AL Central Picks: June 26, 2013

Miguel_Cabrera

As the MLB season nears the All-Star break, action in the AL Central continues to heat up and with all five clubs on the field today, bettors and Central fans will have plenty of excitement to look forward to. Can the Indians, Royals, White Sox and Twins close the gap on the division-leading Tigers today? Here are our predictions and our runline picks for each of the five games in the Central:

Minnesota Twins -1.5 at Miami Marlins +1.5

The Minnesota Twins have swung the bats fairly well recently, but they haven’t seemed to gain any traction in the division. Luckily, they’ll have a good chance to get things going in the right direction today against the worst team in baseball.

Then again, the Marlins – who are 2-1 against Minnesota – picked up a win in the opening game of their current three-game set and with Tom Koehler – who shut down the defending champion Giants in his last outing – getting the ball, the Twins’ bats could go silent for a second straight game.

Though most will certainly lean towards the Twins here, I like the Marlins to cover +1.5 today.

Cleveland Indians +1.5 at Baltimore Orioles -1.5

The Orioles have easily become one of the more intimidating foes in the American League, but the Cleveland Indians are starting to make some noise as well, thanks to some clutch hitting and solid pitching.

Today, Scott Kazmir (4-4, 5.37 ERA) gets the ball for the Indians and although his numbers certainly aren’t stellar, he’s pitched much better lately, as he’s coming off a seven-inning, one-run outing against the Twins.

Meanwhile, Jason Hammel (7-5, 5.30 ERA) will get the start for Baltimore and though he’s benefited from strong run support all year, he might not get as much backup today as his guys face the hot Kazmir.

I like the Indians to cover +1.5 here and I wouldn’t be surprised if they pulled out the victory.

Los Angeles Angels +1.5 at Detroit Tigers -1.5

The Angels are hoping their 14-8 win against the Detroit Tigers last night was a slump-buster, but to prove they are on the right track, they’ll have to develop some consistency, which means a series win against Detroit.

Today’s game two will feature Detroit’s Jose Alvarez and L.A.’s Tommy Hanson. Hanson, who was a solid all year for the Braves last season, like many of the Angels’ new additions, has struggled to adapt to his new surroundings and his new squad. He’s 4-2 on the year, but has posted a 5.10 ERA, whereas his opponent for today, Alvarez, has wowed fans in his first two outings, going 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA.

Considering the Angels haven’t seen Alvarez and still haven’t proved they can string more than a couple of good games together, I would stick with the Tigers here at home. Take Detroit to cover -1.5.

New York Mets +1.5 at Chicago White Sox -1.5

There’s no question that the Chicago White Sox have been a disappointment in the Central this season, but fortunately they’ve got a great match-up today against the lowly Mets and starter Shaun Marcum, who is 0-9 this season with a 5.76 ERA.

Factoring in how much better the Sox are at home than away, I like Chicago to earn the win, covering -1.5 today.

Atlanta Braves -1.5 at Kansas City Royals +1.5 

While the Sox have an easy match-up, the Kansas City Royals have a tough one against NL East-leader, the Atlanta Braves. Of course, it won’t get any easier considering they are up against Braves starter Mike Minor, who is 8-3 on the year with an ERA of 2.89.

Sorry KC, but I gotta go with Atlanta in this one. Take the Braves to cover -1.5 on the road.

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