It was a walk in the park for Kansas City in the series opening win yesterday, but will they be able to get it done again tonight? Jason Vargas leads out the Royals as the MLB odds on favorites.
The Royals are firm -145 favorites at a lot of the top sportsbooks, with the Twins listed at roughly +135 to score an upset win. If you want to take more of a risk, you could decide to take Kansas City on the run-line (meaning they'd need to win by two or more runs), as that's trading at +145 right now.
The MLB odds total is currently listed at eight runs and we don't foresee that number changing much at all, if any, throughout the day.
Kansas City Royals (Vargas)
Picking up right where they left off from last season, the Royals have jumped out of the gates hot in 2015, going 10-3 through their first 13 games of the season. They've already won series against the likes of the Athletics, Angels and White Sox, and they're well on their way to adding another series win here against Minnesota.
Yesterday was no sweat for the Royals, who won 7-1 behind a great showing from Edinson Volquez. He gave up five hits and one run (with five strikeouts) over seven innings, with the Kansas City offense getting most of its production from Kendrys Morales, Salvador Parez and Paulo Orlando. The Royals scored seven runs on eight hits and then shut up shop behind Volquez and that MLB-best bullpen.
Lefty Jason Vargas now takes the mound for the Royals in hopes of making the series 2-0. He was tagged hard in his latest outing, allowing 10 hits and five runs (four earned) over just three innings in a 8-5 loss to this same Twins team. That came after a pretty decent debut, so we're curious to see which version of the left hander we're going to get this evening.
Minnesota Twins (Milone)
The Twins got five unspectacular innings out of Kyle Gibson yesterday and were unable to generate much offensive production at all against a locked in Volquez. Will they fare any better against Vargas?
We'll have to see, but they did knock around the southpaw pretty hard just last week. Thing is, Milone wasn't all that great either (allowing seven hits and three runs in 5.1 innings), and he's gotten beaten up badly by this Kansas City team in recent meetings. In two matchups in 2014, Milone surrendered 13 hits and 11 runs (nine earned) in just 6 and 2/3 innings.
Needless to say, the Royals will be fancying their chances of making life difficult on Milone, who has the talent but hasn't been able to replicate his best performances consistently. Offensively, Minnesota needs more from essentially everyone, as they're ranked in the bottom five in most of the major offensive categories, namely runs scored.
There's no question the Royals are the far better baseball team all around, and we expect them to prove that true again in game two of the series.
Vargas hasn't been too convincing, but he was at least solid in his debut and we think he can find that groove again versus a Minnesota offense that isn't really scaring anyone. The southpaw dominated the Twins in 2014, going 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA (and .204 batting average against) in four meetings, so that's another thing going in Kansas City's favor. We'll consider last week's letdown an aberration.
We also just don't trust Milone whatsoever. We know what he's capable of when he's in a groove, but he hasn't been able to find that on a consistent basis. So, with our MLB picks, we'll take a chance on Kansas City and pick them to win by at least two runs at home this evening.
MLB Pick: Kansas City Royals -1.5 (+150) at BookMaker