MLB Picks: Rangers' Rookie Pitcher Gives Edge to Volquez & the Royals

Doug Upstone

Friday, June 5, 2015 12:39 PM GMT

Despite being the defending American League champions, the majority of sportsbooks had the Royals win total for the season around .500. Here are our MLB picks for tonight's Rangers-Royals.

One of the teams which were thought to be worse than Kansas City was Texas, who lost ace starter Yu Darvish before the season and MLB baseball handicappers were wondering who was going the makeup for all those quality starts, let alone win games for the Rangers.

As we head into the first weekend of June, both these AL squads have been exceptional versus the MLB odds and have are among the finest teams to back for sports picks in 2015. Well, something has to give because they both cannot win, so who has the edge in the series lid-lifter?

 

Rangers on their High Horse
Despite a myriad of injuries, Texas (28-26, +10.9 units) is 12-3 since May 20th playing outstanding baseball and on the short list of teams on a daily basis for MLB picks. As mentioned in a previous article at Sportsbookreview, when covering spring training in Arizona, the Rangers had sticks and Prince Fielder has spear-headed an offense which has taken off, batting .358, with an OBP over .400, with 10 homers and 40 rbi’s. Missing Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton is not a positive development, but they are managing to survive.

One aspect not to lose sight of Texas is far and away the best choice for MLB pick on the road, having a 17-11 record good for an amazing +14.3 units.

 

Kansas City’s Offense Goes in Deep Freeze
When the Royals offense was averaging 4.8 to 5.0 runs a game this season, most assumed it was because this group of players had reached a new found maturity and its core players were in the prime of their careers. While true, there was also a sense of disbelief because there was nothing in many of these individuals’ backgrounds that supported scoring runs at this pace.

The Royals have scored 2.3 RPG in dropping seven of nine and for the most part the team it in a collective slump since in four of defeats; they have had five or fewer hits. Will Kansas City (30-21, +8.4) bust loose, most likely. However, this team at 4.5 runs per game scored seems more in line with their abilities.

 

Pitching Matchup – Gonzalez vs. Volquez
If you are unfamiliar with Chi Chi Gonzalez you are not in a select group. The Rangers 23-year old right-hander had a very strong debut with Texas last Saturday, lasting 5 2/3 innings, not allowing a run, giving up two hits. Gonzalez did walk five, no doubt being cautious with major league hitters. Gonzalez is not your typical front line prospect these days, not having an over-powering fastball, but he three, one that sinks, one he cuts and one that has movement when throwing at the letters. He owns a nice repeatable delivery and scouts believe his slider and change will only improve.

There was some question coming into the season if Edinson Volquez (4-3) could take up the slack for departed James Shields. To date Volquez has with a sharp 2.95 ERA and a strong WHIP of 1.08. Kansas City is 7-3 in his starts and the righty has low to mid-90’s heater which has good late movement. Volquez is not afraid to pitch inside and he has two above average secondary pitches in a curve and circle-changeup. He’s taken to his new surrounding with a 4-1 record and 2.19 ERA at Kauffman Stadium.

 

Odds and Outcome
Kansas City opened as -155 home favorites against the betting odds with a total of Ov8 and Wagerweb.ag had more favorable numbers at last look. The teams split four games at Texas earlier, but the Royals are 5-1 at home versus the Rangers at home the past two seasons and each total has finished UNDER the number.

At this price Texas has shown they deserve consideration as an underdog but I’m just not comfortable with a rookie pitcher making first start on the road and Volquez has been on his game throwing at home. In addition, Kansas City is 24-12 on Friday’s the past two seasons which says the vast majority of the time they start a weekend series with a W and I think they will here.

MLB Free Pick – Kansas City wins at Wagerweb