Every MLB team in the league is in action on Friday, so we’ll forgive you if you don’t have tonight’s series opener between the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals circled on your calendar. That said, both teams have quietly played very well of late.
The Tigers have won seven consecutive games to pull their record to 47-51 on the year, which is good for third place in the AL Central. Detroit won’t be contending for a Wild Card berth this season, but the club has seen noteworthy improvement under first-year manager AJ Hinch. Kansas City, meanwhile, comes into tonight’s game as winners of two consecutive games, though they’re still a half-game behind the Twins for last place in the division.
Neither team will have its ace on the mound when they clash on Friday night in Kansas City. The Tigers will throw veteran right-hander Wily Peralta to the mound, while the Royals will counter with lefty Kris Bubic. Kansas City is a -111 moneyline favorite at BetOnline in a game with an over/under of 10.5 runs.
12 games still separate the Tigers from the first-place White Sox in the division, while Detroit is also nine games out of a Wild Card spot. This team won’t be crashing the postseason party this year, but it has been impressive to see them come out of the All-Star break on fire. The Tigers swept three games against the Twins last weekend before breaking out the brooms for a four-game sweep earlier this week against the Rangers.
Tonight’s game in Kansas City will be the Tigers’ first road game since the break. Detroit is six games over .500 at Comerica Park this season, but they’re 10 games under that mark on the road. That said, they’re 7-6 in their head-to-head meetings with the Royals so far this season, and they did come away with a three-game sweep of KC the last time these teams met at Kauffman Stadium in the middle of June.
Wily Peralta on a minor league deal, with a $1.5 million base salary at the @MLB level, was one of the great signings of the offseason. @MLBNetwork@BallySportsDET
Peralta is 3-1 in seven games for the Tigers so far this season with a tidy 1.64 ERA, but his underlying numbers leave plenty to be desired. The right-hander has only struck out 15.9 percent of opposing hitters, while he’s gotten incredibly lucky with batted balls in play. Peralta is yielding a BABIP of just .187 while stranding nearly 90 percent of the runners that have reached base against him. Both are due for serious regression moving forward.
Kauffman Stadium has also been one of the most hitter-friendly parks in the majors this season. It has always been a strikeout-suppressing environment, and games in this park have hit the “over” with regularity. The over is 25-19-2 in Royals home games so far in 2021, which is easily one of the top marks in the majors.
Can the Royals Stifle the Tigers’ Bats?
The Tigers have been one of the worst offensive teams in the league for several years, but they have improved considerably in that regard so far this season. We still won’t be confusing this offense for that of the Red Sox or Astros any time soon, but Detroit has quietly emerged as a fairly potent offense as the campaign has progressed.
The Tigers will take their hacks tonight against Bubic, a young left-hander that has endured his fair share of struggles thus far this season. Bubic is 2-4 with a 5.03 ERA through 16 games. His 19.3 percent K-rate is below-average, while he has shown some serious control problems, to boot (12 percent walks). The lefty has allowed 13 home runs, 10 of which have been smacked by right-handed hitters.
Detroit will strike out more than they should, but the lineup also boasts quite a bit of righty power. Jonathan Schoop and Eric Haase have done most of the heavy lifting against left-handed pitching, but Robbie Grossman, Zack Short, and Jeimer Candelario have all posted above-average power vs. opposite-handed pitching, too. Miguel Cabrera can also do some occasional damage in spite of his advanced age.
With a couple of mediocre starting pitchers taking the mound in a hitter-friendly setting, I like the over on 10.5 runs here. Peralta is due for some serious regression moving forward, while I would expect the Tigers’ hot lineup to keep the train rolling against the struggling Bubic.
For good measure, we’ve got hot and humid weather on tap for Kansas City tonight. The temperatures during the day are slated to reach the mid-90s with head indexes over 100 degrees. As if the bats needed even more of a bump tonight. The weather for this game is the best hitting weather of any game on Friday’s schedule.
Take the over tonight in Royals-Tigers at -113.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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