Astros vs. Royals (6/15/18)
Time: 8:15 PM ET
Venue: Kauffman Stadium
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Moneyline: Houston (-220)/ Kansas City (+190)
By handicapper Bryan B
No team is hotter right now than the Houston Astros, winners in eight straight games. On the flip side, no team is struggling more than the Kansas City Royals who’ve lost nine of their last ten decisions. The Royals look to end a three-game losing streak on their home turf Friday night in Kansas City, Missouri. It’ll be a monumental task, but the Royals have nothing to lose except the game of course. Your resident meteorologist expects abundant sunshine and balmy temperatures tomorrow evening at Kauffman Stadium. Indeed, it looks like it’ll be a great night for baseball.
Houston: we have no problem
In the words of the great Big Ern McCracken, Houston’s “on a gravy train with biscuit wheels.” The reigning World Series Champions are rounding into form, and that should strike fear in the rest of the League. A.J. Hinch’s squad has won eight straight games, outscoring opponents 57-31 over that span. Houston’s prolific offense is led by 2017 American League MVP Jose Altuve (.338 AVG, 5 HR, 35 RBI & .388 OBP) and first baseman Yuli Gurriel (.302 AVG, 2 HR, 28 RBI & .322 OBP). In the last seven games, Altuve’s average is .387 (12/31) with two doubles, a homer, and six RBI. Gurriel’s on fire as well, hitting .500 (12/24) with four doubles, a homer and 7 RBI in his last five contests. The ‘Stros boast a +142 run differential, which is the best in the Majors thus far by a substantial margin. Not to mention, their pitching staff has allowed the fewest runs in the League (217).
Kansas City’s not so royal right now
It’s tough times in Kansas City, Missouri right now. At least that’s the case for the baseball team, which has been an abysmal 1-9 in their last ten games. The Royals have been outscored 45-18 during their stretch of futility, with second baseman Whit Merrifield appearing to be the lone bright spot in the lineup. He’s 6 for 11 (.545) in his last three games, with three extra-base hits. At home this year, Merrifield’s batting .305 with two doubles, one home run, and nine RBI. As a team, the Royals own the second-worst record in all of baseball: 22-46 (.324). Kauffman Stadium has shown to be no sort of home-field advantage thus far, as the Royals have posted a 10-23 (.303) home record. Kansas City’s scored 253 runs (3rd worst in MLB) while allowing 374 runs this season (Last in MLB). Their -121 run differential is the worst in all of Major League Baseball.
Toeing the rubber for the Houston Astros will be Charlie Morton (7-1, 2.82 ERA & 1.12 WHIP). Morton’s .875 winning percentage is third-best in the American League. However, the veteran has struggled in the month of June going 0-1 in two starts with a 7.00 ERA and 1.89 WHIP. At the beginning of the year, he was sizzling like the steakhouse he was named after. Maybe a road start will get him back on track because he’s gone 2-0 with a 2.98 ERA and 1.25 WHIP away from home this season.
The Royals will send Jakob Junas (5-6, 4.05 ERA & 1.19 WHIP) to the mound Friday night. At home, Junas’s ERA (4.19) and WHIP (1.23) are very similar to his overall numbers. However, the sophomore dealer has hit a bit of a rough patch lately. He’s lost three straight decisions while posting a 5.93 ERA and 1.54 WHIP. It’s not getting any easier with the hottest team in the League coming to town Friday night. Historically, the Astros have walloped Junas. Overall, he’s posted an 11.25 ERA and 3.44 WHIP against the World Series Champions.
This game is the most lopsided matchup available on the MLB card today. Vegas has set the opening line at -220, essentially saying the Astros have a 69% chance to win this game straight up. According to my calculations, the Astros have an 80% chance to take down the Royals tonight night. This equates to an 11% edge on the money line. Houston is the hottest team in baseball right now, and the reigning World Series Champions. To the contrary, Kansas City is amidst the biggest rut in the League. All signs, statistics, and instincts point towards more smooth sailing for the surging ‘Stros. Take Houston to win their ninth straight. To get the best line on this game check out Intertops who offer new bettors a free $100 if you deposit $100!