MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Royals vs. Yankees: New York’s Offense May Get to Duffy Early (Wednesday, June 23)

MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Royals vs. Yankees: New York’s Offense May Get to Duffy Early (Wednesday, June 23) article feature image
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Elsa/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Judge and DJ LeMahieu

  • The New York Yankees host the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night in the Bronx.
  • Danny Duffy returns from the IL to start for KC against Michael King for New York.
  • D.J. James breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.

Royals vs. Yankees Odds

Royals Odds +144
Yankees Odds -177
Over/Under 9.5
Time 7:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Wednesday afternoon and via DraftKings.

Danny Duffy has been sidelined since May 12 with a flexor strain, and he will be activated to face the underperforming New York Yankees lineup on Wednesday night. He faces Michael King, who has been serviceable for a decimated starting rotation.

Does Duffy have enough to go deep into the game or will the bullpen manage the bulk of this game, and does the Yankees’ lineup have enough to get to them either way?

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Royals Will Struggle To Subdue Yankees’ Bats

Since June 1, the Yankees essentially have five strong bats against southpaws, so Duffy will have to navigate his way through these spots of the lineup.

The Royals, however, have three strong bats in that same timeframe: Whit Merrifield, Nicky Lopez and Jorge Soler. After that, there is a massive drop off in success rate, and this has been a trend all season. The only other batter who has had success against righties outside of these three is Carlos Santana.

King does not have overpowering stuff, but with only three players eclipsing a 10% walk rate off of righties this season, his sinker should induce a ton of grounders. The Royals rank 13th in the MLB in groundball rate, and nearly half of batted balls off King (48.1%) will not be in the air. More likely than not, the Royals profile as a team that will make some contact in this matchup, but not anything hit too hard.

Losing Ronald Bolaños from the bullpen was an enormous blow to an underwhelming set of arms. Scott Barlow is the only member of the Kansas City bullpen with a sub-4.00 xFIP and SIERA. Unfortunately for Royals fans, their bullpen has in fact been overachieving thus far without much to show.

Their team ERA is 4.11, while their team xFIP is 4.52. They also used Kris Bubic, Jake Brentz, Kyle Zimmer, Barlow and Greg Holland Tuesday when Brady Singer only could handle 3 2/3 innings. The short-handed ‘pen could be KC’s crux in this one with Duffy on an innings limit after his return from injury.

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Bullpen Gives Bombers Edge

The Yankees looked abysmal on Tuesday night. Gerrit Cole has had a rough month by his standards, but only one of the best relievers on the squad, Jonathan Loáisiga, had to pitch and is presumably unavailable tonight.

After King induces groundball after groundball, there is a strong chance Chad Green, Nestor Cortes, and Aroldis Chapman are options. Given that the Yankees’ bullpen is relatively fresh compared to the taxed Royals’ bullpen, this gives them the advantage.

When it comes to the lineup, Gio Urshela has mashed lefties in the month of June (314 wRC+). Gary Sánchez has put up similar numbers. These are critical bats in the equation for the Yankees’ success this season. If they do not prosper, neither does the team.

Aaron Judge has looked awful in June, but if Duffy struggles, he could get back on track. Since the Yankees have enough weapons in the lineup, they should also get the leg up on the Royals here.

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Royals-Yankees Pick

Typically, I do not lay a juiced run line number, but getting the Yankees at -1 (-143) was a stronger option than the actual spread.

I’m confident that King can get the Royals to hammer the ball into the ground and hand it to the most valuable bullpen in the majors. The Royals just do not have enough in the lineup or bullpen to supplement a shortened Duffy start. Play the Yankees -1 to (-155).

Pick: Yankees -1 (-143)

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