MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Brewers vs. Royals: Milwaukee & Kansas City Betting Preview (Tuesday, May 18)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images. Pictured: Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff.
- Milwaukee heads to Kansas City for a quick two-game interleague series on Tuesday night.
- The Brewers opened as -175 favorites thanks in large part to the strength of their starting pitcher, Brandon Woodruff.
- BJ Cunningham breaks down why he's only comfortable backing Milwaukee when Woodruff is in the game.
Brewers vs. Royals Odds
|Time||8:10 p.m. ET|
Milwaukee heads to Kansas City on Tuesday for the first of a two-game series with the Kansas City Royals.
The Brewers have been in a bit of a skid this month, going 5-11 and winning only one of the four series they have played. They’ll send ace Brandon Woodruff to the mound in hopes he can keep his stellar start going.
Kansas City started the season hotter than most people expected, but the club has also gone through a bad run with a 3-13 so far this month. The Royals’ bats have gone really quiet over that time span, which will not bode well against one of the best starters in the National League. They’ll send Kris Bubic to the mound in hopes he can end the bad run.
The Brewers enter this game struggling offensively, ranking in the bottom 10 of baseball with a .294 wOBA and 83 wRC+. Most of the reason for that is because two of their best hitters — Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura — have been on the Injured List most of the season.
However, Milwaukee has had a lot of success against left-handed pitching, putting up a .325 wOBA and 104 wRC+, ranking in the top 10 of Major League Baseball. The Brewers have also been one of the best fastball hitting teams, with 14.6 weighted fastball runs, so they’ll have a good matchup against Bubic, who throws his fastball more than 50 percent of the time.
Kansas City Royals
Kansas City’s offense has been in a major slump over the past two weeks, hitting only for a .230 average and 85 wRC+. The Royals also scored the third fewest runs in baseball during that time span.
They’ll have a tough matchup against Woodruff, because they’ve been average versus right-handers and struggle versus fastballs and sinkers. The Royals are 23rd against fastballs, plus more than half of their lineup has a negative run value against sinkers, which are Woodruff’s are main pitches.
Starting Pitching Matchup
Brandon Woodruff vs. Kris Bubic
2021 Stats (via FanGraphs)
Brewers Starting Pitcher
Brandon Woodruff, RHP
2021 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Woodruff has been fantastic this season, posting a 2.69 xFIP and a 2.42 xERA. He’s been a strikeout machine with a 11.13 K/9 rate. He does his best work with his fastball, which sits on average above 96 mph and can top out at 100 miles per hour.
Woodruff’s heater has kept hitters at bay, allowing a total of only six hits in 263 pitches and producing a 32.9% whiff-rate. In fact, he’s already racked up 38 strikeouts on his fastball this season.
Woodruff’s fastball is terrific, but his slider and curveball are actually his best pitches. Both have been quite literally un-hittable so far this season, as he has allowed only five hits on his slider and zero on his curveball.
The Royals have struggled versus fastballs, sinkers, sliders and curveballs, so Woodruff should have a fantastic matchup.
Royals Starting Pitcher
Kris Bubic, LHP
2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Bubic has solely pitched out of the bullpen this season, as this will be his first start of the season. He was in the Royals’ rotation in 2020, making 10 starts and pitching 50 innings, but it didn’t go so well.
Last season, Bubic posted an xERA of 5.34 and and xFIP of 4.48. He is a soft-tossing lefty who only has a three-pitch arsenal, relying on his fastball more than 50 percent of the time. That led opponents to producing a 38.3% hard-hit rate against him and a .372 wOBA against his fastball.
His changeup wasn’t much better, allowing a .344 xwOBA to opponents, but has made improvements to it this season, as opposing hitters .176 average against it. However, this is a terrible matchup for Bubic against a lineup that hits lefties, fastballs and changeups well.
Milwaukee has one of the best bullpens in baseball and will have the advantage in this matchup The Brewers haven’t lived up to expectations through the first month and a half of the season, posting a 4.26 xFIP. However, after a rest day on Monday, they will have everyone available to pitch.
Kansas City’s bullpen has been somewhat of a disaster this season, posting a 4.50 ERA and 4.52 xFIP. The reason for that is because they have one of lowest K/9 rates and highest BB/9 rates in baseball this season.
The Royals also have the 10th-highest hard contact percentage, so if Bubic only goes a few innings it could be a long night for Kansas City.
Despite their offensive woes, the Brewers have a fantastic matchup against Bubic considering he’s a lefty and a fastball heavy pitcher. Woodruff has been one of the best pitchers in baseball and should have no trouble against a struggling Royals lineup.
Therefore, I am going to back Woodruff and the Brewers’ First Five Inning spread of -0.5 at -124 odds via DraftKings as my top pick.
Pick: Brewers First Five Innings -0.5 (-124)