David Price of the Toronto Blue Jays needs to overcome his post-season demons, but if he does expect a fairly low scoring game vs. the Kansas City Royals in ALCS Game 6 Friday.
Look for the probable American League Cy Young runner-up to overcome his playoff demons while trying to help his team stave off elimination, keying a low scoring affair Friday night when southpaw David Price and those Toronto Blue Jays this time pay a visit to right-hander Yordano Ventura and the Kansas City Royals for Game 6 of the ALCS from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO at 8:05 ET on FOX Sports 1. Kansas City leads the best-of-seven series 3-2.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -123.
Series Favorites Still on the Brink
The Blue Jays were around -145 favorites to win this series before it began, but after the home teams won the first three games, the Royals were the first club to break serve and took a seemingly commanding 3-1 series lead with a 14-2 romp in Toronto in Game 4. To their credit though, the Blue Jays rebounded with an easy 7-1 win in Game 5, successfully staving off elimination on their first attempt and sending this series back here to Kansas City.
However, the Royals seem content with being the winning MLB picks once up in Canada as they now get two cracks to wrap this series up at home and advance to the World Series vs. the New York Mets on Tuesday night, with that series beginning here if the Royals can finish the Jays off. It bears mentioning however that Kansas City is a home underdog to Price here, although we have more interest in the total.
Is Price Finally Right?
There is a very good chance that Price will finish second in the American League Cy Young Award voting this year behind Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros despite splitting his time between two teams, as Toronto acquired Price from the Detroit Tigers at the trading deadline. Yet despite all of his regular season accomplishments, Price fell to 0-7 lifetime as a starter in the playoffs when he took the loss in Game 2 of this ALCS.
It did not look like it was going to be that way as Price appeared to be on his way to his first ever post-season win as a starter after tossing six scoreless innings and entering the seventh with a 3-0 lead (he did win one game in relief in the ALDS). However, a misplayed ball in the outfield changed the complexion of the entire game and the Royals went on to score five runs off of Price in that fateful seventh inning en route to a 6-3 win and a 2-0 series lead.
Much like Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, we simply feel Price is too good a pitcher for his playoff struggles to continue, as we are talking about a guy that finished 18-5 at his two stops combined this year with a cumulative 2.45 ERA and a great ratio of 225 strikeouts vs. 47 walks. And much like the “real” Kershaw stepped up with his Dodgers facing elimination vs. the Mets we expect Price to pitch as well as he did the first six innings of Game 2 throughout this game.
Ventura Improved Toward End of Season
But will doing so guarantee that there will be a Game 7 on Saturday? Well, maybe or maybe not. We admit that we are not terribly fond of the Kansas City starter Ventura, who was supposed to be the ace of the staff this year after James Shields walked away as a free agent, but while Yordano went 13-8 during the season, it was with a high 4.08 ERA and he often showed his immaturity by letting his emotions visibly get the best of him on the field.
To be fair, Ventura did pitch better at the end of the year and in fact he has now allowed three runs or less in seven straight starts including the playoffs. However, he has yet to record a Quality Start this post-season because he has yet to go six innings, with the closest being when he allowed three runs in 5.1 innings vs. Price in Game 2.
However, the Royals would probably take that again because remember that they may have the best bullpen in baseball, a bullpen that led the American League with a 2.72 ERA during the season, finishing second in the majors to only the Pittsburgh Pirates (2.67), and that bullpen ERA stands at 2.65 during the post-season with a pen full of flame-throwers.
Royals Tend to go ‘under’ at Home
Finally, the ‘under’ is now 22-9-3 in the Royals’ last 34 home games vs. teams with winning records, and that includes the ‘under’ going 3-1-1 in Ventura’s last five home starts vs. winning teams. The ‘under’ is also 5-2-2 in Ventura’s last nine home starts overall.
We expect Price to finally pitch like Price here with this being an elimination game for the Blue Jays, and when you combine that with the Royals’ ‘under’ home tendencies, we expect a low scoring game when Toronto visits Kansas City for Game 6 of the ALCS on Friday.
MLB Pick: Blue Jays, Royals ‘under’ 7½ (-123)