Royals vs. Rays- With An Indoor Setting & Two Teams Who Struggling To Score Runs Under Is The MLB Pick

Tampa Bay Rays

Wednesday, August 3, 2016 2:30 PM GMT

The Kansas City Royals take on the Rays at The Juice Box in St. Petersburg on Wednesday night. Game 3 of this AL series trends tip the scale to making an MLB pick on the under here.

Kansas City Royals vs. Tampa Bay Rays
The Kansas City Royals (50-55) and RHP Edinson Volquez head to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Wednesday night to face new RHP Jake Odorizzi and the host Tampa Bay Rays (42-62) in Game 3 of this 4-game series. Offshore sportsbooks have opened up the Rays as slight -126 Home favorites (Heritage) with the underdog Royals +117 on the take-back with the game's Total (Runs) opening up at 7½ (Under -118, Heritage).

The Run Line odds here see the Rays -1½ priced at +167 with visiting Royals +1½ runs priced at a very lofty -188 (Heritage). In Game 1 on Monday, LHP Danny Duffy was brilliant, one-hitting the Rays in a 3-0 Royals Shutout to open up the series as the southpaw went all the way until the Bottom of the 8th Inning before allowing a leadoff Double to Desmond Jenkins as Duffy had a franchise-record 16 K's in the Win. In Game 2 on Tuesday night, Kansas City was scheduled to send Yordano Ventura (6-9) to the mound against Matt Andriese (6-2) with the Rays -123 favorites (5Dimes, Total: 7½u -120) while the two scheduled Starting Pitchers for Game 4 in this series on Thursday (12:10 p.m. EDT/9:10 a.m. PDT)—note the early start time out West—are 28-year-old LHP Ian Kennedy (6-9) host Tampa Bay and 27-year-old LHP Drew Smyly (3-11) for for the Royals in a battle of southpaws.

Kansas City Royals
The defending World Champion Kansas City Royals (100/1 to win World Series, Bet365) and Manager Ned Yost have seemingly fallen out of MLB Playoff contention, going 2-8 their L10 games heading into Tuesday and falling 5 games under .500 (50-55) and into 4th place in the AL Central, some 11 games behind the Cleveland Indians (4/1 to win AL pennant, Marathon) who are now fighting with the Texas Rangers (3/1 to win AL Pennant, William Hill) to be MLB odds favorites to win the American League.

On Monday night in the near no-hitter, Royals (407 RF-463 RA) Manager Yost's Starting Lineup Card looked like this: SS Alcides Escobar, 3B Cheslor Cuthbert, RF Lorenzo Cain, 1B Eric Hosmer, DH Kendrys Morales, C Salvador Pérez, LF Alex Gordon, RF Paulo Orlando, 2B Raul Mondesi with aforementioned RHP Danny Duffy—who had a fielding Error—pitching the absolute gem for the visitors and flirting with the team's first No-Hitter in 25 years. Orlando went 3-for-4 with 2 Singles and a Double while Cuthbert (2 Singles) and Morales (Single, HR) has multiple Hit games for Kansas City (50/1 to win AL Pennant, Bet365) which improved to 18-36 on the Road with the Shutout. Cain (.281, 8 HR, 40 RBI) and the anemic Royals have gone 5-12 after the All-Star Break and haven't scored a total of more than 5 Runs in their L5 games (3, 3, 1 3, 2).

Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays (3,000/1 to win World Series, Bet365) have the second-worst Record in the AL behind the Minnesota Twins (41-64) but Manager Kevin Cash has the team playing better Baseball after a horrific June and July. On Monday in that 3-0 Loss in Game 1, Rays Manager Cash had a Starting Batting Order of: 2B Logan Forsythe, SS Brad Miller, DH Evan Longoria, RF Steven Souza Jr., LF Desmond Jennings, CF Kevin Kiermaier, 3B Tim Beckman, 1B Nick Franklin, and C Luke Maile with LHP Chris Archer (5-15) getting the Start and pitching pretty well against Kansas City, allowing just 3 Runs (all Earned) on 6 Hits in 7.1 IP.

And as mentioned, Jennings had the only Hit for the homeboys with that Double that broke up the No Hitter to lead off the Bottom of the 8th. Heading into play on Tuesday, the Rays (22-31 at Home) sat 17 GB the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles (59-46) despite the fact both teams had gone 5-5 over their L10 games. Tampa Bay (411 RF-462 RA). For this team, the Postseason is just a dream and giving some younger players some valuable Playing Time will probably be Cash's modus operandi in August and September.This team has actually had some decent Pitching and plays decent Defense, but scoring Runs has been a problem for Tampa Bay (1,500 to win AL Pennant, Bet365) who was 1-4 in its L5 games against Kansas City here at Home in St. Pete heading into Tuesday night's Game 2.

