Kansas City is facing off agains the Houston Astros for the last game in a 4-game series Thursday afternoon. The Royals have actually kept this series closer than you would’ve thought, only barely losing the first two games before winning yesterday 7-4. Can the Astro’s bounce back and claim a 3-1 series win at home? Here is my complete prediction and breakdown.
Kansas Still Rebuilding
The Kansas City Royals currently find themselves 13.5 games out of the AL Wild Card spot with their 30-50 record. The Royals were able to take two out of three against Detroit over the holiday weekend, but that was their first series win since June 21.
They have been an okay, somewhat unpredictable, offensive team this season. They come in 18th on the season with a batting average of .240, scoring 4 runs per game (25th). Left fielder Andrew Benintendi has been the best bat in the lineup, racking up 92 hits at a .313 clip. Shortstop Bobby Witt, who give some hope to this struggling franchise has hit a team-high 12 home runs.
Taking the mound for this one is left-hander Kris Bubic. The 24-year-old is having a troubled season and his number reflect that. Coming into this game Bubic is posting a 1-5 record over 43 innings of work, resulting in a 7.06 ERA and 1.87 WHIP. His last start was in Detroit where he allowed 2 runs on 5 hits, walking 3 batters in 4.2 innings played. Bubic has thrown fewer than five innings in seven of his last eleven appearances. The Royals Bullpen is also one of the worst in league posting a 4.97 ERA (6.35 in their last 5 games) and allowing a 5.2 runs per game.
The Royals will need to outscore the Astros in this one if they want to win the series.
Frustrated Astros Bounce Back
The Astros are bound to be frustrated with the lost yesterday against the Royals. Starter Cristian Javier had his worst start in a long time only lasting 5 innings and allowing 5 runs on 4 hits. Despite this the Astros made it a game once again but left men on base several times. They will be keen to bounce back with a victory at home in this one and should come out with something to prove.
The Astros lineup is one of the best in baseball posting a league 3rd in homers on the season with 119. In their last 5 games the Astros are batting a combined .282, putting through just over 7 runs a game. Designated hitter Yordan Alvarez leads the way with 79 hits, including 25 home runs.
Taking the mounds for the Astros is veteran Justin Verlander, his original start was pushed back as Jake Odorizzi returned from the injured list. Verlander is having a CY Young caliber season posting a 10-3 record for a 2.03 ERA and 0.83 WHIP over 97.1 innings of work. He last started against the Mets where he went 8 innings for 2 hits and no runs.
Laying the Points
The Royals are already facing the hottest team in the majors, but now they also have to overcome a huge disadvantage in the pitching department. Verlander has been a shutdown pitcher throughout the season, allowing one or zero earned runs in 10 of his 15 starts. I am taking the Astros to play with a chip on their shoulder and win in dominate fashion.
Lay the points.
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