MLB Betting: Untrustworthy Starters In KC Beg for Over Wager

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 8:47 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jun. 20, 2017 8:47 PM UTC

Although it would appear that one of these pitchers is more qualified than the other, our MLB handicapper, Mark Lathrop, believes that only the total has value in this matchup between the Red Sox and Royals.

2017 MLB Record, 115-97-7, +8.56 Units, 3.40% ROI

Ian Kennedy gets his 7th start after coming back from the DL on Wednesday against Boston, and it wasn’t until his 6th start that he was worth a damn to the Royals. He had allowed 4 or more runs in 5 consecutive ball games leading up to his last start against the Angels. It’s a tough performance to gauge as Kennedy also pitched well against the Angles in April with an 8-inning shutout performance before hitting the DL. He also put up a near unrepeatable 0.67 BABIP in his last game. The jury is still out for this pitcher coming back from injury.

The huge red flag with Kennedy, of course, was his velocity in coming back from the DL. It was down 2 mph after his return and still hasn’t come back all of the way. The other is his increased walk rate, which is logically a byproduct of a pitcher trying to compensate for an injury and missing his spots or another mechanical issue. On the year, Kennedy is putting up a 4.16 K/9 rate and his K/9 rate is also lower this year at 7.61/9. Add this all up and you have a pitcher running a 5.36 FIP even after a very lucky .213 BABIP. His batting ball profile also shows a pitcher getting hit hard at a career worst 39.2% rate.  

The mechanical issue seems to rear its head after Kennedy gets a man on base and he pitches from the stretch. He is allowing only a .167 BAA with the bases empty, yet that balloons to a .288 BAA with men on base and a .308 BAA with men in scoring position. Because of the walks, Kennedy is pitching out of the stretch quite a bit – more than half of his innings pitched on the year.

Drew Pomeranz starts against Kennedy and runs into a terrible matchup for him with the Royals lefty-heavy lineup (Hosmer, Moss, Moustakas, Gordon). Pomeranz has allowed lefties to hit .373 against him this year, which wasn’t a problem for him in 2016. He started 2017 on the DL, so maybe the injury has caused this change. What I do see on pitch heat maps is that Pomeranz has done a good job against righties in 2017 pitching up and in and peppering the top of the zone with his fastball. However, against lefties his fastball is more center cut and belt high. Make sure to follow those links as a picture is better than a thousand words.

I don’t trust either pitcher in this matchup to shut down the opposing lineup for all of the reasons I’ve outlined. For this reason, I will be taking the Over of 9.5 runs currently found at +100 at Heritage as one of my Wednesday MLB picks.

Free MLB Pick: Over 9.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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