Friday MLB Odds Preview: Tribe Host Royals

The Kansas City Royals head to Cleveland this weekend as they try to make up ground on the Indians in the American League Central standings.

In the series opener Friday night the Royals appear to have the advantage in the pitching matchup with Jason Vargas (14-7, 3.59 ERA) on tap. Cleveland is forced to turn to Ryan Merritt (0-0, 3.12 ERA) as a replacement for the injured Danny Salazar.

Vargas faced Cleveland in his last start as a +130 underdog at the Bovada Sportsbook and took the loss after allowing four runs on six hits in 4 2-3 innings. In four starts against Cleveland this season he is 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA and in 17 career starts he is 8-4 with a 4.03 ERA. Also worth noting, the Royals are 6-1 in Vargas’ last seven road starts.

Merritt will be making only his third start of the season. He faced Minnesota last time out and picked up a no-decision after giving up two runs in 3 2-3 innings. In his only career start against the Royals he posted a win after allowing one run in five innings.

The Indians and Royals have met up 12 times this season with each side winning six games. Cleveland took two of three in Kansas City last week and at home they’re a solid 9-2 in their last 11 against the Royals.

In the AL West the Los Angeles Angels need a miracle to catch the Houston Astros in the standings, but they still have the AL Wild Card to play for when they host Houston on Friday night.

The Angels turn to the hot hand of Parker Bridwell (7-1, 2.92), while the Astros will counter with Collin McHugh (1-2, 4.01).

The Angels are undefeated in Bridwell’s last eight starts and six of them came as the underdog. He did take a no-decision last time out against the Baltimore Orioles after allowing four runs (two earned) in five innings.

McHugh tossed six shutout innings in his last start against the Oakland Athletics. He has spent much of the season on the DL and hasn’t faced the Angels this season, but in 11 career starts against them he is 6-2 with a 2.55 ERA.

Houston leads the season series with the Angels with six wins in 10 games. The Astros are also 5-3 in their last eight games in Los Angeles.