The 2015 season has gotten off to a tremendous start for the Kansas City Royals. They’re the best baseball pick in the American League going into Thursday’s matchup with the Chicago White Sox.
Jason's 2015 moneyline record as of Apr. 22: 5-5, minus-0.49 units
Don’t be ashamed to jump on the Kansas City Royals bandwagon. There’s still plenty of room, although it’s filling up fast. We got an early seat two weeks ago when we added the Royals to our MLB picks in a tough matchup against the Los Angeles Angels; lo and behold, Kansas City won 4-2 to cash in as +120 road dogs on the moneyline. The Biz Cliz is in the hiz.
The Royals magnanimously gave back some of their earnings Wednesday night in a 3-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins (+136 away), but that still leaves our heroes 6.61 units to the good on a record of 11-4. Next up are the Chicago White Sox (6-8, minus-1.84 units) in Thursday’s opener of a four-game set at New Comiskey. Let’s see, who’s starting for the White Sox… uh-oh.
Did we mention we’re also on the Chris Sale Bandwagon? Pitchers don’t get much better than Sale, and he came through for us in his season debut against the Twins, allowing just one run in six innings as Chicago (–161 at home) won 6-2. Sale put up another six strong innings in his next start, leading the White Sox (+103 away) on a 12-3 cakewalk over the Detroit Tigers. That would be the same Tigers who are tied at 11-4 with Kansas City for the AL Central lead.
At least Sale hasn’t pitched into the seventh inning yet. He’s coming off a broken foot that cost him all of spring training, so if the Royals can hold down the fort, maybe they can have some success against the White Sox bullpen, which ranks No. 16 in the majors with a collective 3.40 ERA. And Chicago used its top reliever thus far, Zach Duke (2.51 FIP), in Wednesday’s 6-0 shutout of the Cleveland Indians (–118 away). Duke threw 23 pitches in his one inning of work.
The Body Shop
On the blue side, we have Yordano Ventura due up for the Royals on Thursday (8:10 p.m. ET). The Dominican fireballer started 30 games for Kansas City as a rookie last year, posting a respectable 3.60 FIP and scratching out 1.48 units in earnings on a team record of 18-12. Ventura looked pretty good in winning his first two starts this year, but he got tagged for all five runs in last week’s 5-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics (+116 away).
Ventura’s still a work in progress, but if you’re willing to look past his shortcomings, the Royals have the best bullpen in the majors right now, allowing just three earned runs (!) after 46.1 innings. One problem, though: All-Star closer Greg Holland (2.32 FIP) is on the 15-day DL with a strained pec. Wade Davis (1.22 FIP) is doing just fine in that role, however, allowing one hit and zero runs over seven innings thus far. He’ll be available for Thursday’s game.
So you kinda got stuck with Adam Eaton as one of your extra outfielders? Now’s your chance to get something useful out of him. Eaton is 4-of-11 lifetime against Ventura with a pair of doubles and just one strikeout. That’s good for a .364 batting average and a .879 OPS. Granted, Eaton is off to a slow start this year with his .500 OPS, but he cranked out two hits against Cleveland on Wednesday, and did the same to the Tribe on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, as much as we like what the Royals have done so far this year, we’re going to have to go with the mighty Sale at some of the least punitive MLB odds he’ll ever see at home.
Free MLB Pick: Take the White Sox at Bookmaker