Rob Senior previews the Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees on July 22. He provides his expert prediction as well as best bets.
Date & Time: Saturday, July 22, 1:05 P.M. Eastern
Moneyline: Kansas City Royals (+215) vs. New York Yankees (-255)
Runline: Royals +1.5 (+100)/Yankees -1.5 (-120)
Total: Over 8 (-105)/Under 8 (-115)
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
Weather: 81 degrees, 10% chance of rain
Royals vs. Yankees: Preview and Picks
The Bronx Bombers, with their postseason hopes just about on life support, host the hapless Kansas City Royals in the Bronx this weekend.
Ace pitcher Gerrit Cole takes the mound Saturday against the last-place Royals – can he turn things around?
Kansas City Royals Preview
The Royals’ record is 28-70. If not for the Oakland Athletics they’d be the worst team in all of Major League Baseball. So let’s start with the things they do well because it won’t take long.
For some reason, the team does hit a little better in day games than at night, so the early start aids Kansas City a bit. Further, they are in the top five in stolen bases thanks largely to Bobby Witt Jr. (27 steals) and 3B Maikel Garcia (14).
And here comes the problems – they’re bottom-five in in most hitting categories. In order to take advantage of Witt’s speed, he has to be on base, which has been an issue lately with a .160 batting average over the past seven games. Gerrit Cole makes for a particularly tough challenge for a young hitter looking to break a slump.
Starting pitcher Brady Singer is trying his hardest to be the bright spot in Kansas City’s rotation. He beat the then-American League leading Rays last weekend and has gone six or more innings in four of his last five starts.
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New York Yankees Preview
The injuries to Judge and Donaldson aside, the Yankees’ offense has been borderline anemic especially by the Bombers’ lofty standards.
The power numbers are there, with the team tied for fifth in MLB at 134 home runs. However, a solid 25% of those are unavailable without Judge and Donaldson. Giancarlo Stanton is the next option to provide power, and he’s started to turn it on a bit with three long balls over the past week.
But NY’s real problem is simply creating offense. They’re 28th of 30teams in MLB with a .230 batting average, and the lofty home run numbers still can’t get them any higher than 19th in scoring – suggesting too many of those home runs come with no one on base.
They shouldn’t need a scoring outburst Saturday, however, with Gerrit Cole on the mound. Cole is 9-2 with a 2.78 ERA and would likely be the front-runner for the AL Cy Young Award thus far. He struck out 11 hitters in six innings, allowing no runs in a notoriously tough Coors Field his last start.
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Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees Prediction
This preview hasn’t provided many reasons to believe in either team – so don’t. The Yankees aren’t playing nearly well enough to be -275 over anyone right now. You also wouldn’t want to back the Royals against an ace like Cole.
So we look to the total – a day game after a night game, two of the American League’s lower-rated offenses, and one of the game’s best in Cole point to a low-scoring affair.
The wild card is Singer and his 5.70 ERA. He is limiting his walks this season and has allowed about one home run for every nine innings pitched. Kansas City needs a bright spot, and this 26-year-old righthander is a good place to start.
Prediction: Kansas City Royals/New York Yankees Under 8 runs (-120)