For those betting baseball, this was anticipated series with two division leaders in an early season showdown to estimate who is playing better in the initial stages of the year to date.
Kansas City took the opener 4-2 and in last night’s contest Baltimore evened the series up with a 8-3 triumph. This sets up matinee and according to the MLB odds at Intertops, the Royals are a good-sized favorites.
Besides just the odds, let’s breakdown each club and the pitching matchup.
Without a big time reputation, Mike Wright (1-1, 5.73 ERA, 1.36 WHIP) burst on to the scene for Baltimore last year, spinning consecutive seven inning shutouts, leaving open the possibility the Birds might have more than anticipated. But reality paid a visit and over his next four starts, Wright was tagged for 17 runs in 15 innings. The fact is Wright’s stuff is not all that impressive and when he misses on location, even the outs tend to loud and hit well into the outfield.
Yordano Ventura (1-0, 2.81, 1.50) was thrust into the ace role last season and at 23 years old, was not ready to wear the crown. Having been through two World Series and becoming a champion, he appears more ready to be the masthead of the staff on an exceptional club. Ventura has fastball he easily throws in the 94-98 range despite 6’0, 180-pound frame. In his mix of pitches are a two-seamer with excellent tailing action and a curveball in the mid-80’s with very tight rotation, that falls off the table with overhand release. Still has command issues (12 walks in 16 innings) and when too fired up, hurries delivery.
After a great start offensively, the Orioles had cooled off before last evening, averaging 3.2 runs per game in their last five outings. The blame did not fall to Manny Machedo and has been tearing up opposing pitchers with nearly .400 batting average (.446 OBP) Mark Trumbo has been his running mate with crazy .371 average and he’s gone yard five times. Adam Jones and Chris Davis gave yet to find a groove at the plate, though Davis did have four hits last night.
The Kansas City offense has not been all they great yet, coming in at under four runs a game. Nonetheless, it rather early to be concerned with the Royals, with so many players right in the prime of their careers. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas as close to .300 and have on-base percentages approaching .350. Salvador Perez leads the team in runs batted in and Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain have not even gotten started yet and will be stroking the horsehide before long.
Betting Odds and History
Kansas City was sent out by sportsbooks as a -160 favorite with a total of 9. The Royals have held a decisive 8-4 edge and the game outcomes have leaned towards the UNDER side at 7-4-1. Baltimore has only scored 40 runs at Kauffman Stadium in this period (3.3 RPG).
Kansas City will lose plenty of games as the season rolls along, yet I have doubts it will be this one. Ventura and the Royals are 10-1 against power teams averaging 1.25 or more home runs a game since last season and he and his teammates are 7-0 versus the AL East.
Wright is just the type of hurler K.C. batters are very comfortable facing, one that lacks overwhelming stuff and is around the strike zone.
For MLB picks, Kansas City is 50-22 as a home favorite of -110 or higher the last two seasons and takes the rubber game of the series.
Free MLB Play – Kansas City wins