Kansas City Royals (+127) at Detroit Tigers (-137, 7 o/u)
After the Kansas City Royals (58-60, 22-39 Away) took the first of their three-game series in Detroit against the Tigers (63-55, 33-22 Home) last night, the two will meet up for the second game at Comerica Park tonight (7:10 PM Eastern)
The Royals have been playing with heavy hearts as of late due to the loss of their beloved Rally Mantis; but, in a stunning turn of events, a new praying mantis appeared on top of their dugout last night.
If that’s not enough information on this game, then I guess we can look into the matchup a little further.
Kansas City, who sits ten games below the Indians in the AL Central, will send left-hander Danny Duffy (9-1, 2.82 ERA) to the bump. Duffy is pitching his way into Cy Young consideration; he’s recorded a win in each of his last three starts, and the Royals have won each of his last nine trips to the mound. His last recorded loss, and only one of the season, came on June 6 against the Baltimore Orioles.
However, he has not fared that well against the Tigers in his career: he’s 4-6 with a 3.43 ERA in 16 outings against Detroit, four of which have come this year. (Two were from the pen.)
The Royals, who have won five of their last six and seven of ten, will need a dominant Duffy tonight if they want to continue their recent success. To combat Duffy (and the new Rally Mantis), the Tigers will send big righty Justin Verlander (12-6, 3.42 ERA) to the mound. Like Duffy, Verlander has also been very hot lately, allowing no more than two runs in each of his last eight starts.
His recent success has seen him move up the pitching leaderboards: he ranks second in the AL in strikeouts (170), and fourth in opponent batting average (.216).
Verlander will look to stop the bleeding for the Tigers tonight. The team has lost six of its last eight and are 2.5 games back of the final Wild Card spot in the AL and five back of Cleveland for the division lead. They’ll have to get to Duffy without their biggest bat; Miguel Cabrera strained his left bicep last night and is listed as day-to-day.
With the win last night, Kansas City improved to 7-4 against Detroit this season, and 5-2 over their last seven. Although Duffy’s numbers are not as impressive against the Tigers, they also aren’t bad, by any means. Meanwhile, the Royals have hit Verlander well: four players in their lineup average .300 or better against him, including Salvador Perez, who’s hitting a scorching .469 in 49 at bats.
Don’t forget about the Rally Mantis either.
For the O/U, all of the betting trends suggest the under: four of their last five meetings have stayed under; the total has stayed under in 12 of Kansas City’s last 16 games; and four of Detroit’s last five have been unders. So, obviously, I like the over! Why? Both lineups seem to enjoy looking out at the pitcher they’ll be facing.
Pick: Kansas City (+127), Over (7)
Photo credit: Kevin Ward (Flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].