MLB Odds: Lean Royals Behind Ventura And Under At Mariners

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, April 30, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

Possible playoff preview in Seattle this weekend? It's possible when the Royals and Mariners face off. It looks like a pitching mismatch in Royal's favor in Game 2, in spite of what MLB Odds suggest.

What You Need To Know
The Seattle Mariners were the choice of many to not just win the AL West Division last season but also the first pennant in team history. But the team flopped to a 76-86 record, which cost Manager Lloyd McClendon his job as well as some in the front office. Do you realize the Mariners have the longest postseason drought in baseball? They haven't reached the playoffs since winning a record 116 games in 2001 but losing in five to the Yankees in the ALCS. I'm not ready to proclaim this a playoff team yet as it hangs around .500 but the Mariners did enter the weekend off four straight series wins: at the Yankees, at the Indians, at the Angels and home to the Astros.

The team made news this week as well with CEO Howard Lincoln stepping down. It was perhaps overdue for that. In addition to not making the playoffs in 15 years under Lincoln, the team has had nine managers and four general managers since 2002. Minority owner John Stanton takes over as CEO. The team also announced that Nintendo is going to sell most of its majority stake to the other 17 current members of the Mariners ownership group, First Avenue Entertainment. It can only help to have the majority of ownership all be local instead of based in Japan. Local owners feel the pain when the team struggles. That spurs spending and improvement.

As for the Royals, they entered the weekend off an ugly three-game sweep at the LA Angels, getting outscored 19-7. Kansas City is in the bottom third of baseball in runs with guys like Kendrys Morales, Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain all hitting below .230. Gordon really looks like he's pressing after getting a big extension this offseason after nearly leaving town. He has struck out a whopping 28 times entering Friday, by far the most on the team.


Probable Pitchers
Kansas City starts hard-throwing but inconsistent right-hander Yordano Ventura (2-0, 2.53) here. The 24-year-old has as all the talent in the world but can lose control sometimes. He hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in any of his four starts in 2016 but also has 14 walks in 23 innings compared to 15 hits allowed (just one homer) and 21 strikeouts. Ventura went a season-high seven innings last Sunday against Baltimore and allowed one run and three hits while striking out four and walking two.  Ventura retired 19 of the final 21 batters he faced.

"His stuff is more consistent," Royals manager Ned Yost said to of Ventura's strong start to this season. "It's not different. It's more consistent. He's throwing more pitches in the zone which makes him very effective."

Ventura pitched once vs. the Mariners last year, Sept. 23 in Kansas City, and allowed three runs and six hits over six innings in a no-decision. Seattle's Robinson Cano is 1-for-7 career off him with three strikeouts. Nelson Cruz is 2-for-9 with  a homer and three RBIs. Ketel Marte is 3-for-3 with two RBIs. Seth Smith is 2-for-6 with a double and triple. The Royals are 6-2 on MLB odds in Ventura's past eight road starts.

It's lefty Wade Miley, acquired from Boston this offseason, for the M's. That trade hasn't worked out thus far for Seattle as Miley is 1-2 with an ugly 7.04 ERA. Last time out, he allowed four runs and six hits in a season-high 7.1 innings at the Angels, striking out three and walking two. Miley actually got the win and allowed one run and three hits in the last 6 1/3 before leaving after 98 pitches. Miley has given up 32 hits in 23 innings and batters are hitting .344 off him. He did start slow for Boston last year too before largely getting better.

Miley beat Kansas City twice in 2015 while with the Red Sox, allowing one run in 13 1/3 innings. Salvador Perez hits him well, going 5-for-6 with a homer and three RBIs. Mike Moustakas is 2-for-9 with a homer. Morales is 3-for-6. Escobar is 2-for-11. Gordon is 2-for-7. Kansas City is 5-1 on MLB picks in its past six road games against lefties.

Tonight's Free MLB Picks are the Royals and the 'under.' Kansas City is 11-1 in its past 12 vs. southpaws overall. The Royals are 5-0 in Ventura's past five Saturday starts. The Mariners are 1-5 in their past six on Saturday. The 'under' is 7-3-1 in Ventura's past 11 with five days of rest. 

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Free MLB Pick:  Royals -102 & Under 7½ -102
Best Line Offered:  at Bookmaker & Pinnacle

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