It was a 2-2 night with my four MLB picks last night, but unfortunately it included a small loss thanks to the Cardinals’ inability to show up in an extremely winnable game against the lowly Royals.
The Cardinals managed to scratch across just one run against a struggling Danny Duffy, and Carlos Martinez was rocked before departing early with an injury. The Royals continued their onslaught on the Cardinals’ bullpen en route to embarrassing both the Cardinals and myself in an eventual 12-3 win.
I took another loss in the matchup between the Astros and Mariners. The Astros managed just two runs against Nick Margevicius and a horrific Mariners bullpen, and while they attempted a ninth-inning rally, Jose Altuve struck out to end the game with two men on base and a chance to tie or go ahead. Nonetheless, my Astros -1.5 pick wasn’t that close to hitting in a 3-2 Mariners win.
I did notch a couple winners, one being the Reds -1.5 on the run line against the Brewers. As I expected, Trevor Bauer dominated the Crew in this one, hurling eight-innings of one run-ball ball while racking up a whopping 12 strikeouts. The Reds’ 6-1 win hit our pick with ease.
Finally, I had the under 7 between the White Sox and Indians with an elite pitching matchup between Lucas Giolito and Shane Bieber on tap. The White Sox tied the game 2-2 late which put the pick into mild jeopardy, but a Jordan Luplow solo home run in the ninth won it as the 3-2 final fell under the 7-run total.
All told, the 2-2 night cost us 0.33 units, so not much harm there. That said, we’re still looking to get back on the winning track so let’s do so on an 11-game schedule!
Season Record: 25-23-1
Now let’s check out this free MLB pick featuring the Tigers vs. Royals in an AL Central matchup from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City!
Tigers vs. Royals Betting Odds
- Tigers (+154)
- Royals (-167)
- Tigers +1.5 (-125)
- Royals -1.5 (+105)
- Over 9.5 (+103)
- Under 9.5 (-123)
Tigers vs. Royals MLB Pick Breakdown
The Tigers will send right-hander Michael Fulmer to the mound for this one tonight as he makes his 10th start of the season in this one. That said, the first nine have not been inspiring.
Coming off Tommy John surgery, the Tigers have put Fulmer on a strict three-inning limit this season, but he’s even had difficulty reaching that ceiling as he’s pitched less than three innings in four of his nine starts this season.
Fulmer enters this one sporting an 8.17 ERA on the season to go along with a 6.73 FIP, 5.58 xFIP and a huge 2.49 HR/9 clip. If we dig deeper into some advanced Statcast numbers, it’s not hard to see why he’s struggling. Let’s check out some of his percentile rankings for the season.
- xBA – 1st
- xERA – 2nd
- xwOBA – 3rd
- xSLG – 5th
- Exit Velocity – 10th
- K-rate – 11th
- Whiff Rate – 12th
- Hard Hit Rate – 14th
That is… not good. Nor are his numbers against the Royals throughout his career.
Current Royals hitters have combined to hit .309 with a monster .321 ISO, .955 OPS and .408 wOBA in their careers off Fulmer. He owns a 4.50 ERA in 10 career starts against the Royals, but also an 8.00 ERA in four starts and 18 innings at Kauffman Stadium with a massive 2.50 HR/9 at this venue in his career.
He allowed four earned runs and three home runs in just 2.2 innings against the Royals back on July 27 in his first start of the 2020 season.
The Royals will send left-hander Kris Bubic to the bump for this one tonight. Despite not throwing a single pitch above High-A ball in his life prior to this season, his results have been quite admirable.
Bubic enters this one sporting a 3.97 ERA on the season but also a 4.35 FIP, 4.51 xFIP and 4.64 SIERA. His peripherals do suggest some regression, but not to the point where he should expect to see him blown up any time soon.
In his nine starts so far this season, he’s allowed more than two earned runs just twice and zero over his last four. As a result, he’s surrendered two earned runs or fewer in seven of his nine starts this season.
