MLB Picks: Royals vs. Orioles for Game 2

Doug Upstone

Saturday, April 26, 2014 1:29 PM GMT

Saturday, Apr. 26, 2014 1:29 PM GMT

In the American League, we have two teams trying to discover who they are. In the last couple of seasons, both have improved, yet have not been able to make the leap and sustain against the betting odds.

Each team has had their own issues the first month of the season and would like nothing better to iron out the problems and start a winning streak.

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Orioles Need Offense to Create Camden Yards Advantage
Baltimore is just 4-5 at home and has been receiving terrific pitching in conceding just 3.4 runs a game. However, the Orioles offense has been about as scarce as an Indiana Pacers cover, in averaging 2.4 runs a game.

Despite playing in a hitter-friendly park, only Kansas City has average fewer home runs in their own yard. On the season, the O’s have only 16 totals home runs anywhere, with slugging 1B Chris Davis the biggest disappointment with only two.

The Orioles meager .263 on-base percentage is laughable considering some of the bats in the lineup and one has to wonder if outside of Matt Wieters and Nelson Cruz, are the rest of the players pressing or just lacking discipline.

A case could be made both ways and interpreted in whatever manner with Buck Showalter’s bunch last in baseball in fewest walks drawn by a home team.

As we have said in other articles here at SBR, it is only April, thus no time to panic, but for those making sports picks, it is hard to decipher if this is a trend or an aberration about Baltimore at home.

Take a Look at the Series Coverage for the Royals vs. Orioles!

Kansas City Pushing to get above the Fray
A glance at the MLB standings this morning finds the Royals one of three AL Central teams with a .500 record and Cleveland is in last place, but just needs a victory today to join in the fun.

After years of mediocrity, Kansas City won 86 times a year ago and they came into this season wanting to return to the postseason, which meant winning approximately 90 games.

To this point of the season, they have been lagging behind their goal, because of an offense which will not fire. Only Houston is scoring fewer runs in the American League with K.C. coming in a lackluster 3.7 a contest.

For those making MLB picks, Billy Butler and Salvador Perez are barely hitting above .200 and between they have one home run. The loss of centerfield Lorenzo Cain to injury has not helped after just a dozen contests and while Mike Moustakas leads the team with four home runs, his grossly inadequate .158 batting average also leads the team with the weakest average among regulars.

If Kansas City is going to win today and in the future, particular players whom manager Ned Yost was counting on have to step up.

 

Pitching Matchup for Saturday
Jeremy Guthrie (2-1, 4.68 ERA, 1.36 WHIP) returns to Baltimore for a second time having spent the early part of his career there. The right-hander has always been susceptible to leaving the ball up in the zone and has surrendered at least 23 home runs a season since becoming a regular starter in 2007 and has been taken yard five times in four starts this season. This is among the reasons MLB baseball handicappers seldom trust him.

Wei-Yin Chen (3-1, 4.91, 1.59) has been no mystery to opposing hitters this season, as they are carrying a .330 batting average against him. Of concern about Chen, his ERA was a full run higher in his last seven starts last year and this has spilled over into this season. His wins are misleading since his teammates have totaled 28 runs in those three victories.

 

Bullpen View
The Orioles relievers have been run of the mill with a 3.73 ERA, but what they have been most impressive at is preventing unnecessary base-runners, with just 25 walks allowed. Thus far Baltimore has converted seven of nine saves chances, helping their backers beat the MLB odds.

The Kansas City pen has been more impressive than their counterparts with a 3.34 ERA. While the Royals overall record in nothing to brag about, their starting pitchers have helped K.C. not to have to use their bullpen as often, leading to them having the fewest innings in the American League. The Royals pensters are only one of five teams in the AL with more K’s than innings pitched (66 vs 56.2) and they have only been taken deep once all season.

 

Head to Head Combat and Betting Odds
The Royals have won six of last 11 games at Camden Yards and the total has been 8-3 to the UNDER.

Sportsbooks released the Orioles as -140 on the money line and that dipped to -135. The total has also taken a dip, down from 9 to 8.5 and the Royals are 41-14 UNDER after two straight games with no home runs.

 

The Winner Is…..Baltimore
The Orioles cannot keep scoring so few runs at home and they have the perfect starting pitcher to allow them to take it over the fence in Guthrie. Baltimore grabs an early lead and hangs on to win to even the series.

MLB Free Picks: Baltimore wins

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