Yankees vs. Royals Odds, Picks, Predictions: Expect New York’s Offense To Rake (April 30)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Judge
- The Yankees are big favorites over the Royals on Saturday night in Kansas City.
- New York sends ace Gerrit Cole to the mound while KC counters with youngster Carlos Hernandez.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Yankees vs. Royals Odds
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get a up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The New York Yankees are in one of those moods where they’re just hitting the cover off the baseball. Friday’s 12-2 road victory over the Royals extended their winning streak to a league-best seven games. They’ll try to make it eight consecutive wins with their ace, Gerrit Cole, getting the start on Saturday. Kansas City will counter with its 25-year-old right-hander, Carlos Hernández.
Kauffman Stadium is often regarded as a pitcher’s park because of its dimensions. However, that hasn’t troubled the Yankees much as visitors. New York will likely fancy its chances against Hernández and his 6.43 ERA. As a result, a play on New York’s team total could offer more value since the Yankees are such expensive favorites.
Yankees’ Offense Clicking
Only the Los Angeles Angels (104) have scored more runs than the Yankees (97) thus far this season. New York’s offense has carried the team after a mediocre 5-5 start to the campaign.
Although there were quite a few groans in the Bronx following that start, it appears the Yankees just needed a few more games under their belt to get the lineup firing on all cylinders.
New York saw enough out of Anthony Rizzo following last year’s trade deadline to sign him to a two-year contract worth $32 million. Rizzo seems to be more comfortable with the Yankees this time around, as he’s wasted little time settling in. The slugger leads the majors with nine home runs and an absurd .419 ISO.
Although the Yankees can be top-heavy with their lineup, you can’t argue with their production. Per FanGraphs, New York ranks second with a wRC+ value of 124.
Opposing pitchers have quite the task of navigating the top of a lineup that includes DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton. The latter three players are already in double figures in terms of RBI and combined to drive in 48 runs on the season.
Concern Over Royals’ Hernández
Hernández finished the 2021 season with a 6-2 record and a 3.68 ERA. He started 11 of the 24 games he appeared in a while logging 85 2/3 innings.
While his numbers might look promising, his advanced stats pointed to some concerns given his higher 4.91 SIERA. As a result, it might not be too much of a surprise that Hernández is off to a difficult start with a 6.43 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP.
I took a closer look at his numbers and found something that struck me as alarming for the young right-hander. Hernández is only averaging 3.21 strikeouts per nine innings which is more than a 50% drop-off from the previous year.
We’ve also seen a slight drop in his velocity, with his fastball averaging around 95.9 mph compared to 97.2 in 2021. Thus, his current velocity might just be inviting more swings from opposing hitters.
Hernández’s fastball usage is down from 56% to 49.5%, and I wonder if that’s due to some trepidation that hitters are sitting on the pitch. According to Baseball Savant, batters are hitting .476 against the pitch with an xWOBA of .606. The opposition hasn’t been shy in taking their hacks, whether the pitch is inside or outside the strike zone.
Hitters are swinging at 74.4% of pitches inside the zone resulting in a 3% increase from the previous year. Contact outside the zone is also up to 70.7%, a 7% increase from 2021.
With the Yankees drawing fewer walks (8.8%) than last year (10.2%), I’d suspect they’ll continue to take an aggressive approach at the plate, particularly in fastball counts against Hernández.
There are quite a few trends in play that support the Yankees continuing their offensive onslaught on Saturday night. For one, New York has scored at least five runs in its past six games and nine of its past 10 games against the Royals.
Lastly, after scoring 12 or more runs in a game, the Yankees have scored at least five runs in five of their next six games in this spot. With New York’s team total set at 4.5, I think the over is worth looking at -120 odds.
Pick: 1/2 unit on Yankees Team Total o4.5 (-120)