Royals vs. Orioles Game 3
By: Ron Patrick
Baltimore won as a -135 favorite on Saturday's board, and the game, like Friday's contest, stayed UNDER its total of 8.5 runs.
Kansas City has now been held to three runs or fewer in 12 games this season; it's lost all 12 of those games.
Orioles slugger Chris Davis missed Saturday's game with a strained oblique, and his status for Sunday is also uncertain.
So the teams complete this series with a rubber match Sunday afternoon (1:35 pm ET).
Sunday's Betting Line
In the early betting KC and James Shields were favored by -120 over the Os and Miguel Gonzalez, with a total of eight runs. The Royals could also be gotten at around +140 on the run line for Sunday's game.
Gonzalez (1-1, 5.40), by our tough standards, is 0-for-four on quality starts this season. But since a rough season debut against the Yankees he's been alright, giving up five ER over his last three starts. Ten days ago Gonzalez held Tampa scoreless through five innings, while last time out he gave up two ER in 5 2/3 innings against Toronto.
For the season Gonzalez has allowed 23 hits in 20 innings, with seven walks and 17 strikeouts.
Baltimore has split Gonzalez' four starts this year, and three of those games played OVER the totals.
Gonzalez started once against Kansas City last year, and got nicked for six runs on eight hits in less than five innings of a 7-1 Orioles loss.
Shields (2-2, 1.91) is three-for-five on quality starts this season. Two weeks ago he got hung with a loss against Minnesota, in which he allowed seven runs in less than six innings, but six of those runs were unearned. He then held Houston to one run in eight innings, with 12 strikeouts, then most recently held Cleveland to one ER through six innings, with nine strikeouts.
On the season Shields has allowed 26 hits in 33 innings, walked seven and whiffed 35.
But KC has lost three of Shields' five starts.
Shields last faced Baltimore back in October of 2012, when he was still with Tampa Bay; he threw a dandy, holding the O's to one run and two hits in nine innings, walking none and whiffing 15, but the Rays lost that game 1-0.
Sunday's Free Pick
We give Shields the edge in the pitching match-up, and that's enough to make KC our free MLB pick for Sunday's game.
Royals vs. Orioles Game 2
By: Ron Patrick
The Royals won Friday as -105 favorites, and the game stayed UNDER its total of eight.
The teams meet for Game 2 of this series Saturday night (7 pm ET).
On the injury front Baltimore OF Chris Davis tweaked an oblique Friday night, and is uncertain for Saturday.
Early Saturday morning most books were listing Baltimore and Wei-Yin Chen at around -135 over KC and Jeremy Guthrie, with an OVER/UNDER of nine runs. The O's could also be gotten at around +150 on the run line.
Chen (3-1, 4.91) is just one-for-four on quality starts this season. In his first two starts he gave up eight runs in 10 2/3 innings against Boston and the Yankees, then held Tampa to one run through 6 1/3 innings. Last time out, against the Red Sox, he gave up three runs in five innings.
On the season Chen has allowed 35 base-runners (hits + walks) in 22 innings. But Baltimore, with some nice run support, has won three of his four starts.
Chen started twice against KC last year, giving up five runs and 16 hits in 13 2/3 innings; the O's split those two games.
Guthrie (2-1, 4.68), a former Oriole, is also one-for-four on quality starts this year, because he's given up four runs three times. He threw a nice game against Tampa back on the 9th, but in two starts since then, against Houston and Cleveland, he's allowed eight runs and 16 hits in 12 1/3 innings. On the season he's permitted 34 base-runners in 25 innings.
And yet the Royals have won three of his four starts. Also, three of his four starts have gone OVER.
Guthrie started twice last year against the Orioles last year and held them to two ER through 12 innings; KC won both those games.
The Royals own a team OBP of .283 against left-handed pitching this season, while the O's OBP is .337 against righties.
Free Pick for
Guthrie was good against Baltimore last year, and he probably won't have to deal with Davis tonight. So we'll go with Kansas City, getting +127 at The Greek, for our free pick on Saturday's game.
Royals vs. Orioles Game 1
By: Ron Patrick
The Betting Lines
Early Friday morning KC and Yordano Ventura were favored by around -115 over Baltimore and Ubaldo Jimenez, with a total of 8.5 runs. But early action on the O's pushed this game to near a pick 'em.
Baltimore just took two of three games in Toronto, winning Thursday 11-4 to complete a 4-3 road trip.
At 11-10 the Orioles are in second place in the AL East, a game and a half out of first.
Kansas City just dropped three of four games in Cleveland, falling Thursday 5-1, and has lost four of its last five games. At 10-11 the Royals are in last place in the AL Central, although they're also only two games out of first.
Friday's Pitching Match-Up
Jimenez (0-3, 6.75) is 0-for-four on quality starts this season. He gave up four runs in six innings against Boston; then four runs in less than five innings against the Yankees; then five runs in five-plus innings against Toronto. Last time out Jimenez allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings against Boston. So on the season Jimenez has given up 16 ER and 40 baserunners (hits + walks) in 21 1/3 innings, and Baltimore has lost all four of his starts.
Not exactly the kind of start either he or the Orioles had hoped for.
Jimenez may have switched teams over the off-season, but he is very familiar with the Royals, and vice-verse. And he's had some success against them. Last year, pitching for Cleveland, Jimenez started five times against Kansas City, allowing nine ER and 23 hits in 28 2/3 innings. The Indians won four of those games.
Ventura (1-1, 2.65) is two-for-three on quality starts this year, although the Royals have only won one of his outings. He opened this season by holding Tampa scoreless on two hits through six innings, then held Houston to one ER and four hits through seven innings. But last time out Ventura gave up four runs in four innings, walking four, in an 8-3 KC loss to Minnesota.
For the season Ventura has allowed 12 hits, including just one homer, in 17 innings, with seven walks and 19 strikeouts.
This will be Ventura's first-ever start against Baltimore.
In the comparison of the bullpens KC ranks 10th with a 3.40 ERA and is six-for-nine on save conversions, while the Baltimore pen ranks 16th with a 3.76 ERA and is seven-for-nine on save chances.
At the Bat
If KC is going to contend for a playoff spot this year it needs better run production. At the moment the Royals rank 27th in scoring at 3.6 runs per game, dead last in homers with just nine and have been held to three or fewer runs in four of their last five games.
Baltimore ranks fifth in scoring at 4.9 RPG, although just 23rd in homers with 16. But they also rank in the top ten in team OBP and slugging percentage. So the O's have been getting the job done offensively without relying too much on the long ball.
KC took the season series from Baltimore last year four games to three. Just one of those games played OVER the totals.
The totals have leaned toward the UNDERS this season by a 6-1-1 margin in games played at Oriole Park.
Free Pick for Friday
Jimenez is off to a poor start, but he was good against KC last year. And the Royals are having trouble scoring runs. On the other side of this match-up Ventura has shown he can throw six good innings, and he might hold an advantage the first couple of times through a lineup that's unfamiliar with him. Meanwhile, the bullpens look to be about a wash. It's a tough call, but we'll go with Baltimore, at the -107 offered at Pinnacle, for our free pick on Friday's game.