While he owns a solid 8.74 K/9 on the season, he’s ramped that mark up to a 10.14 K/9 over his last four and has a track record of big strikeout numbers in his short minor-league career to this point.
Tonight marks Bubic’s first career outing against the division-rival Tigers.
The Tigers have improved their offense from last season, but more importantly for this matchup have fared far better against lefties than they have righties this season.
Against right-handed pitching this season, they rank 28th with a .289 wOBA on the season. Against lefties, however, they shoot up all the way to second with a .376 wOBA and 139 wRC+.
The Tigers also hit lefties better last season, but they’re doing so again this time around despite a hefty roster turnover from a season ago.
It’s an offense that showed plenty of fight in scoring 10 runs over their last two games against the Twins, coming one run shy in each of those two games. The last time they faced this Royals club, they posted six runs but also were blanked in the second game of that two-game set last week.
The Royals have also been better against left-handed pitching this season, and the truth is they’ve struggled with righties.
That said, they did tee off on a struggling right-hander in last night’s game and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them do so in this one, especically considering their combined career numbers off Fulmer and Fulmer’s struggles in this venue.
Fulmer aside for now, the Royals rank just 21st with a .307 wOBA off right-handed pitching, but last night’s outburst certainly helped as they entered that one ranked 26th in team wOBA versus righties. That said, it’s not surprising to see such a leap given the small samples we’re still working with in the truncated 2020 season.
They don’t walk much and they strike out too much versus righties, and their power isn’t exactly off the charts as they also sit 21st with a .157 ISO on the season off righties.
Nonetheless, it’s an offense that scored 12 runs last night and pummelled a struggling right-hander, and it’s entirely possible the same can happen in this one.
When the Tigers were on the fringe of the AL Wild Card race earlier in the season, a big reason why was a vastly improved bullpen that was far better than the 2019 version.
As it stands right now, they are about the same as last year’s group.
The Tigers enter this one sporting a bullpen ERA of 5.06, good for 25th league wide. They also check in with a 22nd-ranked 4.84 FIP and 19th-ranked 4.69 wOBA, so perhaps they’re a little better than that ERA would suggest.
Still, over the last 30 days the Tigers’ bullpen has been blown up for a 5.53 ERA/5.23 FIP while allowing home runs at a huge 1.76 HR/9 rate – the fourth-worst mark in baseball.
They’ve been far better over the last week with a 3.58 ERA, but also a 4.92 xFIP in that time.
At the end of the day, it’s pretty clear we’re dealing with one of the weakest bullpens in baseball here.
The Royals, on the other hand, have received real good results from their bullpen throughout the season.
The Royals enter this one sporting an eight-ranked 3.93 bullpen ERA, 12th-ranked 4.20 FIP and 11th-ranked 4.41 xFIP. Over the last week the Royals have posted a bullpen 2.74 FIP and 3.48 xFIP.
Greg Holland – the once-dominating Royals closer – has returned with a tidy 1.91 ERA/2.51 FIP in a team-high 28.1 innings of relief while Kyle Zimmer, Josh Staumont and Jesse Hahn have also thrown at least 14 innings while sporting an ERA of 1.57 or better.
The deep group allowed the Royals to take advantage of a resurgent season from Trevor Rosenthal and deal him to the Padres at the trade deadline, but plenty of reliable arms remain throughout this group.
Tigers vs. Royals MLB Pick
While the Tigers have had their way with left-handed pitching this season, I can’t help but look at Fulmer’s season and his complete lack of success against this Royals team.
While left-hander Daniel Norris is likely to piggyback Fulmer in what has been a nice season for the southpaw, I still believe the Royals rock Fulmer early in this one and it will be too much for the Tigers to rally back against a reliable combination of Bubic and this Royals bullpen.
I also like the fact the Royals took advantage of struggling right-hander last night and enter this one riding plenty of confidence at the plate after that 12-run outburst. They have long been comfortable at the plate against Fulmer as well.
Add it up and I see another potential Royals blowout in this one, so give me the home side on the run line tonight.