Royals vs. Tigers MLB Pick – April 23, 2021

It was a rough night for my last set of MLB picks on Wednesday as I endured an 0-2 night, easily my worst of the young season.

I had the Astros on the moneyline in Colorado as I expected the bats to wake up against the left-handed Austin Gomber, but that didn’t happen. Rather, the Rockies were able to find some offense as they were able to plate four runs across the first two innings and didn’t look back in a 6-3 win. That one cost us 1.42 units.

We also had the Angels to beat the Rangers on the run line, but it was Texas with the upset. Things looked good heading into the 8th inning with the Angels up 3-1, however Texas scored four in the 8th and another two in the ninth as took that one by a 7-4 count.

It was an 0-2 and -2.42-unit night, so we’ll look to get back on the right track with this Royals vs. Tigers MLB pick from Comerica Park in Detroit!

  • Season Record: 5-4
  • Units: +0.36

Royals vs. Tigers Betting Odds

  • Royals (-112)
  • Tigers (+102)
  • Royals -1.5 (+140)
  • Tigers +1.5 (-160)
  • Over 8.5 (-110)
  • Under 8.5 (-110)

Royals vs. Tigers MLB Pick Breakdown

Royals

Starting Pitcher

The Royals will send left-hander Mike Minor the bump to kick off a four-game set in Detroit tonight as the veteran looks to get on the right track after enduring some difficult results across the first three starts of the season.

Minor will enter this one sporting a 5.17 ERA across 15.2 innings, and it would appear that he deserves that ugly ERA figure as he also owns a 5.20 FIP, 5.13 xFIP and 5.37 xERA. He’s been touched up for 1.72 HR/9 as well, continuing a trend that’s developed over the last few seasons as he allowed 1.75 HR/9 in the shortened 2020 season as well.

The issues have come in a pair of starts sandwiched around a good one. He began his season with six innings of four-run ball against the Rangers, hurled four innings of one-run ball his following start against the White Sox but then regressed to 5.2 innings of four-run ball against the Blue Jays his last time out.

He actually hasn’t allowed a ton of hard contact at 36%, but also ranks in the league’s 16th percentile in xSLG, 24th in barrel rate and 24th in xwOBA. He simply hasn’t been very good, and that was also the case last season when he worked to a 5.56 ERA across 11 starts between the Rangers and A’s.

Offense

The Royals lengthened their lineup with the offseason additions of Andrew Benintendi, Carlos Santana and Michael A. Taylor, but Benintendi has struggled mightily as he did in last season’s small sample.

That said, the overall results have been solid. The Royals enter this one ranked 12th with a .313 wOBA on the season with an even 100 wRC+ as well. They combined power with speed as their .161 ISO is tied for 14th, but they also rank third with 16 stolen bases on the season, and that’s without speedster Adalberto Mondesi who has yet to suit up this season due to an oblique issue.

It’s also an offense that’s heated up over its last two games. The Royals scored just four runs over a three-game span, but busted out for 16 over their last two games against a quality Rays pitching staff.

They haven’t exactly hit the ball hard consistently, however. They rank 25th with a 36.9% hard-hit rate and 19th with a 7.6% barrel rate on the season.

Salvador Perez, Whit Merrifield, Taylor and Santana have led the way as they rank first to fourth on the team in terms of wRC+, rewarding the front office for an aggressive and fast-acting offseason in the process.

We’ll see if they can stay hot in this one tonight.

Bullpen

The Royals quietly worked their way into the top 10 in terms of bullpen ERA last season, but the results haven’t been there so far here in 2021.

The Royals enter this one ranked 24th with a 4.76 bullpen ERA on the season while their 4.34 FIP and 4.51 xFIP are more or less in line with that surface ERA figure. Walks have been an issue with a 4.24 BB/9 on the season, but they’re not missing many bats either with an 8.87 K/9 clip that ranks 23rd in the bigs.

Furthermore, they’ve been hit very hard. The Royals’ 44.2% hard-hit rate against is the third-highest mark in the league while their 10.1% barrel rate against is the sixth-highest mark in the league.

Greg Holland has struggled after his return to Kansas City went swimmingly last season while another returnee in Wade Davis owns a 5.40 ERA at the moment. Add in the struggles of Jake Newberry and it’s been a little bit of tough sledding so far for a group that was very good last season.

