The June swoon is over and I am officially on a roll! Seven of my last nine picks have hit and my full-season record sits at 19-16-1 (+3.3u) at the season’s halfway point. I’ve discovered something of a process that I have been sticking with over this stretch (underdog money line, run total, strikeout total), and I will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Red Sox vs Royals ML
The Royals’ season is in a full-on tailspin. Losers of seven straight and eight out of their last ten, Kansas City’s offense has been truly inept since their torrid April. They have the fifth-lowest team ISO since May 1st and just yesterday called up two minor leaguers who slotted into the fifth and sixth spots in their order. That is not the sign of a healthy lineup.
Despite their struggles, I love their value in this matchup. Their bats have been better in Boston, scoring five and six runs off Garrett Richards and Nick Pivetta, respectively, and get a crack at Martín Pérez tonight. That plus Mike Minor being on the hill gives me more confidence than their line would indicate.
Pick: ROYALS (+140 DraftKings, +138 FanDuel)
Astros O/U 5.5 Runs
Part of me wanted to bring this wager around to the full-game run total and include the Orioles offense. They scored 13 runs yesterday, 12 of which came after José Urquidy left the game with shoulder discomfort in the second inning. The Astros bullpen is certainly stretched thin, but they have Cristian Javier available to take the ball right when Luis García is done. That is a dominant tandem that could wind up going all nine innings.
Pick: OVER 5.5 Runs (-109 DK, -110 FD)
Chad Kuhl O/U 3.5 Strikeouts
Possibly the lowest strikeout total I’ve played all year, I don’t expect Kuhl to reach this number. This game will be played at Coors Field and the Rockies still knock the cover off the ball at home. The Astros are the only team with a lower K% at home than the Rockies and the Blue Jays are the only team with a greater OPS. The Coors Effect is real even with such a dismal offense on the road and a general lack of talent on this team.
Moreover, Kuhl has made a pitch-mix adjustment over his last handful of starts that has caused his strikeouts to plummet. He has increased the usage of both his four-seam fastball and sinker since June 1st while throwing fewer sliders and curveballs. The result has been a 4.2 K/9 over his last four starts, three of which he completed six innings.
Pick: UNDER 3.5 Ks (+120 DK, +110 FD)
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)