With 9 straight winners under our belt, we turn out attention to Thursday where a 10th straight winning pick is on the line. It’s a nice run, but things need to be put into perspective. This is a long season with the ultimate goal coming out ahead at the end of the year. The positive results need to keep rolling in, and I plan on doing just that as we push forward towards a cash filled 2016 campaign. Thursday’s often represent the start of a new series for ball clubs, but there is plenty of repeat action on the board tonight. It’s a full day of baseball, with the first pitch taking place at 12:35 ET in Pittsburgh. We’re not going to get our baseball betting going until later in the night, when the Kansas City Royals and Houston Royals meet for the fourth and final game of the series.
This has been a matchup of two clubs who were on nobody’s radar some years ago. Well, the Royals have been to the last two World Series and nabbed it all last season. The Astros also made the postseason last season and are expected to be up there right again in 2016. You keep stockpiling young talent and eventually it starts to produce results on the field. That is what the Astros did and they look like they have a promising future. However, with a postseason appearance last season, there are now expectations for them to exceed that. The postseason was a good feel-good story for the Astros, but there are expectations placed on them now.
Doug Fister is a recent addition for the Astros, coming over from the Washington Nationals after two seasons. Fister had a Jekyll and Hyde career in Washington, pitching for a strong ERA of 2.41 in 2013, with it dipping to a 4.19 ERA in 2014. The Nationals felt like they got all they could out of Fister and off to Houston he went. He can look like one of those pitchers who looks unhittable one outing, and then follow it up by allowing 3 or 4 runs next time on the mound.
Fister will duel a new face to the Royals, Ian Kennedy. Kennedy has been a journeyman since 2007, spending time with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Padres, and now the Royals. Kansas City is going to try and get something out of him on the cheap. He is been unable to duplicate what he did in 2011, where he posted a 2.88 ERA for the D-Backs. In his last season with the Padres in 2015, Kennedy rounded out his career in San Diego with a 4.28 ERA. I provide additional points below, as we seek out a 10th winning pick in a row on the bases tonight.
Kansas City Royals vs. Houston Astros
Ian Kennedy (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Doug Fister (1-0, 5.40 ERA)
Kennedy and Fister both escaped their first starts with a win to their credit. However, there was clearly a better pitcher to be found. Kennedy pitched lights out, posting an ERA of 0.00, with of course no runs allowed. He also had a terrific 0.90 WHIP. Conversely, Fister concluded his outing with a 5.40 ERA. Although, it wasn’t like he got demolished on the mound, as he wasn’t awful across 5 innings where he allowed his 3 runs to the Brewers. In any event, the edge does to Kennedy after game 1 of 2015.
Can we expect that kind of production to continue from Kennedy, though? I for one don’t believe so, and don’t see one start as a way to gauge any pitcher. While that was a nice start for him, I fully expect him to take his lumps along the way this season. If he pitches like it’s 2011, then well, the Royals struck gold again with a cheaper option. I expect Fister to show who the better pitcher is tonight. Fister isn’t as great as he used to be but he’s still good. I have no faith in Kennedy to pitch the way he did against the Twins in consecutive starts. The Twins have one of the worst offenses in all of baseball, so he better not get too comfortable after the display he put against them. In what has been a fun series between two World Series hopefuls, the Astros get the job done tonight.
PICK: ASTROS TO WIN -110