Last Place Twins To Upset World Champion Royals Is The MLB Pick

Monday, May 23, 2016 4:00 PM GMT

The Minnesota Twins now have the worst record in the Major Leagues while the Kansas City Royals are the reigning World Series Champions, but Minnesota is the upset MLB pick Monday.

 

The team with the worst record in the Major Leagues could hold good home underdog value vs. the defending champions Monday night when Ian Kennedy and the World Champion Kansas City Royals (22-21, 9-14 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Ricky Nolasco and the last place Minnesota Twins (11-32, 7-13 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Target Field in Minneapolis, MN at 8:10 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - North.

The posted money line at Bovada has Minnesota as a home underdog for this contest at current MLB odds of +113.

 

Royals Finally over .500
The Royals did not have a good start in defense of their championship this year due to their starting pitching, which frankly was suspect even when the Royals went to the last two World Series, not pitching well enough to give them leads to get to the great Kansas City bullpen. However, they have finally gone over the .500 mark by one game thanks to winning five of their last seven games even after losing their series finale to the White Sox on Sunday.

The Twins meanwhile have severely underachieved after finishing second to the Royals in the American League Central last season with an 83-79 record, as their current 11-32 mark is not only the worst in the American League but it is now the worst in all of baseball with the Atlanta Braves of the National League now at 12-31 as MLB picks! We still feel that the Twins have more upside than Atlanta going forward however.


 

Kennedy Never the Same Since Career Year
Kennedy is a new face in the Kansas City rotation this year and while he has managed to go 4-3 with a 3.24 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, he has not been as good in reality as those numbers suggest as he is a pitcher that does not throw hard and counts on precision location, making him quite hittable when he is a bit off.

Well, that command has not always been there with Kennedy walking 3.06 batters per nine innings, and he has benefitted from allowing an abnormally low .258 BABIP. Once that BABIP normalizes with those batted balls finding more holes, the ERA should start regressing towards his weak 4.15 FIP and 4.28 xFIP. That is reason enough not to trust Kennedy in the road favorite role that he is commanding here.

It is now hard to believe that Kennedy was a Cy Young Award candidate as recently as his career year of 2011, when he somehow finished a sensational 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA while with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but that is quickly becoming one of the best outlying seasons of all time for any pitcher with Kennedy coming nowhere close to that kind of success since then.

 

Great Start by Nolasco vs. Royals
Now Nolasco is nothing more than a serviceable innings-eater for the Twins and he is 1-2 with five no-decisions in eight starts with a high 4.74 ERA that does not jive with his good 1.24 WHIP. The reason for the fine WHIP is Nolasco is not a pitcher that will beat himself, as he has issued just nine walks all year vs. 43 strikeouts in 49.1 innings.

And let us not forget that perhaps the best start this season for Nolasco came vs. these Royals back on April 10th, when he limited Kansas City to one run on just three hits in seven innings with five strikeouts and not a single walk on the road at Kauffman Stadium. That marks the fourth time in seven career starts vs. the Royals all since 2014 that Nolasco has held them to one run or less!

Furthermore, Nolasco might also catch a break here if Alex Gordon is out of the Kansas City lineup after spraining his wrist in a collision with third baseman Mike Moustakas yesterday while tracking a foul ball.

 

Champs are Struggling on the Road
Finally, another reason why the Royals had such a hard time getting to .500 has been their play on the road, where they are 9-14 for the season including a dismal 5-13 in their last 18 games away from home. This includes going 4-11 on their last 15 road games vs. right-handed starters, while the Twins are actually a nice 36-15 in their last 51 home games vs. teams with a road winning percentage of less than .400.

We simply do not feel Kennedy is worthy of road favoritism for the Royals, and we also do not think that the Twins are quite as bad as their record, so back Minnesota as a home underdog hosting Kansas City on Monday.

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Free MLB Pick:  Twins +113
Best Line Offered:  at Bovada
MLB Record: 28-22-1, +9.80