There is no rest for the wicked today as MLB has ten games on the schedule today on a Monday. The Philadelphia Phillies will finally get the chance to get back on the field, as they have been on pause for over a week and have played just three games so far this season. They get welcomed back to the field by none other than Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge, and the New York Yankees and are major road underdogs.
SIX homers in five games.
Aaron Judge is carrying the Yankees right now.
— MLB (@MLB) August 3, 2020
Other headlining games for the day are matchups between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres, and the game that we will focus on for our daily betting pick, the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Kansas City Royals.
Kansas City Royals (3-7) at Chicago Cubs (7-2)
In matchup between two teams headed in opposite directions, the Chicago Cubs host the Kansas City Royals for game one of a four-game, home and home series, tonight. The first two games will be held in Chicago before the series then shifts to Kansas City for games three and four. The Cubs have the best record in the National League at 7-2 and are coming off of a series sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates in their last series.
For the Royals, they are on the other end of the spectrum, as their 3-7 record has them tied with several teams for the most losses in Major League Baseball. The Royals have lost each of their three series so far this year and were swept by the Chicago White Sox over the weekend in a three-game set.
Starting tonight for the Royals is Danny Duffy (0-1 5.79 ERA), and for the Cubs, it is Alec Mills (1-0 3.00 ERA). The Cubs are -157 home field favorites. The game total over/under is set at eight runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:15 PM PST from Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals were expected to finish with one of the worst records in the American League in 2020, and so far, they are living up to those limited expectations. While some teams have gotten off to surprising starts, most notably the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles, the Royals have floundered, and only the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels have as many losses as KC.
The lone bright spot for Kansas City continues to be Whit Merrifield. Merrifield is doing it all for Kansas City as he is slashing .317 with 3 homers, 9 RBI, and 8 runs scored. But you have to wonder how long the Royals will hold on to their best player.
Merrifield turns thirty-two this year, and this Royals rebuild seems to be several seasons away from bearing fruit. The Royals have Merrifield locked up on one of the most club-friendly contracts in the majors, with him being under team control until 2024, which would make him a prime trade target for several teams looking to bolster their lineup with a perennial All-Star.
Danny Duffy (0-1 5.79 ERA)
While Whit Merrifield is the Royal’s best positional player, Danny Duffy is the best they have to offer on the mound. That isn’t to say that he is all that good, but he is the best that the Royals have right now. Duffy was called on to make the Opening Day start for KC, and just like about everything with the Royals right now, it didn’t go well.
Duffy didn’t make it out of the fifth inning, allowed two runs and was charged with the loss. In his second start, things didn’t get much better, as he pitched five innings against the Detroit Tigers, got touched up for four runs, and again, his team lost. Duffy is one of the few holdovers from the Royals World Series run in 2015, but his production has really dipped in recent years as he has had a losing record the past three seasons, with an ERA of over four runs.
Coming into the season, most people saw the National League Central as a wide-open division that was up for grabs. But right now, the Cubs look to be the class of the division as their 2.5 game lead for first place is the largest divisional lead in the major leagues. Chicago is the only team in the central that has a winning record, and with the Cardinals sidelined, the Reds banged up, and the Brewers looking meh, this division is all of the sudden the Cubs to lose.
The Cubs are getting the job done on both sides of the plate, as the hitting has been strong, they are top six in the majors in batting average, home runs, on-base percentage, and slugging, and the pitching staff has done more than enough to keep them competitive in games night in and night out. Tyler Chatwood and Jon Lester have both been lights out, and even Yu Darvish has looked great in limited work. One guy that Chicago has been pleasantly surprised by, though, is tonight’s starter, Alec Mills.
Alec Mills (1-0 3.00 ERA)
Alec Mills has bounced around between the minors and the show, for the last couple of seasons, after being traded from the Royals to the Cubs back in 2017. Chicago has used him both as a starter and out of the bullpen, and he has been solid in both roles. In 17 career appearances for Chicago, Mills has an ERA of just 3.15, and a K/9 ratio of double-digits.
The Cubs have decided to give Mills a shot as an every fifth day regular in their rotation this season, and in his season opener, he did not disappoint. Against the Cincinnati Reds, Mills worked six innings, allowing just two runs on only two hits, and picked up the win for his efforts. Chicago badly needs Mills to remain consistent at the back end of their rotation if they want to have a realistic shot at winning the National League pennant this season.
Who Do I Like?
This is one of those games where I just can’t quite understand the betting line. I would have expected the Cubs to be much bigger favorites in this game. That’s not to say that I believe in Alec Mills all that much, but the Cubs are a FAR superior team in this matchup, and to see the Royals as fairly light underdogs, is perplexing.
This seems to be one of those cases where bettors are weighing the starting pitching matchup a little too heavily. Danny Duffy has some name recognition, and Alec Mills doesn’t, but right now, I see Mills as the better of the two guys. So, the way I see this game is that I can get the better starting pitcher, and the much better overall team, at home no less, and I don’t have to lay too much wood. Now that is what I call value.
I’m taking Chicago and picking up the free money on this one. Good teams find ways to win games that they shouldn’t, and bad teams find ways to lose games that they should win. Not totally sure how this one plays out, but I see the Cubs getting to Duffy, and as long as Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel doesn’t get into this game and blow it for us, we should have a fairly low sweat winner on our hands. Give me the Chicago Cubs as home field favorites tonight, laying -157!