Last night was a welcome relief for Kansas City, ending three-game losing streak. The Royals will attempt to even the series with New York, but will have to do so as underdogs for those betting baseball.
Even with last night’s 7-3 victory, Kansas City is only 2-4 on the road trip and has dropped 11 of 14 away from home thanks to an unhealthy combination of terrible hitting and worse starting pitching. However, at least they are not the Yankees who are 13-19 (-8.2 units) and are looking forward to the return of two elder statesmen coming off the DL in Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia, who are well past their prime.
Can Kansas City return to .500 for the season (16-17) and square the series for MLB picks?
It is easy to forget Ian Kennedy (4-2, 2.13 ERA) actually came to the major league’s through the Yankees organization, pitching in 13 games from 2007-09, before being traded to Arizona. Kennedy has been well-traveled in recent years and has never come close to matching his magical 2011 season in which he was 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA.
Frankly, he’s lucky to have landed on a team like Kansas City, who was willing to a flyer on him. Kennedy has never been a hard thrower and his success or failure is predicated on not just throwing strikes, but good strikes, the one that result in swings and misses, weak grounders or lazy fly balls, not rocket launchers off or over fences. To this point, the right-hander has hit his spots and kept the ball in play and has been manager Ned Yost’s best starting pitcher.
Nobody has ever questioned Nathan Eovaldi’s (2-2, 4.78) skill set. He has a mid to upper 90’s heater, a hard slider and mixes in a split fastball. Yet he’s never been a strikeout pitcher and always has high pitch counts, which leads to him averaging less the six innings a start of the 112 he’s made in his career. Still only 26, his fastball is too straight even for as hard as he throws and the slider sometimes does not break and ends being chased by outfields for doubles.
Having scored seven runs in consecutive games, the Royals hope the offense is ready to bust loose and resemble last year’s club which scored 4.6 runs per game, not the current 3.6. Eric Hosmer (.328 BA, .536 SP) has been a presence the entire season and Lorenzo Cain has raised his batting average 70 points to more respectable .274. Too many other players in the lineup are not doing the job like Salvador Perez (.234 BA), Alex Gordon (.229) and Kendrys Morales (.195).
Other than infielders Starlin Castro (.293 BA) and Didi Gregorius (.220), every other New York regular is well into their 30’s and their best days are behind them. Skipper Joe Girardi also has to deal with this aging players who are often injured and is juggling lineup daily. The Yanks will always score more at Yankee Stadium (4.4 RPG) because of how they built, nonetheless, this present club at 3.7 RPG is hardly a surprise.
Betting Odds, History and Bullpen Numbers
The Yankees opened as -125 home favorites at Bookmaker and the MLB odds have seen them climb to -133 with total of 7.5. New York hold a 6-3 edge over K.C. the past three years in the Bronx and the total is 5-4 to the OVER side, with all three going that direction this series. The Kansas City bullpen is 5th in ERA in the AL at 2.88, which is a little high for them. With Aroldis Chapman now available as closer, maybe the different roles will help the Yankees improve on 3.76 pen ERA.
Both starting pitchers can go belly up any time they take the ball, making this a harder pick. However, like the groove Kennedy is in, prefer the Royals bullpen and with the offense rounding into form, home teams like New York scoring 4.2 or less RPG, against an AL starting pitcher whose ERA is 3.50 or lower, after allowing seven runs or more in two straight games are 15-44 the last 19 seasons.
Free MLB Play – Kansas City wins
Doug Upstone wrote this for www.sportsbookreview.com