Yankees vs. Royals Odds, Preview, Prediction: Red-Hot Bronx Bombers Head to Kansas City (Monday, August 9)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Judge.
Yankees vs. Royals Odds
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The Yankees are red-hot, and their recent surge has them just 2.5 games behind Boston for the second wild-card spot.
The Royals, meanwhile, have last six of nine. While they feature a few exciting players, Royals fans should be focused on the future.
But KC’s coaches and players are squarely focused on this three-game set. Therefore, is there any value on the home underdog? Or will the Bronx Bombers continue to roll?
Yankees Have Been On Fire
The Yankees have won eight of their last 10 contests; 14 of their last 20; and 20 of their last 30. This sleeping monster has finally awoken, and it should have Boston fans shaking in their boots.
Let’s talk about their big new addition: Joey Gallo.
Gallo is a three-true-outcome monster, as he’ll strike out more than 30% of the time but walk almost 20%. The half of the time he does make contact, he does so with one of the highest average exit velocities in baseball (91.9 mph). He’s smacked 26 home runs this year.
However, Gallo is slumping a bit since he joined the Yankees. He’s just 6-for-37 with 18 strikeouts in the 10 games since he was traded. However, he’s also smacked five extra-base hits and walked seven times. The Gallo train is a rollercoaster.
Jameson Taillon gets the start for New York, his 21st of the season and ninth on the road. He’s pitched to a 4.04 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP, but those numbers rise to 5.27 and 1.41 away from Yankee Stadium.
Taillon has been on a tear recently, however, as he’s posted a 1.45 ERA since June started. He’s pitched at least 5 1/3 innings in those six starts and has yet to allow more than two runs. As a result, the new-look Yankees offense has provided 7.5 runs per game of support in those starts, and New York is 5-1 in those games.
Taillon attacks with a four-seam, which he throws half the time and close to 95 mph. He backs that up with a curveball and slider, both of which he throws a fifth of the time.
The fastball has also been his best pitch, as he’s allowed just a .201 xBA and .286 xwOBA on 868 thrown.
Royals Hoping For Home Cookin’
The Royals finally are coming home after a nine-game road trip in which they went 3-6. Players, coaches and fans are probably quite excited to get back to their home stadium.
The 48-62 Royals are 20-37 on the road this season, but are 28-25 at home. They’ve posted a .742 OPS and a 100 wRC+ in home games this season, but those numbers drop to .640 and 76 in away games.
The pitching has been similarly bad, wherein the staff has posted a sub-4.00 FIP at home but a 5.07 FIP away from home.
Either way, the home-road offensive splits might not matter, considering that the Royals have posted the third-worst OPS (.678), wOBA (.293) and wRC+ (83) over the past 30 days, regardless of where the game is played.
Starting the game for the Royals will be Carlos Hernández, who’s making just his fourth start of the season since being plugged into the rotation. He’s been effective in those starts, pitching to a 4.08 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP while the Royals have gone 3-1 in those games.
Hernández has electric stuff — including a four-seam that averages 98 mph and a slider that drops off the table — but has trouble with his control. He’s walking 5.49 batters per nine innings this season and has walked nine in his four starts.
However, when he keeps his stuff in the zone, teams are having a hard time touching it. In his four starts, Hernández has allowed just a .183 BA and a .300 SLG against while striking out over nine batters per nine innings.
It’s clear that the value is on the Royals.
As mentioned, the Royals are 14 games below .500 but are a winning team at home. They’re going to be undervalued as home ‘dogs, and our Action PRO model actually makes their ML +120 compared to the +155 number DraftKings is offering us.
While Taillon is on a hot streak, his 4.63 xFIP since July started indicates he’s due for some regression. Plus, his home/away splits give me more confidence fading him on the road today.
Meanwhile, if Hernández could get his stuff under control, he could be dangerous today. Over the past 30 days, the Yankees are walking at the highest rate in MLB (11.1%) but are also striking out at the sixth-highest rate (24.1%). Hernández just needs to pound the zone and he should punch out a lot of Yankees.
Finally, we’ve tracked sharp money coming in on the Royals, indicating the smart bet is on them.
I like the Royals at +150 or better in this spot, but given the Yankees’ recent streak, am only willing to place a half-unit wager on them.
Pick: Royals ML +155 (Play to +150)