Wednesday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Royals vs. Astros: Capitalize on McCullers’ Strong Year for Houston (August 25)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images. Pictured: Lance McCullers.
- Kansas City and Houston close out their three-game series Wednesday on YouTube.
- Despite their disparity in records, the Royals are 4-2 against the Astros this season.
- Mike Ianniello explains below why he thinks Houston's pitching advantage will be too much for Kansas City to overcome.
Royals vs. Astros Odds
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Houston holds a pretty comfortable lead in the AL West standings but they have been sliding a bit in August. The Astros are 10-11 this month but were able to pick up a win against the Royals last night.
The Royals are well out of a playoff spot, but they haven’t given up on the season and had won four games in a row and seven of the last eight games prior to Tuesday.
These two teams will finish a three-game series Wednesday afternoon, and it will be the seventh game between these two teams in the last 10 days. Despite the lopsided records this year, Kansas City has taken four of the first six games between the two clubs.
Will Mediocre Royals Lineup Come Through?
At 33 years old, the former first-round pick Mike Minor (LHP) will be on the bump for Kansas City on Wednesday. It has been a rough two seasons, but he did just put together an All-Star season in 2019. This year, Minor has gone 8-11 with a 5.34 ERA.
Now his expected ERA has been a little better, sitting a full run lower at 4.35. He has put together seven quality starts, but he still ranks in the bottom half of the league in most categories. His .327 wOBA is the highest of his career.
Kansas City’s offense has had a rough go this year, ranking just 23rd in runs per game this season, 26th in wOBA and 25th in wRC+. The Royals do a really good job making contact though, with the third-lowest strikeout rate this season.
The Royals have been solid over the last two weeks, largely due to the red-hot bats of Whit Merrifield and Salvador Perez. Merrifield is batting .393 over the last two weeks and Perez has hit six dingers and tallied 12 RBIs.
McCullers is Having Career Year for Astros
It has been a great season for Lance McCullers Jr. (RHP) in his sixth year in Houston. Already an AL All-Star (2017) and World Series champion, McCullers has tied a career high in wins with a 10-4 record, and his current 3.21 ERA would be the lowest of his career.
In his 21 starts this year, McCullers has allowed just two runs or fewer in 15 of them. He has a 3.34 xERA, which would also be the lowest in his career, and he sits with career-bests in xBA and xwOBA as well. The calling card for McCullers is his dominant slider, allowing just a .137 xBA and .225 xwOBA against it this year.
The Houston Astros offense has been the best in the league in just about every metric this year. They lead the league in runs per game, batting average, wOBA and wRC+. They have the lowest strikeout rate in the league at just 19%.
The best offense in the league could get a big rejuvenation tomorrow. All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman is expected to be activated any day now after being out of the lineup since June 16. He has played just 59 games this year.
I expect this Houston offense to jump on Minor early on Wednesday afternoon after just seeing him. Houston faced Minor last Thursday and was able to tag him for seven hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings in a 6-3 Astros win.
The Royals have really struggled against right-handed pitcher’s this season, and Houston is the best offense in the league and could potentially get a boost of energy if Bregman is able to return.
In McCuller’s last 15 starts, the Astros have held the lead after five innings in 10 of those starts and should be motivated to lock up the series victory after dropping three games to Kansas City last week. I’ll play Houston First Five -0.5 at (-145) and would play it to -150.
Pick: Houston Astros -0.5 First Five Innings (-145) (Play to -150)
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