Mark down an another 2-1 night for my free MLB picks as last night was the third consecutive night I have enjoyed a 2-1 evening to open the 2020 MLB season.
The first winner of the night was another easy one as I once again took the under between the Blue Jays and Nationals, this time under the 10-run total. The Nationals’ offense once again mustered just one run in this one thanks to a nice effort from Tanner Roark and a shutdown effort from the Blue Jays’ bullpen while the Jays cruised a 5-1 win and netted us a one-unit profit in the process.
The second winner of the night came between the Braves and Rays where I had the Rays as -132 home favorites. The Braves opened the scoring, but the Rays got to young righty Kyle Wright for five third-innings runs and that was all they needed to cruise to a 5-2 win.
Lastly, I dropped my road underdog pick of the White Sox +111 in Cleveland in the second game of their double-header. Unfortunately, the White Sox didn’t start many of their regulars in the second game and Carlos Rodon was touched up for five earned runs in just 3.2 innings while the White Sox – despite a shutout effort from their bullpen – couldn’t mount the comeback in a 5-3 loss that sent them to an ugly 1-5 start to the season.
I’ll certainly take the 2-1 night and the one-unit profit and move onto tonight’s 14-game MLB schedule!
Season Record: 6-3
Now let’s take a look at this free MLB pick featuring the Royals vs. Tigers in an AL Central rivalry matchup from Detroit!
Royals vs. Tigers Betting Odds
- Royals (+116)
- Tigers (-126)
- Royals +1.5 (-163)
- Tigers -1.5 (+143)
- Over 10 (-110)
- Under 10 (-110)
Royals vs. Tigers MLB Pick Breakdown
Pitching Matchup: Duffy (0-1, 4.15 ERA/2.79 FIP) vs. Boyd (0-1, 7.20 ERA/7.22 FIP)
The Royals will send veteran left-hander Danny Duffy to the hill for his second start of the season after he allowed two earned runs on three hits with no walks and two strikeouts across 4.1 innings in an Opening Day loss to the Indians.
It was a nice start to the season for Duffy who has posted an ERA of 4.34 and a FIP of 4.70 or higher in each of the last two seasons after pitching quite well out of the Royals’ rotation from 2014-2017.
Of course, being an AL Central opponent for many years means Duffy has seen plenty of this Tigers team, although a Tigers team with plenty of turnover over the last several seasons.
In his career against Detroit, Duffy owns a 4.59 ERA across 24 starts, 27 appearances and 139.1 innings of work. He also owns a 4.06 ERA in nine starts and 10 appearances at Comerica Park spanning 57.2 innings.
Matthew Boyd made big strides last season and entered the 2020 campaign as the Tigers’ resident ace, however he struggled mightily on Opening Day against the Reds.
First-inning control issues were the at the forefront of his line against the Reds as a pair of hit-by-pitches had him surrender two-first inning runs, and while he ended up going five innings, he still allowed four earned runs and two walks to boot.
Last season, Boyd become one of the premier strikeout artists in baseball as his 11.56 K/9 clip ranked sixth league wide among qualified starters and control issues were non-existent in the form of a solid 2.43 BB/9 clip. His resulting 4.76 K/BB ratio was 10th-best in baseball.
Boyd hasn’t had much success against the Royals, however, posting a 6.46 ERA in 19 starts and 92 innings against the Royals, although he owns a much better 4.00 ERA in 55 starts and 57 appearances in his career at home.
The Royals’ offense came out swinging in this series, clobbering six home runs en route to a 14-run effort to throttle the Tigers in the opener, but that trend was reversed in a hurry last night.
A Whit Merrifield three-run homer was all the Royals managed in last night’s 4-3 loss, a game in which the club was dominated by a Tigers bullpen that pitched six innings of scoreless, two-hit ball to go along with six strikeouts.
Early in the season, the Royals rank 22nd with a .287 wOBA on the heels of a 2019 season in which they ranked 27th with a .302 mark in that department.
With third baseman Maikel Franco as the club’s lone offseason offensive addition, it’s probably wise to expect them to struggle at the plate again this season.
The Tigers boasted the worst offense the AL had to offer last season and the second-worst in all of baseball, ahead of only the Miami Marlins.
That said, the club made some impactful offseason additions in C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop – the former of which hit two clutch homers in the season-opening series versus the Reds and the latter of whom hit a 442-foot shot to dead center last night.
The Tigers enter this one tied for 16th with a .308 wOBA and are tied for the MLB lead with 10 home runs, but they also rank 23rd with a .206 batting average and are second-last with a 32.8% K-rate.
Clutch home runs have helped them to a 3-2 mark to this point, but the team will need to produce far better overall at the plate if they want to shock the baseball world this season.
It was a complete 180 from Monday to Tuesday for the bullpens in this series.
On Monday, the Royals’ bullpen held the Tigers to just one earned run – a solo homer – in their seven innings of work after starter Mike Montgomery allowed three runs in two innings of work.
On Tuesday, however, the Royals’ bullpen blew a 3-0 lead in allowing a pair of two-run homers to the Tigers’ Schoop and Christin Stewart.
They held the Tigers in check from there, and while their surface ERA of 3.58 looks solid at first glance, their 5.63 FIP, 4.99 xFIP, 4.88 BB/9 and 1.63 HR/9 in 27.2 innings suggest cause for concern moving forward.
After the Tigers’ bullpen was obliterated for 10 earned runs in 6.1 innings of work on Monday, they rebounded in a big way on Tuesday with six innings of shutout ball with six punchouts against just two hits.
The main difference in the two performances was personnel as the Tigers have young prospects a shot in the opener before turning to their go-to arms with a one-run lead in yesterday’s contest.
Still, the Monday outing has the Tigers’ bullpen sitting with an ugly 5.79 ERA on the season while many of the peripheral numbers are causes for concern as well.
All this on the heels of a Tigers bullpen that ranked 24th with a 4.94 ERA last season, but also tied for 27th with a 5.06 FIP and 26th with a 0.6 fWAR.
That said, the personnel is far different from a season ago.
Neither of these clubs sport areas of the game that should lead to overwhelming success this season.
The Tigers’ bats have flexed early muscle, but their bullpen remains a concern and Boyd needs to make big strides from Opening Day to give his club a shot tonight.
On the Royals front, aside from Monday, their offense has scuffled and their bullpen almost certainly has regression coming its way in the near future.
That said, I’ll look directly at the starting pitching matchup for this one, and I see a clear edge with the home side.
Sure, Duffy was solid and Boyd struggled in the openers, but Boyd is the premier arm with nasty stuff that should lead to a pile of strikeouts against a team that’s had their fair share of those this season.
The Tigers have scuffled with punchouts of their own, but that mostly came at the hands of the nasty trio of Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo and Trevor Bauer that the Reds threw at them over the weekend.
In this series, the Tigers’ K-rate is just 17.3% compared to 43.8% against the Reds over the weekend and Duffy is far from a strikeout artist with a 7.92 K/9 a season ago.
The majority of Tigers hitters in tonight’s lineup fare much better against left-handed hitters, including the new power duo of Schoop and Cron.
As a result, I’ll look for Boyd to bounce back and the Tigers to get the sticks going as I back them on the moneyline tonight.