Kansas City lost a series opener to Boston Friday night, but this handicapper believes that only sets the Royals up for a play on Saturday.
Red Sox-Royals Saturday Betting Odds
As of early Saturday AM the best price we could find on Kansas City and Edinson Volquez was the -120 offered at BetOnline, while Boston and Rick Porcello could be found getting +114 at BookMaker. And most books were listing the total on tonight's game at eight runs.
Boston grabbed Game 1 of this series Friday night 7-3, winning as a -105 “favorite” on the betting line. The Sox rapped out 16 hits Friday, while getting another quality start from rookie Eduardo Rodriguez.
Still, the Royals have won eight of their last 11 games, and at 38-26 lead the AL Central by 2.5 games over second-place Minnesota.
Boston, meanwhile, at 30-39 still sits in last place in the AL East, nine games behind division-leading Tampa Bay.
This is the first series between these teams this season. Last year the Red Sox took six of seven games from the eventual American League champs.
On the injury front Sox OF Dustin Pedroia missed Friday's game with a sore knee, and his status is uncertain for Saturday.
Volquez (6-4, 3.10), by our tough standards, is 7/13 on quality starts this season, but because of a short leash only one for his last four. Last time out he held Milwaukee to two runs through five innings, and just before that he held Minnesota to one run through seven frames. On the season Volquez has allowed fewer hits, 63, than innings pitched, 78; Kansas City is 9-4 in Volquez' starts (7-1 in his last eight), with the totals going 5-6.
This will be the first time Volquez has started against Boston since 2013, when as a Padre he held the Sox to one run through six innings of a 2-1 San Diego loss.
Porcello (4-7, 5.29) is just 5/13 on quality starts this year, and one for his last five. Last time out he gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings against Atlanta, and over his last five starts he's been tagged for 24 runs through 31 innings. On the season Porcello has allowed more hits, 87, including 11 dingers, than innings pitched, 82; Boston is 6-7 in Porcello's starts, with the OVERS going 7-6.
Last year, pitching for Detroit, Porcello started four times against Kansas City, giving up nine runs through 24 innings; the Tigers split those four games, with the UNDERS going 3-1.
If Saturdays game comes down to the bullpens KC owns an advantage; Royals relievers lead the Majors with a collective 1.95 ERA, with 20 saves in 28 chances, while the Sox pen ranks 22nd in ERA at 3.86, with 15 saves in 24 chances.
Saturday's Batting Splits
Boston ranks a respectable sixth in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .328 team OBP, while KC ranks 13th against righties with a .319 OBP.
Saturday's Betting Trends
Kansas City is 28-15 this season against right-handed starters, while Boston is 22-28 vs. righties.
Sox-Royals Saturday Free Picks
Kansas City fell Friday night, but we expect a bounce-back performance Saturday. Also, with a little help from that Boston bullpen tonight's game should play OVER its total.