Royals vs. Rockies Odds, Picks, Predictions: Bet Colorado to Start Fast (May 14)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images. Pictured: Brendan Rodgers of the Colorado Rockies.
- The Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies resume their three-game regular season series on Saturday at 8:10 p.m. ET.
- Colorado is at risk of falling below .500 in the win-loss column with another defeat, but can German Marquez prevent that outcome from coming to fruition?
- Check out our MLB betting preview for Royals vs. Rockies, including updated odds, picks and predictions for Saturday evening's matchup.
Royals vs. Rockies Odds
|11.5 (-105 / -115)
|8:10 p.m. ET
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.
After scoring just three runs in their past two games, the Colorado Rockies exploded for 10 runs against the Royals on Friday night. The only problem is the Rockies gave up 14 runs, resulting in their fifth straight loss.
A subsequent loss would mean that Colorado will fall below .500 for the first time since Opening Day. I suspect the Rockies are well aware of those circumstances as they look to turn things around with their ace, Germán Márquez, on the mound. Kansas City will counter with Carlos Hernández, who'll make his first-ever appearance at Coors Field.
I'm always cautious about pitchers when they make their first trip to Colorado. I'll expand on that and explain why it could lead to a fast start for the Rockies on Saturday night.
Kansas City Royals
It's been a nightmare start for Hernández after last year's promising campaign where he went 6-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 11 starts and 24 appearances. This season, he's 0-2 with a 7.15 ERA and a 1.90 WHIP through five starts.
However, if you're a proponent of advanced analytics, you might've already expected this regression after he ended the year with a 4.91 SIERA. He's struggled with his command, as evidenced by a 4.31 BB/9 ratio in 2021. This season it's been even worse as that number is up to 4.76 BB/9.
To understand why he's struggled, we first need to examine his pitch arsenal and usage. His repertoire includes a four-seam fastball (47.8%), a curveball (25.8%), a slider (16.20%), and a splitter (9.9%).
Interestingly, his fastball (95.2 mph) is two miles per hour slower than last year. However, if Hernández is sacrificing speed for command, the results are not in his favor.
According to Baseball Savant, opposing batters are hitting .516 against his four-seamer with a .583 wOBA. For comparison, hitters averaged just .216 against his fastball in 2021.
Since Hernández throws his fastball 47.8% of the time, it bears culpability for his struggles this season. Moreover, his putaway rate with the fastball is down from 18.6% to 3.7%.
As a result, if I were a member of the Royals coaching staff, I'd be looking for answers to why his velocity is down two mph — particularly this early in the year.
In 2021, David Lesky of Inside the Crown wrote an interesting piece about Hernández hitting a wall after pitching 110 innings between the majors and the minors. Lesky even remarked that Hernández threw two fastballs ranging between 90.8 and 91.8 mph in a September start.
Hernández not fully regaining his velocity after the offseason is worrisome, because at this point I don't think his secondary pitches are good enough to overcome his shortcomings.
Like Hernández, Márquez has also experienced his share of struggles this season. In six starts, the Rockies' ace is 0-3 with a 6.47 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP. He's indeed shown some regression after finishing 2021 with a 4.07 SIERA.
The biggest issue for Márquez at the moment is the long ball. His HR/9 ratio is up to 1.69 from 1.05 last year. However, he's issuing fewer walks (2.81 BB/9), and his GB/FB ratio is up from 1.96 to 2.15.
As a result, I suspect Márquez's problem is more location than command. He's throwing too many pitches inside the strike zone, leading to a higher contact rate.
According to FanGraphs, he threw 48.1% of his pitches inside the strike zone compared to 44.8% last season. That resulted in a zone-contact rate of 94%, which is an increase of 7.8%.
Throughout this season, Márquez has struggled with his four-seamer and his sinker. FanGraphs projects that his four-seamer is 6.9 runs below average while his sinker is 1.5 runs below average. However, he did show promise in his last start as his four-seamer was 0.3 runs below average — his best mark since Opening Day.
It's been a surprise to see Márquez struggle as much as he has, given how well he's performed throughout his career in Colorado. The right-hander has a 54-44 career mark with a 4.36 ERA. That's quite an accomplishment, especially when most of his games are at the hitter-friendly Coors Field.
His intangibles as a ground-ball pitcher help him cope with the thin air and altitude. That experience will be a first for his counterpart, Hernández, who has a 1.05 GB/FB ratio for his career.
Although the Rockies lost on Friday, scoring 10 runs was a step in the right direction. Colorado's numbers are heavily skewed when it plays at home, as only three teams have a better mark than its 11-6 record at home.
Thus, with Márquez finding some positives in his last start and the Rockies rediscovering their groove at the plate, they look well-positioned with momentum heading into Saturday's contest against Hernández.
Royals vs. Rockies Pick
If Hernández struggles with his fastball, he could be in for a short outing. The Rockies are 7.8 runs above average when facing a four-seamer — the seventh-best mark in the majors. In contrast, the Royals are 9.6 runs below average against a four-seamer which is 29th in the league.
As a result, I like Márquez to be able to build on some of the success of his last outing. Offensively, I'd expect the Rockies to look to start fast against Hernández.
According to our ActionLabs database, teams with at least five straight losses coming off a game where they scored double-digit runs are on a 6-0 run on the first-five run line in this spot.
After shopping around, I found that WynnBet has the best price available at -0.5/-120. I'll side with the home favorites for a half-unit.
Pick: Half-unit on Rockies F5 RL -0.5 (-120)