Despite Fulmer Going For The Tigers, ‘Over’ Is The MLB Pick vs. Royals

Friday, June 17, 2016 5:39 PM GMT

Michael Fulmer is on one of the greatest rookie pitching runs ever for the Tigers, but a hot Detroit offense vs. a shaky Yordano Ventura of the Royals makes ‘over’ the MLB pick.

MLB Record: 42-36-2, +8.57
While the rookie visiting pitcher is on one of the best pitching runs ever, we feel his team’s offense and a shaky mound opponent makes the ‘over’ the play Friday night when Michael Fulmer and the Detroit Tigers (34-32, 17-19 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Yordano Ventura and the Kansas City Royals (35-31, 22-8 home) in the second game of a four-game series from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The posted total at Heritage Sports is 8 for this contest with the current MLB odds on the ‘over’ set at -105.

 

Emphatic Detroit Win to Open Series
The Tigers are one of the hottest teams in the league offensively and that continued in the series opener with an emphatic 10-4 rout that silenced the Kansas City home crowd. That marked the third time in the last four games that Detroit scored at least nine runs as the Tigers are now only 1½ games behind the first place Cleveland Indians while third in the American League Central.

Those two teams are split by the defending World Series Champion Royals in second, as last night’s loss dropped them out of a first place tie with the Tribe to one-half game back, with the gap between them and the Tigers cut to one game. The Royals had forged that tie for first by being the winning MLB picks in all three games of a head-to-head series with the Indians to begin this week.

 

Ventura is Key to the ‘over’
We will get to the amazing exploits of Fulmer, but the Kansas City starter Ventura is the bigger key to this ‘over’. Do not be fooled by the fact that the Royals have won all five starts Ventura has made at home this season as they won those games in spite of him and not because of him, given his 4.55 ERA at Kauffman Stadium. But where things really get dicey is when we delve into the peripherals that show Ventura being one of the worst starters in baseball!

In fact, that can been seen even before looking at those peripherals based on his 4.93 ERA. But we do not care so much about that as we do his poor ratio of 6.66 strikeouts vs. 4.44 walks per nine innings, with that walk rate being the fourth worst in the Major Leagues among qualified starters. Ventura has also allowed a fairly high hard-contact rate of 30.2 percent and a fairly low soft-contact rate of 18.5 percent, so his .275 BABIP allowed could be expected to rise.

When you shake all of that out, it yields a poor 5.24 xFIP that also ranks fourth worst in the m majors among qualified pitchers. Now he must deal with a Detroit offense that is batting .275 and averaging 5.04 runs per game vs. right-handed pitchers for the season, and we do not expect the results to be pretty.

 

Arrieta Part II?
Fulmer could be on his way to a Rookie of the Year Award as he is 7-1 with a 2.52 ERA, but that is not the biggest story surrounding him these days as he has now gone four consecutive starts without giving up a single run while allowing three hits or less and working at least six innings on all four outings! That makes him the second pitcher since 1900 to accomplish such a stretch with the other one being Jake Arrieta last year.

And you could even take things one step further with Fulmer as in his start immediately preceding this four-game stretch, he allowed one run on a solo homer and four hits in seven innings with 11 strikeouts vs. one walk. So it goes without saying that the entire premise behind this selection is the Tigers staying hot offensively vs. sabremetrically one of the worst starters in the league.

Thus, Fulmer may not need to allow much for this games to go ‘over’, and he does have a less-than-stellar 3.87 xFIP that suggests that this shutout streak should not last much longer.

 

An ‘over’ Head-to-Head Series
Finally, the slugfest last night was nothing new for these teams as the ‘over’ is now 9-2 in the last 11 head-to-head meetings overall. The ‘over’ is also 8-2-1 in the Royals’ last 11 home games and 20-8-2 in Ventura’s last 30 starts inside the American League Central, as well as 20-8-1 in the Tigers’ last 29 road games vs. teams with winning records.

Look for the Tigers to get to Ventura enough for those trends to continue for at least one more game, so despite the prowess of Fulmer go ‘over’ when Detroit visits Kansas City for the second game of the series on Friday.

 

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Free MLB Pick: Tigers, Royals ‘over’ 8 -105
Best Line Offered: Tigers -126 at TheGreek, Royals ‘over’ 8 -105 at 5Dimes