Red Sox Will End Royals’ 8-Game Winning Streak in Series Opener

david price

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, July 27, 2017 5:12 PM UTC

Thursday, Jul. 27, 2017 5:12 PM UTC

Good pitching matchup of southpaws on Friday night (7:10 ET) from Fenway Park as the red-hot Kansas City Royals and Boston Red Sox open a three-game series and potential playoff preview.

MLB Season Record: 27-19

Kansas City Royals At Boston Red Sox (-170)

It’s the opener of a three-game series Friday night (7:10 ET) as the streaking Royals make their only visit of the season to Beantown. Or will it be their only visit of the season? It’s quite possible these teams could meet in the postseason, either in the ALDS or wild-card game (or ALCS, I suppose).

I believe the Red Sox will win the AL East, and they are -180 MLB betting favorites at BetOnline, although they are battling the Yankees and Rays for that. Should the Yankees add a Sonny Gray or Yu Darvish, that could change my thinking about the AL East winner. Boston was in dire need of a third baseman but lost out on the White Sox’s Todd Frazier to the Yankees. Instead, the Sox promoted top prospect Rafael Devers earlier this week and traded for Giants utility man Eduardo Nunez, who will join the team Friday.

Devers homered Wednesday in Seattle for his first big-league hit. At 20 years and 275 days old, Devers became the youngest Red Sox player to hit a home run since Tony Conigliaro (20 years, 265 days) on Sept. 29, 1965. Boston ended a four-game skid with a 4-0 victory to close a six-game trip. Nunez is potential insurance for Devers but also has played shortstop and both corner outfield positions this year with San Francisco. He’s hitting .304 in 302 at-bats and .354 since the All-Star break. I’m guessing he starts somewhere Friday.

The Royals have won an MLB-high eight straight but are still just behind the first-place Indians in the AL Central, and I tend to think Cleveland wins the division. The Tribe are -450 favorites to do so. Kansas City (+400 for division) also made a deal earlier this week in landing pitchers Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter from San Diego. Kansas City might not be done.

Boston visited Kansas City from June 19-21 and lost two of three. Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. are each 5-for-12 off Royals pitching this season with a homer. Mookie Betts is just 2-for-13. Salvador Perez is 3-for-6 against Boston this year with a homer and four RBIs. Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Jorge Bonifacio also have homers.


Friday’s Probable Pitchers

It’s All-Star lefty Jason Vargas (12-4, 3.08) for Kansas City. Vargas has always been a solid pitcher in his 12-year career, but he was pitching above his head for much of the first half of the season. He entered July at 12-2 with a 2.22 ERA. This month, Vargas’ ERA is 9.95 in three starts, allowing 14 runs and 22 hits over 12.2 innings. He hasn’t lasted more than five innings yet. Vargas didn’t face Boston earlier this year. Nunez is 6-for-21 career off him with three extra-base hits and three RBIs.

Red Sox lefty David Price (5-3, 3.82) was rolling into last Saturday’s start at the Angels with five straight quality outings and only seven earned runs allowed over 33 innings. However, the Halos got six runs and seven hits in five innings against him. Price is 4-0 with a 2.14 ERA in his career vs. Kansas City. Perez is the only Royal with much success against him, going 5-for-14 with three homers. Hosmer is 2-for-16 and Moustakas 1-for-7.

Price is 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA at home this year, while Vargas appears to be regressing to the mean. He’s 2-3 with a 3.74 ERA (19 ER in 45.2 inning) in seven career starts vs. Boston. The Sox hit 20 points higher against left-handers than righties, so they are my MLB pick.

Update: Price headed to disabled list with renewed left elbow trouble ... so disregard this pick (in fact, probably lean Royals now). Brian Johnson is expected to be recalled by the Red Sox to start against Kansas City.

Free MLB Pick: Red Sox -170Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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