Well, my most recent Free MLB pick was nothing short of a disaster. The Giants steamrolled the Phillies on Friday night behind an offensive explosion from a team that ranks 28th in runs scored and also behind a stellar effort from lefty Ty Blach. Blach entered this game with terrible numbers to lefties and with the Phillies’ rostering plenty of powerful, right-handed bats this seemed like a logical choice. That said, the variance in baseball is massive and this is one of those times when the numbers simply didn’t work out. We have a fresh week ahead of us and let’s get it started on the right note!
Season Record: 3-5 Units: -2.29 units
Houston Astros vs. Kansas City Royals
MY PICK: OVER 9.5 (-125) *Risking 1.25 units to win 1 unit*
The white-hot Houston Astros, winners of ten consecutive games, will travel to Kansas City tonight to open up a series with the hometown Royals. Looking at tonight’s pitching matchup, I see a couple of right-handed pitchers who have struggled immensely this season, and both have struggled against right-handed bats. This is important because both projected lineups have more right handed bats than left-handed bats at the time of this writing.
I will start with Astros right-handed Mike Fiers. Fiers has been inexplicably bad to right-handed hitters this season to the tune of a 10.01 FIP, 5.23 Hr/9 and a 39.7% hard contact rate so far this season. Of course, these numbers are due to regress positively as displayed by his 5.32 xFIP to righties, but boy has he struggled against same-handed hitting this season. Besides, Fiers hasn’t been anything special against left-handed hitters this season either as evidenced by his 4.95 FIP and 1.69 HR/9 against lefties this season. For full disclosure, the Royals have been one of the league’s worst offenses this season, ranking 29th in runs scored against right-handed pitching. However, they have scored 16 runs over their last three games (5.33/game) and face a pitcher who is allowing plenty of hard contact and home runs in the early going this season.
The Astros are already a lethal offense and that should scare the daylights out of Royals fans as the struggling Ian Kennedy takes the bump for the home side tonight. While he has been worse to right-handed hitters this season, Kennedy has been terrible overall. He will enter play tonight sporting a 5.12 ERA, 5.44 FIP, 4.43 BB/9 and a 1.77 HR/9 against on the season. The home run issues shouldn’t be surprising in the least as Kennedy has allowed 39% hard contact to both sides of the plate and 47% fly ball rates to both sides of the plate. Simply put, hard hit fly balls equals home runs. Don’t look now but Houston leads the MLB in home runs with 90 on the season while their 312 runs scored rank first in the AL and second in all of baseball next to the Nationals. This is simply not a get-right matchup in the least for Kennedy against an Astros offense that is the most feared group of sluggers the American League has to offer at the moment.
Add it all up and I see plenty of runs being scored tonight in Kansas City. Neither starter has displayed any sort of consistent run prevention this season and while Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City is not built for home runs, but the power alleys are huge and the double/triple threat is high tonight. Take the OVER 9.5 and enjoy the offense tonight.