Cleveland Indians (12-9) at Los Angeles Dodgers (12-9)
March 19th, 2019 10:05 PM ET (Ballpark at Camelback Ranch)
Spread: LA Dodgers -130
MLB Picks Los Angeles Dodgers vs Cleveland Indians
We’re only nine days out from Opening Day and soon we’ll be putting Spring Training in the rearview. March is an all-time great month for sports fans. There’s March Madness, NFL Combine, NFL Free Agency, the last stretch of the NBA season, MLB Spring Training and of course Opening Day. Hell, there’s even big-time NASCAR races for all the adrenaline junkies out there. Needless to say, there is A LOT going on, which is exactly what sports nuts like myself, look forward to every year. That’s the great thing about a new year, there’s moves to be made, new players to watch, new coaches on staff, star players changing teams and my personal favorite, a whole lot of new bets to be made.
The Indians are a force to reckoned with in the American League this year. Of course, they do play in a weak division in the AL Central, which is all the more reason to like this club going into 2019. The best-case scenario for this team is to make it back to the World Series and not fail to win it like they did in 2016 against the Chicago Cubs. For that to happen, they need their young star Jose Ramirez to continue to excel, Lindor to stay healthy and continue to be a franchise cornerstone, and for their starting rotation to continue to be one of the league’s best.
Edwin Encarnacion was traded this offseason for former Indian, Carlos Santana. On paper, the move might look bad, but so far this spring, Santana has been swinging a hot bat. He’s slashing .375/.432/.650 in 40 at-bats, to go along with a team-leading three homers and nine RBI’s. Another guy who is playing well and battling for a position in the outfield, is Greg Allen. Allen has collected 13 hits in 31 at-bats and is sporting an impressive line of .419/.471/.677. A pleasant surprise on the mound has been second year pitcher Shane Bieber (no relation to Justin Bieber), who’s tossed 14 innings of one run ball. Bieber is holding opponents to a miniscule .067 average and he’s just baffling hitters at the plate. He’s starting today’s matchup, so look for him to continue his early success.
Well, not much has changed since I covered this team last weekend against the Brewers. I’m a man of integrity and I have to admit I let you guys down picking them to best my beloved Brewers on Sunday. The game was indeed very close, ending with a final score of 9-8. The Dodgers slipped from being tied for second in the Cactus league, to now being tied for fourth with none other than the Indians. However, they’re still crushing it in the run differential department, sitting at +26.
Good news for LA, infielder Max Muncy (forearm) returned to the lineup yesterday against the Rangers. The injury didn’t look to be too serious and he should be good to go for Opening Day. He hasn’t seen the ball well this spring, only tallying 5 hits in 32 at-bats. Look for him to get a lot of opportunities in the final week to find his groove. The man taking the mound for the start today against the Indians, is Walker Buehler. Manager Dave Roberts has said that Buehler will not start for the Dodgers on Opening Day, after just coming out and saying that he is still in the mix. The Dodgers have yet to commit to who will be taking the mound in place of Kershaw (shoulder), but the young stud right-hander seems like a smart option here. Buehler is set to make his spring debut today, so this will be a good test to see if Roberts is making a rash decision.
The Indians are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games
The Dodgers are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games
Free MLB Pick Los Angeles Dodgers vs Cleveland Indians
Buehler? Buehler? Buehler? Anyone…anyone…Buehler? Hopefully you appreciate the Ben Stein piece there, but in all seriousness, I’m excited to see Walker (not Ferris), take the mound for the first time this spring. He has an electric arm with a nasty pitch repertoire. He has a 4-seam fastball that tops out at about 97 mph, his sinker, which also tops out at 97 mph is borderline unfair and generates a lot of swings and misses, and his curve has exceptional bite. He also mixes in an impressive slider, cutter and an occasional disgusting changeup. There’s no doubt about it, this dude has the stuff to be one of the league’s best. Although I’ve been a big proponent of the Dodgers this spring, I’m going to throw my own curve here and pick the Indians to win this late-night matchup. I’m really impressed by Shane Bieber this spring and I think the Indians will take this one in a low scoring affair.
PICK: Cleveland Indians (+105)