Home field advantage will serve the Cleveland Indians very well on Wednesday when they host the Kansas City Royals.
Indians starter Justin Masterson is a pitcher of extremes when it comes to his home/road splits. At Progressive Field, he’s an impressive 5-1 with a 2.22 ERA. He’s also struck out more than a batter per inning (61 strikeouts in 56 2/3 innings pitched).
In away games, it’s not as pretty. He’s 3-4 with a 5.12 ERA and a much lower strike out rate. As a result, I’d discount an early season hammering from the Royals (6 1/3 innings; seven runs allowed) because it was in Kansas City.
As a whole the Indians have played really well at home (20-13 coming into this series) versus the road (14-21). Royals’ pitcher Luis Mendoza has thrown well as of late – he has a 2.25 ERA during the past month – but he’s facing an above-average offensive team.
In comparison, Masterson is looking at a below average Royals’ lineup (ranked eleventh out of fifteen American League teams in runs scored per game). Take the Indians to win at 1.61.
Lots of runs are in order in a clash between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Both these clubs have been offensive juggernauts in 2013.
Boston is the AL’s top run-producing team and Tampa Bay is not far behind in third place. Not surprisingly (considering the Red Sox’s output), Fenway Park has been a great place for run scoring. It ranks first in AL (and fourth overall) as the best offensive park, according to ESPN’s MLB Park Factors.
Neither club is throwing a top pitcher in this one, which also supports the expectation for high scoring. The Rays’ Jeremy Hellickson has a 5.67 ERA and has been particularly scuffling as of late. In the past two weeks he’s posted a 6.17 ERA. Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster owns a more respectable – although not impressive – 4.21 ERA, but even if he steps up with a good performance, Hellickson’s difficulties should be enough to push the scoring total high.
Best bet: Over 9.5 runs at 2.05