Royals vs. Guardians Picks, Predictions, Odds for Monday, July 24
Dustin Satloff/Getty Images. Pictured: Bobby Witt Jr.
- I have the Guardians only projected at -135, so I think you're getting a decent edge on the Royals
- Both offenses are in the bottom four against left-handed pitching, so I would make Kansas City closer to +145.
- The Payoff Pitch podcast MLB experts break down their favorite picks from the day's slate every Monday, Tuesday and Friday, including each analyst's favorite underdog on the slate, and they've got two more to recommend today.
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Royals vs. Guardians, 7:10 p.m. ET
Ryan Yarbrough vs. Logan Allen
B.J. Cunningham: Here's the deal: Ryan Yarbrough has not been good this season. However, when you split his numbers from his time in the bullpen — he did make seven appearances there — versus his time as a starter, he's slightly better as a starter. He has a 4.80 xFIP as a starter and a 6.50 xFIP as a reliever.
Yarbrough, over his career, has been an elite pitcher at generating soft contact. He's consistently been in the 90th percentile in average exit velocity allowed and hard-hit rate allowed, and this year is no different.
What's really working for him in this matchup is that the Guardians are just terrible against left-handed pitching. They're bottom five in wOBA and wRC+ against lefties. They have the lowest hard-hit rate in baseball against lefties. Not to mention, against Yarbrough's arsenal of sinker, cutter, curveball and changeup, the Guardians have a -11 run value against the left-handed version of those pitches.
The Royals will be going against Logan Allen, who is a negative regression candidate. He has a 3.20 ERA and a 4.20 xERA. Allen has been a little too reliant on his fastball. He throws it 46% of the time, and opponents have a 3.50 wOBA against it, while the Stuff+ on that pitch is barely above 80. He does have a good sweeper, but his changeup is well below average. I don't see him sustaining a 3.20 ERA with one pitch over a long period of time.
I get it, the Royals are so bad. However, they do hit lefties a little better than righties. They are dead last against righties, and 22nd against lefties. I have the Guardians only projected at -135, so I think you're getting a decent edge on the Royals. I believe the best price is +167.
Sean Zerillo: I'm with B.J. on the Royals here. I projected this line at +145.
B.J. said all the points that I would make. Yarbrough has been better as a starter than as a reliever this year. He had a 4.40 xERA in his past couple of seasons with the Rays, but fell off a little bit at the start of this year. It seems as if he's coming back into form and getting back to that 4.40 type level. He has a 4.80 xFIP as a starter thus far, and he's still rounding into form.
Logan Allen has a 4.30 xERA, so if Yarbrough is getting back to that 4.40 level, there's little difference between these two starting pitchers. Both offenses are in the bottom four against left-handed pitching, so I would make Kansas City closer to +145.
I like them in both halves. They are +155 for the first five innings, and +160 for the game.