Jakob Junis (0-0, 4.00 ERA) vs. Jake Odorizzi (0-0, 6.00 ERA)
The Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins meet for the first game of a four-game series at Target Field. It’s a classic American League Central matchup between the Royals and Twins. It might feel like ages ago, but it was only five years ago that the Royals were celebrating a World Series win.
The Royals quickly fell off after that because everyone wanted to get paid. The bullpen that the Royals put together that season, which was one of the best in baseball, was dismantled within the next two years. They certainly miss that kind of talent to lean on out of the pen.
It’s been rebuilding time for the Royals, but it was all worth it to win a championship. Their grace period is eventually going to run out, though, and fans are going to expect success again. That’s not going to happen this year or even next year for the Royals, so patience will have to be key in KC.
World Series MVP, Salvador Perez, is still catching for the Royals. Fan favorite Alex Gordon is also still a Royal. However, the 2015 team is pretty unrecognizable compared to the 2020 squad. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Kendrys Morales, and Lorenzo Cain to name a handful, all left for greener pastures since the World Series.
The Royals made good on their Wednesday outing with a 5-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds. Salvador Perez had a nice day with 3 RBI on 3-for-5 hitting. Despite the Royals not anywhere close to World Series form, there is some talent to like on the Royals, such as Whit Merrifield and Perez.
A better rotation would help the Royals win many more games. They’re not scaring away too many hitters. Jakob Junis is in his fourth season in the majors and he’s in need of showing improvements soon. Instead of improving in his third season, Junis went in the opposite direction. He gets the nod for the Royals, while the Twins are expected to send out veteran Jake Odorizzi. Head below for our free Kansas City Royals vs. Minnesota Twins pick for August 14, 2020.
Kansas City Royals vs. Minnesota Twins MLB Baseball Betting Odds:
KC Royals vs. Minnesota Twins Prediction:
The Royals did a lot of the small things right to win a World Series in 2015. They weren’t flashy and knew the importance of a quality bullpen in the postseason. The Royals executed the plan well. The personnel just isn’t there for them now, especially their pitching staff which is not even close to what they had then.
Jakob Junis was not on that team, as he entered the majors in 2017 and was okay for a rookie with no experience. Junis posted an ERA of 4.30 and 1.28 WHIP in 20 games. He did about the same the next season, with an ERA of 4.37 and 1.27 WHIP in 2018. The Royals expected to see something more out of Junis in his third season, but his season didn’t go well. Junis finished with a 5.24 ERA and 1.43 WHIP to set up a very important 2020 campaign for him.
He’s made two starts so far and has been mediocre with a 4.00 ERA and 1.67 WHIP. Junis has to do a better job of keeping the bases clean. In a two-game sample size, you can get away with it, but eventually that ERA is going to skyrocket if he continues to give up hits and walks.
Minnesota has made easy work of Junis in previous matchups. They’re hitting .323 with a .344 in 31 at-bats. The Twins have connected for 4 home runs and 6 runs against Junis in that time. I think we should expect to see the bats working for the Twins on Friday. Jake Odorizzi just has to keep it together, because he was not in good form in his first start of the season.
The 30-year-old has been dealing with back pain and he didn’t look 100% in his 2020 debut. Odorizzi gave up 4 hits and 2 earned runs before getting yanked after 3 innings against the Royals on the road. He opened the year on the IL and might need some more time to shake off the rust. Even on his best days, Odorizzi has struggled against the Royals. They are hitting .276 with 7 home runs and 20 runs in 86 at-bats against him. I could see a high-scoring game unfolding at Target Field tonight.