Starting Pitchers Report Card
Royals RHP Edinson Volquez (8-9, 4.70 ERA, 99 K's) has had an average season and Rays Dickerson (.375) and Longoria (.333) have fared well against the big Righty. Rays scheduled Starter Jake Odorizzi (5-5, 3.88 ERA, 115 K's, 1.21 WHIP) has been absolutely brilliant of late and heads in with a 14.2 IP Scoreless Streak after shutting down the Yankees in his last Start. After having the highest average Inning Pitch Count in MLB (18.3 ppi), the 26-year-old native of Highland, IL has really turned things around and is now averaging just 13.9 pitches per inning. Eric Hosmer (.500), Jarrod Dyson (.500), Alex Gordon (.429) and Salvador Pérez (.350), Alcides Escobar (.333) have all done well against Odorizzi, but in a limited number of Plate Appearances.

Trend-wise, Tampa Bay is 4-0 in the L4 Wednesday Starts by Odorizzi, 8-3 the L11 following a Quality Start, 2-6 his L8 Starts, 1-10 his L11 against an AL Central opponent, 0-4 in his L4 Home Starts against a team with a Losing Record and 0-5 the L5 Home Starts by Odorizzi with 4 Days of Rest. So although he is pitching well of late and has got his Pitch Count down, the numbers this year reveal a Pitcher who has had his moments but like much of the Tampa Bay Pitching Staff, has suffered from the lack of Run Support.

Team, Total and Umpire Trends
Probably the most interesting numbers from Covers.com when handicapping this game is are the Trends for Wednesday's scheduled Home Plate Umpire, Rob Drake. The Home team is 4-0 in the L5 Drake games behind the dish and 5-0 the L5 Wednesday games umpired by Drake. And the Under is 4-0 the L4 Royals games with Drake umpiring, 4-1 the L5 with Drake behind Home Plate, 4-1-1 the L6 Wednesday games involving Tam Bay with Drake as Umpire and the Under is 33-16 -3 the L52 Drake games behind Home Plate (67.3%). So with an Indoor setting and two teams who have trouble scoring Runs in the middle of the Summer, the Under is my MLB pick with the first look at Volquez and the red-hot Odorizzi going.

The Royals are just 16-35 in their L35 Road games, 5-11 their L11 on the Road against a team with a Losing Record, 11-30 their L41 vs a RHP Starter and 1-4 in their L5 played on AstroTurf (Tropicana Field). Kansas City is also 1-6 in its L7 against the AL East, 0-4 in the L4 starts by Volquez vs. the AL East, 1-4 in his L5 on the Road but 24-11 in the L35 Starts by Volquez with 4 Days of Rest. The Rays are 4-0 their L4 against a RHP Starter, 4-1 their L5 on AstroTurf, 8-24 in their L32 against a RHP Starter and 50-24 in the L74 games against a team with Road Winning Percentage under .400. And some Totals Trends: The Under is 5-1 the L6 Kansas City games, 4-1 the L5 overall heading into Tuesday's night's Game 2, 4-1 the L5 against the AL East while the Over is 9-2 the L11 Royals Road games against a team with a Losing Record. The Under is also 18-7-1 the L26 Rays Home games against a team with a Losing Record, 4-0 in the L4 Volquez Starts on AstroTurf and 9-3-1 the L13 Tampa Bay Home games at Tropicana Field, aka “The Juice Box.” And the Under is 18-8-1 the L27 Rays games against a Starter with a WHIP above 1.30 (Volquez 1.41), 7-2 in the L9 Rays games overall and 5-2-1 the L8 Game 3's of a series but the Over is 9-3-1 the L13 meetings between these two teams.

The biggest handicapping things to look at here are Home Plate Umpire Drake and his Under and Home team frequencies, the fact that Rays Starter Odorizzi is coming in on a 14.2 IP scoreless streak—seemingly good for the Under combined with the Rays lack of Run Production—and the fact the Royals have been completely dominant against the Rays lately, going 21-5 against Tampa Bay over the L26 meetings (80.8%) and simply making a side bet in this scheduling spot too much of a conflicting thing.

PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: Rays 3 Royals 2
Free MLB Pick: Under 7½ -118
Best Line Offered: at Heritage
MLB RECORD SEASON TO DATE: 20-22-2

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