Johnny Cueto makes his 2nd start for KC tonight, looking for his first victory with his new team. He's a big favorite over Detroit, but this handicapper is playing this game on an alternative line.
Royals-Tigers Wednesday Odds
As of early Wednesday morning the best line we could find on Kansas City with newcomer Johnny Cueto was the -160 offered at Pinnacle, while Detroit with rookie lefty Matt Boyd was getting +153 at BetOnline. And most of our MLB odds board was listing a total on tonight's game of eight runs, with a few 8.5's out there.
Kansas City took the opener of this series Monday night 5-1, as Danny Duffy out-pitched Justin Verlander. The win was only the Royals second in their last six games, while the loss was Detroit's third in its last four games.
At 63-42 Kansas City now leads the Yankees by three games in the battle for the best record in the American League.
At 51-55 the Tigers, seemingly waving the white flag, still only sit four games off the pace in the race for the second American League wild-card spot.
The Royals lead this season series five games to three, with the UNDERS going 5-3.
Wednesday's Pitching Match-Up
Boyd (0-2, 14.85) will be making his third career ML start, and first for his new team, after coming over from Toronto in the David Price deal. Back on June 27, in his ML debut, he gave up four runs through 6 2/3 innings against Texas; five days later he got bombed for seven runs by Boston without recording an out. He then got sent back to the Minors.
On the whole Boyd has allowed 11 runs and 15 hits, including five homers, in less than seven innings of ML pitching. The Blue Jays lost both his starts.
However, Boyd may have a future, considering that in three seasons of Minor League ball he's 15-12 with a 2.48 ERA. And at the Triple-A level he's 3-1/2.63, with a 38/9 strikeouts/walks ratio through 41 innings.
Cueto (7-6, 2.70) will be making his second start for his new team, after holding Toronto to three runs through six innings last Friday, although KC lost that game 7-6. On the season, by our tough standards, Cueto is 12-for-20 on quality starts, but only one for his last four, allowing eight earned runs over his last 23 innings pitched – which for him is a bad stretch.
Cueto has limited foes to 93 hits through 131 innings this season, walked 29 and struck out 120. His teams are 11-9 in his starts, with the totals leaning UNDER by a 10-8-2 margin.
In his one career start against Detroit, which came back in June while still with Cincinnati, Cueto gave up three runs – all on one swing of the bat by Miguel Cabrera, who will not be in the Tigers lineup tonight - through 5 1/3 innings of an 8-4 Reds win.
Wednesday's Batting Splits
Kansas City ranks fourth in the Majors this season against left-handed pitching with a .271 team batting average, and 11th with a .321 team on-base percentage.
Detroit, meanwhile, ranks third against right-handed pitching with a .274 average and fifth with a .326 team OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Comerica Park are now 28-23 on the OVERS this season, averaging 9.3 runs per, fifth-most among all ML ballparks.
Detroit is now 11-16 since Miggy went on the DL with that strained groin, 15-10-2 on the totals, averaging 4.6 RPG. However, his absence is beginning to be felt a little more, considering the Tigers have been held to two runs or less in eight of their last 12 contests.
Royals-Tigers Wednesday Free Picks
We clicked with a pair of MLB picks on Monday night's game, with the Royals and the UNDER, and we're going to stick with KC today. And this looks like a good spot for a play on the run line, with the visiting team, throwing an ace. Also, considering Johnny and the Royals bullpen should be able to hold Detroit to two runs or so, we're thinking UNDER.