MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Royals vs. Athletics: Kansas City Has Value as Road Dog (Saturday, June 12)
Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jackson Kowar.
- Oakland and Kansas City continue their four-game series on Saturday at the Coliseum.
- The Royals are +138 underdogs and start their former top prospect for just the second time in his career.
- Kevin Davis explains below why he thinks Jackson Rowar will improve upon his debut and fuel a Kansas City victory.
Royals vs. Athletics Odds
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The Oakland Athletics are in first place in the AL West with a 37-27 record. Currently, the A’s are on track to win 94 games. However, with Oakland there is a catch (no pun intended).
The Athletics have a run differential of only +12, which means that they only win each game by an average of .19 runs. Currently Oakland has a Pythagorean record of 33-31, meaning that they are basically a .500 level team.
Visiting Oakland this weekend are the Kansas City Royals. Entering the season, Kansas City was expected to be a bottom feeder, but they have played decently in the first third of the season. The Royals have a 30-31 record, a handful of decent starting pitchers and a decent starting lineup.
For Saturday’s matinee, both teams are relying on rookie starting pitchers: James Kaprielian for the A’s and Jackson Kowar for the Royals. In Kowar’s first start he pitched for less than an inning and did terribly.
The question for Saturday is if Kowar can bounce back from his last start.
Royals Need Improvement From Former Top Prospect
What makes Saturday’s game hard to predict is the fact that the Royals are relying on rookie starting pitcher Jackson Kowar. In his MLB debut earlier this week against an LA Angels team missing Mike Trout, he pitched for less than an inning and allowed four earned runs, three hits and two walks. Obviously if Kowar pitches that poorly, Kansas City will lose, but there is little data to use to project Kowar’s performance.
Before being called up this week from Triple-A, the former first-round draft pick had six Triple-A starts. In those starts with the Omaha Storm Chasers, Kowar had a 5-0 record with a 0.85 ERA. Before making his debut, Kowar was rated as the Royals’ best prospect.
While some starters making their MLB debut are only called up because of necessity, it was clear that the Royals were promoting Kowar because of his ability rather than just necessity. Going forward Kowar should perform decently for the remainder of the season.
Backing up Kowar is a decent Royals lineup. With the average MLB team scoring 4.39 runs per game this season, Kansas City’s lineup is averaging 4.33. With players having good seasons such as 2B/OF Whit Merrifield, OF Andrew Benintendi, DH Carlos Santana and C Salvador Perez, the Royals have a lineup that should help them as underdogs in many games this season. Particularly if OF Jorge Soler reverts to his 2020 form.
Athletics Have Just Been Average At The Plate
Opposing Jackson Kowar and the Royals is another rookie starting pitcher in James Kaprielian for the Oakland Athletics. In five starts Kaprielian has a 2-1 record with a 3.08 ERA. However, Kaprielian also has a 4.93 xFIP. One of the reasons why Oakland is favored has to do with Kaprielian’s low ERA, but he is likely to regress to the mean as the season goes on.
Backing up Kaprielian is an A’s lineup that is averaging only 4.3 runs per game. Outside of 1B Matt Olson and OF Mark Canha, none of the A’s hitters are having exceptional seasons. 3B Matt Chapman, who in the past has been a reliable player, only has a .201 batting average, five home runs and a 85 wRC+ over 63 games.
Both the Royals and the Athletics are evenly matched for Saturday’s game. They both have decent lineups and unreliable rookie starting pitchers.
As a large underdog I am attracted to the Royals because I believe that the A’s odds are inflated based on their record. I like Kansas City at +138, and I would bet them up to +125
Pick: Kansas City Royals Moneyline +138 | Would bet up to +125.