Strong Bullpens Make For Reliable 'Under' MLB Pick in Royals vs. Yankees

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 11:10 AM GMT

Both Royals & Yankees appear to have a long climb ahead of them to return to the postseason this fall. Let's take a look at the MLB odds and cash in on this game!

Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees

What You Need To Know
As noted, this is nationally televised on ESPN so the various sportsbooks should offer live betting on the game. Although I'll be watching the NBA playoffs.

A big reason the Yankees and two-time American League champion Royals are scuffling this season is largely due to offense as they are two of the lowest-scoring clubs in the AL. To make matters worse for Kansas City, it lost one of its better hitters, third baseman Mike Moustakas, to the disabled list over the weekend due to a fractured left thumb. He could miss three weeks, which is actually relatively good news. It's not a major fracture. Moustakas is hitting .258 with 13 RBIs and a team-leading seven homers. Chelsor Cuthbert was recalled from Triple-A when Moustakas was placed on the DL and Cuthbert will get most of the time at third for now.

New York already has designated hitter Alex Rodriguez and pitcher CC Sabathia -- two of the most overpaid players in baseball -- on the DL. And it's possible that center fielder and leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury might have to join them there. Ellsbury injured his right hip on Friday and hasn't started since. He's hitting .260 with a homer and nine RBIs while also playing some pretty shaky defense. Aaron Hicks has been starting there in Ellsbury's spot.

The Yankees did get some positive news on Monday when fire-balling lefty closer Aroldis Chapman became eligible off his 30-game suspension for an offseason domestic incident. Chapman, who hits 100 mph on the gun more than anyone in baseball, gives New York a truly frightening trio alongside Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances. Chapman threw an inning Monday against the Royals and allowed a run on two hits, striking out two. Chapman's first four pitches were all either 100 or 101 mph. He replaces Miller as the closer. Teams are following Kansas City's lead in terms of shortening games to six innings and then turning it over to a dominant bullpen. That's largely why the Royals have won pennants each of the past two years and last season's Fall Classic.

Probable Pitchers
It's two pitchers who are rather similar in that they are big guys from the same country with a plus-fastball but also control problems and thus inconsistency. For the Royals, it's 24-year-old Dominican Yordano Ventura (2-2, 4.65). He's definitely an enigma. In his first four starts of the year, Ventura didn't allow more than two earned runs in any of them. But in his past two, he has lasted just four innings in each and allowed five earned runs in both while walking a combined 11. Ventura is first in the AL in walks allowed 925) but batters are hitting only .209 against him. The Royals are 13-3 on MLB odds in his past 16 starts vs. the AL East.

Ventura didn't face New York in 2015. Hicks is 2-for-8 career off him with a double, homer and three strikeouts. Mark Teixiera, who is really slumping and didn't start Tuesday due to neck spasms (so he may sit here), is 1-for-3 with a strikeout. Starlin Castro is 0-for-6. Ellsbury, if he plays (not likely), is 1-for-3.

For the Bombers, it's 27-year-old Dominican Michael Pineda (1-3, 5.73). New York had lost four of his outings in a row before Pineda held the Red Sox to two runs and eight hits over six innings on Friday at Yankee Stadium. He was touched up for a homer, the eighth allowed already by Pineda. Batters are hitting .307 against him this season. The Yankees are 1-4 on MLB picks in Pineda's past five starts after a quality start in most recent appearance.

Pineda faced the Royals twice last season and was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA. He gave up 16 hits and six runs over 12.0 innings, striking out nine and walking one. Moustakas actually hits him better than any Royals batter. Salvador Perez is 5-for-15 with a double off him. Eric Hosmer is 3-for-12 with a homer. Alex Gordon is 3-for-18 with five strikeouts. Lorenzo Cain is 1-for-9 with two RBIs. Go Royals and 'under' because of the good bullpens. Kansas City is 7-3 in Ventura's past 10 road starts vs. teams with a losing record. The Yankees have lost six straight in Game 3 of a series. The 'under' is 5-1 in Ventura's past six on four days of rest.

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Free MLB Pick: Under 7.5 -105
Best Line Offered: at Heritage