May 17, 2013 at 3:20 PM #52174
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
Kansas City Royals (20-17) vs Oakland A’s (20-22)
Friday May 17
O.co Coliseum – Oakland, CA
KC: James Shields (R)
OAK: Jarrod Parker (R)
Moneyline: Kansas City -125, Oakland +115
The Royals have struggled over their last 10 (3-7) making their overall record all the more impressive. With their new ace leading the way they actually have three starters with ERAs under three in James Shields, Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie. The improved starting pitching has carried the team as several every day players continue to scuffle – I am looking at you 3B Mike Moustakas. Lucky for Kansas City OF Alex Gordon is off to a strong start. He and fellow outfielder Lorenzo Cain are dangerous at the top of the lineup.
The trade between the Rays and Royals in the offseason stirred a lot of controversy but it is hard to argue with it based on the performance of James Shields thus far. They wanted an ace calibre pitcher to lead their rotation and Kansas City now has one with Shields in the Top 11 in ERA, strikeouts, WHIP and batting average against. He has experienced some hard luck with just two wins to his credit though – the team record in games he has started is 3-5. In each of those losses KC failed to score more than three runs to lay the blame appropriately.
Oakland has been even worse heading into this one at 2-8 over their last 10 games – worst in the American League. The pitching that carried them last year has disappeared to the tune of the 4th worst ERA in the A.L. What has been equally surprising is that the offense is second in the league in runs. It helps that they have played more games than anybody else but it is stil shocking. Their leading power source has been 3B Josh Donaldson while last year’s breakout hitter OF Josh Reddick is possibly the least productive player in the Majors hitting just .152 with one home after smacking 32 last year. Thankfully he can’t strikeout on the DL where he is currently.
Jarrod Parker was a big part of Oakland’s surprising division championship last year putting together a very effective first season in the Majors. This season has been the complete opposite as he has been walking batters and getting smacked around when he isn’t. Last year June was his best month so Oakland’s management has to be hoping that he might heat up again as the weather does. Also of note is that he was hammered in his lone appearance against Kansas City giving up 5 ER without completing innings last year.
The Royals are the logical choice as this series kicks off Friday night. Shields has had some hard luck to date but you can feel confident he is going to give you a chance to make some money. The Royals are pretty good value with him on the mound and both squads are even in terms of recent play. You don’t want to fall too in love with road dogs but I think this is a good spot.
Score Prediction: Kansas City 5 – Oakland 2
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