in those games: 3.86). He’s also a winner in home games (6-1 at Progressive Field compared with 2-6 elsewhere).
Plus, it’s worth mentioning Kazmir is coming off of his best start of the year in which he shut out the New York Mets over six innings, conceding just four hits and no walks, while striking out twelve batters.
The Royals’ James Shields has been wobbly as of late. He has an 8.44 ERA over his past two starts. And while he’s generally pitched well on the road this year, Shields has struggled against the Indians. In three appearances he owns a 4.96 ERA. Overall, the Indians are the far better offensive team. They rank fourth in the American League in runs scored per game. In contrast, the Royals are well below average coming in at eleventh. Take the Indians at 1.95.
Former Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay will prove he’s got a little left in the tank when he leads his Philadelphia Phillies to victory over the San Diego Padres.
Halladay, who missed most of the season on the disabled list, is not the same pitcher he once was. But he looked reasonably good against the Washington Nationals in his last outing (six innings pitched; one run allowed) and the Nats are a better hitting team than the Padres.
The bigger issue here is the pitching choice for the Padres. Eric Stults has two problems in this contest. The first is that he is currently in a funk. In his past four appearances, Stults has gone 0-3 with a 6.65 ERA. The second is he is terrible on the road. In 15 starts, he’s 3-9 with a 5.04 ERA (versus 5-4 with a 3.17 ERA at home). Opt for the Phillies, who can be had at 1.58.
Back the Indians to beat the Royals at 1.95.
Back the Phillies to beat the Padres at 1.58.