MLB Picks: Expect A Runfest in Royals-Yankees Tilt Wednesday Night

Jay Pryce

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2:26 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 24, 2017 2:26 PM UTC

The Yankees host the Royals for the third of a four-game series in the Bronx Wednesday night (7:05 p.m. ET). The first two games stayed under the total. Will the bats break out tonight? We think so.

Kansas City Royals (19-26)

The worst offense in MLB may be turning the corner. The Royals, averaging a big-league low 3.40 runs per game, are crossing the plate 4.73 times per game since May 8. What happened? Hitting coach Dale Sveum and skipper Ned Yost moved Alcides Escobar to the top of the lineup, despite hitting .183 at the time of the move. The change, reminiscent of the 2014 and 2015 postseason runs, has helped pull the lineup out of some historic lows. Escobar has crossed the plate in seven of 15 games during this stretch.

Despite the offensive turnaround, the bats may not be strong enough to outslug the Yankees. Good pitching will lead the way. Jason Hammel gets the nod for Yost. Hammel is 1-5 with a 6.20 ERA through eight starts. For the right-hander to be effective, he needs his slider to be sharp. Last year, batters hit just .191 against the pitch. This season, opponents are hitting .228. The problem for Hammel is his other stuff, which sets up his out pitch, is junk. So far, batters are hitting better than .300 against every other pitch, including his two-seam and four-seam fastballs, curve and change according to Pitchf/x.

Hammel hasn’t pitched particularly well for K.C., but isn’t receiving much run support. The team is 1-7 SU in his eight outings, scoring 2.4 runs to 5.9 for opponents. Six of the seven losses have fallen to the run line.

In 13 years of MLB service with six different teams, clubs are just 5-21 SU when Hammel starts are +160 or higher in the betting market. The average score is 5.2 to 3.2. Backing Hammel has lost 43 percent of one’s investment at +179 average odds.

 New York Yankees (26-17)

The Yankees have fielded some special teams over the last 15 years, including a World Series win and 10 postseason appearances. Only once (2013) did they own a better winning percentage through their first 43 games than this crew does.

On the hill for manager Joe Girardi is Luis Severino. The young right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.13 WHIP through eight starts. Severino has been a pleasant surprise this season, but the good form is wilting. He is 0-1 in his last four starts, allowing 10 earned runs on 23 hits in 20 innings. Only one effort was a quality start.

Severino may just have to go through the motions tonight. The Yankees, crossing the plate an AL-best 5.5 times per game, are punishing poor rotations in the Bronx. In seven home contests against starters averaging a 4.00 ERA or higher, New York is 6-1 SU. It is scoring 8.3 runs on 9.6 hits per game. Girardi’s lineup has mashed 17 home runs in this scenario.

 Final Analysis

Each starting pitcher will struggle to find the strike zone tonight. OVER 8.5 is the pick with the Royals bats showing just enough life of late to compliment the hot-hitting Pinstripers.


Free MLB Pick: Over 8.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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