We got burned yet again on Monday night, as we backed the Nationals to beat the Marlins by two runs and they could only muster a 1-0 win. It was especially depressing to miss out on some nice value by one run when Gio Gonzalez took a no-hitter into the bottom of the ninth. The defeat gave us out third straight loss, but all three have been very close and have arguably been bad beats.
It’s onward and upward as we head into Tuesday’s preferred game, which ends up being a battle between the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles. This looks like a tough one to gauge at first glance, as the pitching is certainly suspect and both of these offenses have displayed a lot of power over the last few weeks. Insert a showdown at the ever hittable Camden Yards, and we very well could have an explosive battle on our hands.
Vegas is backing the O’s at home to get things started, but bettors may want to give the Royals a hard look or maybe even consider betting on the Total. Which way should you lean tonight? Let’s dig a little deeper in this matchup to find out:
Kansas City Royals (+106) @ Baltimore Orioles (-126) Total: 10
Ian Kennedy (4-6, 4.43 ERA) vs. Dylan Bundy (9-8, 4.53 ERA)
KC hopes to continue their hot run in Baltimore tonight. The Royals dropped the first game of this series on Monday, but have still won 8 of their last 10 contests and have looked like one of the more powerful teams in baseball during that stretch. The Royals even added some pop via outfielder Melky Cabrera in a trade and now look to be as formidable as ever.
While the Royals deserve a look, we can’t just blow past the O’s in this spot. Baltimore has proven to be a tough out at home and their offense has been in a nice groove. More importantly, the Orioles are favored and are actually hotter at the moment if you look at their recent games (three straight wins).
Ian Kennedy toes the rubber for the Royals and the 32-year old righty does not draw an easy matchup. Baltimore is 8th in the majors in home runs against right-handed pitching, while they also rank a solid 12th in batting average. Most of their right-handed bats sport reverse splits, while Chris Davis has always been a menacing lefty for righties to take on.
While this isn’t an easy matchup when you look at Baltimore’s power and this park, it’s still interesting to see Kennedy’s road success. The veteran hurler has allowed a paltry .197 batting average to opposing bats when on the road, in addition to a steady 3.97 ERA. Kennedy hasn’t been perfect and he still has a penchant for serving up the long ball (19 HR allowed in 2017), but he has done a fine job at avoiding many blow up games this year.
Kennedy did get popped for 5 runs two starts ago, but delivered a one-run gem at Detroit in his last start and has allowed 3 or fewer runs in 7 of his last 8 trips to the mound. Kennedy isn’t sporting an elite K rate and he gives up a lot of hard contact, but there is something to be said for his ability to work his way out of jams and drive himself beyond 5 innings on a consistent basis.
Blindly trusting Kennedy in this spot isn’t suggested. The hard contact he so often gets away with could spell doom in this park. The only way we can confidently roll with the Royals is if we lean on Kennedy’s ability to last in games and Kansas City’s recent power surge.
Luckily there is plenty of evidence suggesting we can. The Royals take on the beatable Bundy, who has flashed high end ability over the last two years, but is anything but reliable these days. Bundy does not sport an elite K rate and gives up loads of hard contact. That is understandably a lethal combination and we’ve seen it work heavily against him, especially in Bundy’s most recent outing, where the 24-year old righty got slammed to the tune of 7 runs (2 HR) on 8 hits.
Bundy somehow has a 5-4 record with a 4.29 ERA at home despite giving up 13 of his 21 long balls here on the year. That’s still not great, but it’s a little weird that he finds a way to survive so much. The numbers don’t dictate that can go on for very long, and we’ve seen flashes of the walls coming down. Bundy’s last start against the Astros obviously showed us that, while he’s gotted rocked to the tune of 5+ runs in 4 of his last 6 starts.
The recent form simply isn’t there and Bundy doesn’t thrive at home. Nobody should expect him to, but tonight he’s tasked with taming a fairly hot Royals offense. Ubaldo Jimenez lucked into stifling this offense last night, but that’s as random as it gets and I have a hard time buying the Royals flat-lining two nights in a row – especially with favorable matchups in such a dangerous park.
Initially I was ready to bite on a 9.5 Total (shooting for the Over), but before I could even finish this write-up, Bovada bumped it to 10. I’m not totally against targeting the Over at -110, but the extra 0.5 run has me off of it. I still like it, but the best play here is the underdog Royals. The pitching could be argued as a wash, but then we’ve got value with KC in a great park. I expect the shootout we should have gotten last night, and this time the Royals should pull out the win.