New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals Preview and Pick – Andy Pettitte vs. John Bale

New York Yankees (4-5) -155, o/u 9 at Kansas City Royals (6-2), 8:10 pm Eastern Thursday
by Zman of

The Kansas City Royals look to continue their good play during the early going of this season when they shoot for a sweep of a three-game series with the New York Yankees Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Baseball books list New York as -155 road chalk for Thursday’s game, with an over/under of 9 .

Kansas City beat the Yanks Tuesday 5-2 and then, thanks to eight great innings from starter Zack Greinke, shut out the Bombers 4-0 Wednesday. So the Royals, who have won three straight games, sit atop the American League’s Central Division, a game ahead of the second-place Chicago White Sox, while the Yankees, losers of two in a row, are tied for third place in the AL East, three games behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles.

After getting blanked Wednesday, the supposedly powerful New York lineup has tallied a total of just 25 runs so far this season, the lowest amount in the AL.

The Yankees won the season series with KC last year nine games to one, with the o/u going 5-5 in those 10 games, which averaged 11.4 total runs.

This season, New York is 0-2 on the road, after going 42-39 OTR last year. The Royals are 2-0 at home this year, after going 35-46 at Kauffman Stadium last year.

Andy Pettitte is slated to hit the hill for the Yanks Thursday against fellow lefty John Bale for Kansas City.

In his only start thus far this season, Pettitte allowed three ER and 10 baserunners (hits + walks) in five IP of a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay last Saturday. Last year, Pettitte made one start vs. KC, allowing two ER and nine baserunners in 6 1/3 innings of work in an 11-5 Yanks win.

On the other side of this pitching match-up, Bale, in his first start since 2003, allowed four ER and 11 baserunners in 6 1/3 IP in a 4-3 loss to Minnesota last Friday.

New York owns a .301 team OBP this season, which ranks 27th in the majors, and is averaging just 2.8 runs per game.

KC owns a .319 team OBP, which ranks 22nd, and is averaging 4.0 RPG.

The Yankees bullpen has allowed seven ER and 22 baserunners in its last 21 IP.

The Royals pen has given up just one ER and eight baserunners in its last 13 innings of work.

On the injury front, New York SS Derek Jeter will miss his third straight game dealing with a sore thigh. And IB Jason Giambi is listed as day-to-day with a groin injury.

The o/u is 1-8 in Yankees games this season, which are averaging 7.0 total runs per, while the totals are 2-6 in KC games, which are averaging 6.3 runs.

And games played at Kauffman Stadium last year averaged 9.3 total runs.

Zman’s Pick: The Royals are playing good ball. The Yanks are not. We feel that the Royals have great value today as a live dog!