There are plenty of teams across Major League Baseball that are still alive in the playoff chase. Two teams nowhere near any playoff hunt are the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals, who will wrap up their three-game head-to-head series in Baltimore on Wednesday night. The teams have split the first two games of the series, with the Royals winning on Monday before the O’s evened the series Tuesday night.
It’s safe to say this isn’t among the most highly-anticipated matchups we’ve seen all season, but there is still some moneyline betting value to be had in the game between these cellar dwellers. Mike Montgomery will toe the rubber for the Royals in the series finale against Orioles right-hander Aaron Brooks.
|2019 ATR Home||28-34||23-40|
|2019 ATR Away||31-33||30-33|
|2019 O/U Home||33-26-3||34-25-4|
|2019 O/U Away||28-33-3||29-28-6|
Montgomery was on the mound for the Chicago Cubs when they clinched their first World Series title in over a century back in 2016, but he was traded to the Royals in exchange for catcher Martin Maldonado earlier this season. The Cubs used Montgomery primarily as a long reliever, but he has been a consistent starter since joining Kansas City.
Montgomery has made six appearances since coming to the Royals. He has pitched well for the most part, as he has held his opponents to two earned runs or fewer in four of those outings. The left-hander has put up back-to-back scoreless outings against the Tigers and the Mets. The Royals managed to win those games by a combined score of 13-1. He struck out 12 Tigers in seven innings a couple of starts ago.
He’s not a bad pitcher by any means, but he still doesn’t get the due respect from oddsmakers. Montgomery isn’t a guy that will typically miss many bats. He has an 18.4% strikeout rate this season, but he does a solid job of limiting hard contact while keeping the ball on the ground. Monty has a career ground ball rate of 53.6%, which puts him among the active leaders in the majors.
Montgomery has allowed just 10 homers across his 26 combined appearances for the Cubs and Royals. He has also flashed reverse batted ball splits for the majority of his career, which means lefties typically enjoy more success at his expense. The Orioles lineup he’ll see tonight should be heavy on right-handed hitters. Considering those splits and the fact that he doesn’t allow much power to begin with, Montgomery finds himself in a favorable matchup tonight, despite the hitter-friendly ballpark in Baltimore.
The projected Orioles lineup has a high 24.7% K-rate against left-handed pitching with a relatively low team ISO of just .172. If he can navigate the likes of Trey Mancini and Renato Nunez without getting blown up, Monty should be fine.
The Orioles led the majors in losses last year, and they’re well on their way to doing it again. Baltimore is a whopping 42 ½ games behind the first-place Yankees in the AL East, and their 19-44 home record is the second worst in the league. Only the Tigers have been more pathetic on their home field this season.
Aaron Brooks started the season in Oakland before being claimed off waivers by the Orioles. He pitched in 15 games for the A’s, including six starts, but all seven of his appearances with the O’s to this point have been as a starter. Through those seven games, the right-hander is 0-4 with a 9.22 ERA.
Brooks has a 17.7% strikeout rate, which is even lower than Montgomery’s. Walks aren’t typically a problem for him (6.4%), but he’s yielded a hard-hit rate over 40% and he hasn’t been able to induce as many ground balls as he has at lower levels of the minors.
The Royals have a pretty punchless lineup of their own, but they do have some decent hitters atop the order. Jorge Soler (.314 ISO vs. RHP), Hunter Dozier (.260) and Whit Merrifield (.357 wOBA) hvae all hit right-handed pitching very well this season. Soler and Dozier in particular have boatloads of power, so I’d be surprised if one (or both) of them didn’t take Brooks deep tonight. Brooks has allowed 19 home runs in 22 total games this season.
As mentioned, oddsmakers seem to think Montgomery is some terrible pitcher, but that’s just not the case. He’s not Chris Sale or Justin Verlander, but he’s a respectable starter at this level, and he draws a favorable matchup against the O’s tonight. There isn’t much value at all in betting on the Royals to cover the runline at -200, so I’ll take the moneyline at -110. Kansas City should be able to do some damage against Brooks, so bet on the Royals to win the Royals vs Orioles game outright.
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