The Cardinals were shut out by Chris Young and that dominant Kansas City bullpen in the series opener last night. Who will take game two this evening? Let's examine the MLB odds.
The MLB odds are tight, but for now the Royals are favored at most of the top sportsbooks we've checked over. They're listed at approximately -125, which means the Cardinals can be found at right around +115 to earn the victory.
With two solid pitchers in Edinson Volquez and John Lackey taking the bump, it's really no surprise to see a low total of seven runs on the board.
Kansas City Royals (Volquez)
Don't look now but the Royals have the best record in all of baseball, as they're currently 27-14 on the season. They've won four in a row heading into tonight's game, which includes yesterday's 5-0 victory against St. Louis. Chris Young pitched six solid innings and the Royals' excellent bullpen shut up shop en route to the victory.
After Young impressed on the mound, it's Volquez's turn to try and quiet St. Louis. The 31-year-old right-hander has enjoyed a fine start to his 2015 season, going 3-3 with a 2.74 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. He's had a couple shaky outings here and there, but for the most part he's been as reliable as Kansas City could have wanted. Six days ago he pitched seven scoreless innings in a win over the Yankees, allowing just three hits while striking out five and walking none.
Volquez has pitched very well at home thus far this season, recording a 2.03 ERA over five starts spanning 31 innings. That bodes well ahead of this evening's tough matchup with a pesky St. Louis team, one that Volquez is very familiar with. Last season he recorded a 3.16 ERA over five matchups against the Cardinals, so he knows how to find success against these guys.
St. Louis Cardinals (Lackey)
The Cardinals have lost two in a row, thus falling to 27-15 on the season, which is how the Royals were able to take over as the team with the best record in baseball. St. Louis didn't get a great outing out of righty Lance Lynn last night and the bats went cold against Young, so the offense will be hoping to kick it up a notch against another tough opponent in Volquez.
As for St. Louis, they'll turn to trustworthy veteran John Lackey, who's 2-2 with a 2.96 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Since a reasonably rough start to his season, Lackey has been excellent, surrendering two or fewer earned runs in four consecutive starts. It hasn't mattered if he's been pitching at home or on the road, as he's been equally as effective regardless of the venue. That means Lackey should be in for another producting outing in pitcher-friendly Kauffman Stadium.
Of course, Lackey will be hoping to get more run support than what the Cardinals were able to offer up yesterday. The offense hasn't been there over the last few days, as St. Louis was unable to notch a run in either of their last two losses.
We saw pitching win out in the series opener, at least when it comes to the Royals, and we expect more of the same this evening.
Good pitching cancels out good hitting, so while Kansas City and St. Louis have been able to get the job done at the plate and are two of the most disciplined hitting teams in the majors, we think Volquez and Lackey will do their thing again tonight.
Get ready for another great matchup between two of the best teams in baseball. We expect both starters to be on their game tonight, so we feel good about adding the UNDER to our collection of MLB picks for the day.
Free MLB Pick: UNDER 7 at Pinnacle