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AL Central Picks: August 14, 2013


Believe it or not, the Kansas City Royals are suddenly a very real factor in the American League playoff race and they even have an outside shot at catching the Detroit Tigers for the Central crown. However, with the reigning MVP and a slew of top-tier arms, the Tigers aren’t planning on giving up their perch atop the division anytime soon. Today, we’ll see if the Royals, or the second-place Cleveland Indians can gain any ground as all five teams battle in three Central games, which we also happen to have picks for. Check ’em out below!

Cleveland Indians -1.5 at Minnesota Twins +1.5

As losers of seven of their last 10 games, it’s safe to say The Tribe is in the midst of a mini-slump, but they should have some confidence and a little momentum after picking up a 5-2 win against the Minnesota Twins in game two of their current three-game set at Target Field yesterday.

For today’s rubber match, the Indians will send Carlos Carrasco (0-4, 7.75 ERA) back to the mound for just his second start in the past six weeks. When looking at his numbers, it’s easy to see Carrasco has struggled most of the season, but he is coming off perhaps his best outing of the year, as he held the Angels to just one hit through five innings on August 9.

Opposing Carrasco on the hill will be Kyle Gibson (2-3, 6.43 ERA), who has also endured a rough 2013. With the pitching match-up being fairly even, this one should be close, but I’d side with the slightly hotter team, who also happens to be the home team today. Take the Twins to cover +1.5 here.

Detroit Tigers -1.5 at Chicago White Sox +1.5

With a six game lead, the Tigers are still in control of the Central, but after losing their last three games, their advantage isn’t as cushy as they would prefer. Fortunately, they’ll have a good chance to create a little more separation today against the last-place Chicago White Sox.

However, it’s Chicago that is going for the sweep today at home with John Danks (2-9, 4.52 ERA) on the mound against Detroit’s Rick Porcello (8-6, 4,32 ERA). Both hurlers have similar numbers, but Porcello’s benefited from plenty of run support this season. This game should also be fairly close, but the Tigers’ offense is simply too powerful to stay dormant for long. Take the Tigers to cover -1.5 today.

Miami Marlins +1.5 at Kansas City Royals -1.5

The Royals may have been blanked by the National League’s worst team, Miami, last night, but as winners of seven of their last 10, they seem far from cooling off.

Today, KC sends one of its most reliable starters to the hill in Ervin Santana (8-6, 3.25 ERA), but Santana is coming off one of his rougher outings, one that saw him allow six earned runs against Boston in just three and a third innings.

Still, Santana and the Royals should have the edge against Miami’s anemic offense and its starter Jacob Turner (3-4, 2.95 ERA), who is winless in his last five starts. Stick with the better team at home and take the Royals to cover -1.5 in this one.

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