Tigers

Starting Pitching

While the Royals will send a veteran out for this one tonight, the Tigers will send a rookie in the form of 2018 first overall pick Casey Mize.

Mize actually debuted last season and saw some early-career struggles in the form of a 6.99 ERA/6.47 FIP. That said, his work this season has been better despite some suspect peripherals.

Mize will enter this one sporting a 3.38 ERA on the season across three starts and 16 innings, but he also owns a 5.22 FIP and 5.44 xERA. Home runs have been an issue by way of his 1.69 HR/9, but those issues were limited to his most recent start in which he surrendered all three of his home runs from this season against the Oakland A’s.

That followed 11 innings of one-run ball in his first two starts of the season. That said, he also ranks in the 23rd or 24th percentile in stats such as xwOBA, xBA, xERA, xSLG and K%. He’s not a strikeout artist by trade, and his 7.31 K/9 on the season is evidence of that, though he’s been inducing plenty of ground-balls in the form of a 57.1% grounder rate on the campaign.

Mize will certainly be in search of a bounce-back effort in this one, so we’ll see if he can repeat his work from his first two starts in this one tonight.

Offense

The Tigers offense is struggling at the moment as they have been unable to get much going across their last series’.

They mashed the Houston Astros for 20 runs across a three-game sweep in Houston, but went to Oakland and scored just six runs in four games — including back-to-back shutouts — while dropping all four of those contests. Now, they’re coming off losing two of three to the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates while scoring just nine runs in those three contests.

It’s an offense that has hit for power, but not much else. The Tigers’ .164 ISO is tied for 12th and their 23 homers are tied for 10th, but they are near the bottom of the league in just about everything else. They also rank 29th with a .287 wOBA, 25th with a .215 batting average, 26th with a 27.6% K-rate and tied for 26th with a 7.4% walk rate.

It may surprise you to read that the Tigers were the best offense in baseball versus left-handed pitching last season, but now they’re the worst — by far. The Tigers’ minuscule .224 wOBA off lefties ranks last by about 40 points and their 30.8% K-rate off southpaws ranks 27th. Only Niko Goodrum and Victor Reyes have posted wRC+ above league average for the Tigers this season.

It’s obviously a small sample versus lefties as there isn’t a Tiger with more than 20 plate appearances against lefties this season, so we’ll see if they can get it turned around against a struggling lefty tonight.

Bullpen

Many projections had the Tigers’ bullpen as the worst in the Majors this season, and so far those projections have been spot on.

The Tigers enter this one sporting a bullpen ERA of 6.64 on the season, by far the worst in the league behind the 29th-ranked Reds at 6.00. Their 6.00 FIP and 5.16 xFIP are also league-worst numbers, as is their 2.17 HR/9. Additionally, their 5.78 BB/9 sits 29th.

Obviously, consistency has been an issue. The bullpen cost them their 4-2 loss in yesterday’s game with the Pirates, but they actually had a decent series as Tigers pitching allowed just four runs per game in that series.

The only reliable arms so far have been Alex Lange, Gregory Soto — aside from yesterday’s work — and Michael Fulmer, although the latter is now working in the rotation. Therefore, with just two reliable arms in that bullpen, it’s going to be a long year for a Tigers bullpen that also ranked as one of the worst in baseball a season ago.

Royals vs. Tigers MLB Pick

While the Tigers have a struggling bullpen, a cold offense and a young rookie on the mound who has seen some subpar results early in his career, I’m on the home side here at solid value.

Mike Minor has certainly been the inferior starter in this matchup. He’s giving up plenty of homers, and as noted, the Tigers are hitting home runs at a nice clip. I also believe that there is plenty of positive regression in those Tigers bats against left-handers. They were the best in the league last season, and while they’ve struggled this season, the sample size is so small that we need to see it grow before making assumptions this early in the season.

Sure, the Tigers’ bullpen has struggled, but so has the Royals’ as they were touched up big-time over their last two games as Royals pitching allowed 22 runs over those final two games with the Rays.

There’s a lot to dislike about this Tigers team at the moment, but I like their chances to kick off this four-game set with a win tonight.

The Bet
TIGERS
+102
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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.

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