WRITE UP(S) 07/23/2017

Clients, lets get right to it on why the Cleveland Indians -1.5 (+105) is going to be our MASSIVE 20* MLB POD.

Quite Simple Breakdown Here:

Kluber is a very dominant strikeout pitcher who is still looking for his first win of July after receiving a loss to the Padres on July 4th and two no decisions against the Tigers and A’s in his following starts. So far this month, Kluber has a 2.22 ERA and has had a 2.86 ERA all season (good for 2nd in AL/ 5th in MLB). Kluber also seems to fair well during Home games (2.54 ERA) and Day Games (2.43 ERA). Kluber does very well of limiting the long ball as he is top 5 in the AL in Home runs per 9 innings (less than 1 per 9 innings). He is also 3rd in the AL in Ks per BOB at just over 5.5 punch outs per walk. As we dig deeper we find more impressive and compelling arguments for Kluber, such as the fact that he is second in the entire league in shutouts, only behind Ervin Santana who has one more than him (3). He only gives up about 6.5 hits per 9 (good for second in the AL), along with his impressive 12.07 strikeouts per 9 innings (good for third in all of baseball). Toronto also has the ability to hurt themselves as they have two guys  in the top 10 in ‘Double Plays Grounded Into’ including the league leading 17 from Kendrys Morales. One thing some may point out is the fact that Jose Bautista is second in base on balls, but I think that has more to do with being pitched around opposed to him earning those walks because he is also top 10 in strikeouts. Kluber will also have a good defense behind him as the Cleveland Indians are top 10 in team fielding statistics overall, and 4th in the American League. The Blue Jays as a team haven’t met Kluber yet, which is always an edge for the pitcher, so I expect everything to be working in our favor, as far as the pitching match up is concerned. 

Now as far as our hitting match-up is concerned, official lineups aren’t out yet as this is an early line we are jumping on. What we can look at, though, is team stats and the opposing pitcher: J.A. Happ. Happ has a 3.55 ERA this year, and a lifetime 3.96 ERA. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but certainly aren’t strong. They only get worse from here. Happ’s career numbers on the road aren’t impressive: 4.23 ERA/ .256 Batt Avg/ .321 OBP/ .422 SLG. These aren’t encouraging numbers for the lefty considering the Cleveland Indians are ranked second in baseball at hitting off of left handed pitchers. They are putting up impressive numbers against lefties such as their league leading .272 Average, and are top 5 in each of their following categories: OBP/OPS/HomeRun%/BaseOnBalls%/Strikeout%. The Indians have two top 10 guys in terms of Base On Balls (Ramirez and Encarnacion), Ramirez also has provided the Indians with a top bat in the AL as he has been top 5 in AVG/RBIs/SLG% halfway through the season. I think it is also worth noting that the Toronto Blue Jays have been mediocre at best in terms of defense, as they fall below the middle of the pack, ranked at the #21 spot in the league. I like this spot a lot for the Indians and think we are getting great value. Look for the Indians to build off of their 13-3 win that opened this series and the Lindor walk off homer that won the game for them last night. Cleveland will be looking to sweep with their Ace (a top 4 or 5 arm in all of baseball) and Toronto will be caught looking ahead as they just want to end this road trip and get home tomorrow night to face the A’s.

A few trends that are also working for us:

  • Toronto has only won 39% of games as a road underdog this season.
  • Since 2016 the Indians are in the Top 5 in winning % following a win.
  • In this series, the Indians have outscored the Blue Jays by an average of 5.5 Runs Per Game, and have out hit the Blue Jays by an average of 4.5 hits per game. 

Kluber (Listed) vs Happ (Listed) Cleveland Indians RL -1.5 (+105) 20*

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