Sunday MLB Odds & Picks: Pirates vs. Royals Preview (Sunday, Sept. 13)
Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Brad Keller
Pirates vs. Royals Betting Odds
|Pirates Odds||+124 [Bet Now]|
|Royals Odds||-142 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||8.5 (-110/-110) [Bet Now]|
|Time||2:05 p.m. ET|
The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t gotten much going this season. At 14-29, the Pirates are well on their way to finish with the worst record in the league. They’re on a three-game losing streak and will try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals.
The Pirates will send Chad Kuhl to the mound and he’ll be opposed by Brad Keller for the Royals.
One interesting tidbit going into the series finale is that with today’s matchup during the day, this will be the Pirates third consecutive contest without taking outdoor batting practice. On Friday they were unable to hit before the game due to rain and yesterday, there was a police incident with a suspected gunman at nearby Arrowhead Stadium which kept the Pirates confined to their hotel rooms until the matter was resolved.
With the Royals being the home team, they were already at the ballpark and were able to take their game preparations indoor.
When handicapping games, sometimes the margins can be razor-thin and often times you’ll look for any edge you can get. I’m not sure if the lack of batting practice will be the difference in today’s ballgame, but it could another factor in the growing list of reasons to continue the fade of the Pirates.
Coincidence or Not
I wanted to test my theory to see if I could find any hints of the Pirates lack of gameday preparations in the boxscores and what I found was that Pittsburgh failed to score the first run in either of the two games in this series.
Yesterday, the Royals managed to score a run at least every other inning in the game while the Pirates were more sporadic and went four innings without scoring a run. Also on Friday, the Pirates had to wait until the eighth inning before scoring their second run of the game.
Are these just coincidences? Perhaps. But like I said, we’ll take any edge we can get.
Chad Kuhl will be making his seventh start for the Pirates. Overall, he’s 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. His stats look pretty good on the surface but his predictive numbers tell a different story.
Kuhl’s numbers are screaming REGRESSION in bright neon lights as his 5.88 FIP is 2.5 runs higher than his ERA. His biggest problem has been the walks, as his BB/9 ratio is 4.78.
While batters are only hitting .209 against him with a .212 BABIP, his .94 ground ball to flyball ratio is on the low side. The more flyballs he allows, the more likely it is for those batted balls to turn into home runs. We’re already seeing examples of this in Kuhl’s numbers as his HR/FB ratio is at 20.6%.
Probably the most remarkable stat on Kuhl is that he’s been able to strand 89.7% of runners that reach base. That’s just an unsustainable number.
Coming of Age
Brad Keller is well on his way to being the ace of the Kansas City Royals. This season, he’s 3-2 with a 2.60 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Keller could be in line for a slight regression as his 3.11 FIP is about a half-run higher than his ERA. However, a complete look at his advanced stats suggest there should be little reason for concern.
Keller has a 2.48 GB/FB and this season, he’s yet to give up a home run in six outings. He’s coming off one of his worse performances in which he allowed four runs in a 5-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians. To understand how good Keller’s been this season, he’s had only one other start in which he allowed more than one run.
Kansas City has yet to lose consecutive starts by Keller and they’ll look to keep that streak alive at home today. The Royals should like their chances as Keller’s 0.50 ERA at home is the best in all of baseball. In three starts, he’s only allowed one earned run at Kauffman Stadium in 18 innings.
This figures to be a difficult matchup for the Pirates today. I’ll be paying close attention to who scores first in this ballgame and if the Pirates fall behind again, this one could be over in a hurry.
FanDuel is offering Kansas City at -142 and that’s reasonable enough to get to the window.
I’ll stake a half-unit that the Royals complete the sweep of the Pirates and extend their winning streak to six games.
The Bet: Royals ML -142 (up to -150), (half unit)