Detroit Tigers vs Kansas City Royals

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The Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals face off again on Wednesday night as they wrap up an intense three-game series. Detroit struck first on Memorial Day with a 10-7 win in an explosive affair, while the Royals responded on Tuesday with a tight 1-0 win.

The rubber match arrives on Wednesday, following a nasty duel between Justin Verlander and Eric Skoglund. Neither offense was able to get off the ground, as Verlander struck out five and gave up the only run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. The game included just 10 total hits and saw Skoglund strike out five and give up just two of those knocks.

Both teams will surely be looking to snag this series, as the Tigers and Royals both hope to stay away from the bottom of the AL Central. That’s where Kansas City resides at the moment, but a win tonight would pull them within one game of the Tigers and give them a shot at rising back up the division.

Detroit has the same thought on their mind, of course, but they’ll enter as mild underdogs due to a rough patch (3-7 over their last 10 games) and a shaky road record (12-18 away from home). Is that enough to back the Royals? Let’s find out as we gauge the best bet in tonight’s matchup at Kauffman Stadium:

Detroit Tigers (+119)
Kansas City Royals (-129)
Total: 9

Detroit comes in as the underdog in this one, which immediately has us wondering if they’re an obvious value play. They certainly appear to be on the surface, as they already shredded the Royals for 10 runs in the series opener and always sports a very potent offense.

That wasn’t the case in a shutout loss last night, but Detroit has been the better team all year and knows they have to win to keep the Royals from sending them into the bottom of the division. They could have a matchup that allows for them to do that tonight, as they’ll be taking on the beatable Ian Kennedy (0-4, 4.43 ERA) who is notorious for giving up a ton of hard contact and has regressed after a strong start to his 2017 campaign.

Kennedy has yet to find his first win of the year and he’ll be hard-pressed to find it tonight, as he gets a nasty Tigers offense that provides serious power. Detroit has cranked out 45 home runs against right-handed pitching on the year, while Kennedy is just now starting to give up the long ball (5 dongs given up in his last three starts). Kennedy has not been in top form during that stretch, either, as he’s allowed 13 runs over that same span.

It’s not as though Kennedy can’t make bats miss or he is getting knocked around relentlessly. He just gives up too much hard contact, which naturally translates into a lot of dongs and/or extra base hits. That’s the way he’s trended lately and it was a path he was destined for after a strong start to the year. It’s worth pointing out that Kennedy has enjoyed most of his success this year at home and he also has a solid history (2.96 ERA) against the Tigers when we look back at the last three years.

That’s not enough to have us bite on Kennedy, as he just isn’t a scary arm right now and he’ll be taking on a very dangerous lineup. On the other side the Tigers could get by with Matthew Boyd (2-5, 5.40 ERA) toeing the rubber. Boyd is a step down from Kennedy, but he naturally has a much more favorable matchup against a shaky KC offense that ranks 28th at connecting versus southpaws and is 17th in home runs against left-handed pitching, as well.

The pitching might be a wash at first glance, but the Royals don’t hit lefties very well and the Tigers could only need a blast or two to force Kennedy into an early exit. From there, the offensive matchup favors Detroit and with the value they present, they look like a strong upset pick.

Pick: Tigers (+119)
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