This Sunday, the (63-94) Kansas City Royals and the (89-68) Cleveland Guardians will play the third game of this six-game series. The first pitch will be thrown out at 1:40 PM EST inside Progressive Field. The last time that these two teams matched up, the Guardians ended up stealing two of three games.
The Kansas City Royals came into this series after getting swept by the Detroit Tigers. The Royals struggled at the dish, as they only scored seven combined runs in their three losses. They will have to be better at the plate if they want to challenge the Guardians on the road. The Royals also dropped game one of this series.
The Cleveland Guardians entered this one after winning their previous series against the Tampa Bay Rays. They looked incredible on the mound in their two wins, as they held the Rays to two combined runs. They will need to stay hot on the bump if they want to take care of business at home in this one. (KC beat Cleveland 7-1 on Saturday)
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Can the Royals Rally?The Kansas City Royals will not be making the postseason this year, as they are currently 23 games back from the Tampa Bay Rays for the third and final AL Wild Card spot. They are also 5-5 in their last 10, as their average play hasn't gotten them any closer to the postseason. The Royals are stuck in last place in the AL Central, as they trail the first-place Cleveland Guardians by 26 games.
At the plate, the Royals are scoring 4.05 runs per game and they are hitting .245 as a team. This is the 23rd most runs scored per game and the 14th highest overall team batting average. They have consistently made contact with the ball, but they have struggled to hit when they have men in scoring position. This has made it much more difficult to score. The Royals have also realized that they don't have much power hidden inside of their lineup. They are only hitting .87 bombs per game, which is the 25th most in the MLB. I would also expect Kansas City to stay extremely aggressive once they have reached base safely. They have already swiped 101 bases this season, which is the fifth most in the league. This has been the easiest way to get players into scoring position.
According to MLB.com, the Royals will be starting Max Castillo on the mound, as he is 0-1 with a 4.98 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. In his last start, he didn't record an out, as he pitched for 0.0 innings and still gave up three earned runs. He is also 0-1 on the road this season with a 3.43 ERA. The Royal's bullpen is allowing the third most runs per game, as well. As a team, Kansas City is surrendering 5.15 runs per game, which is also the third most runs allowed per game.
Can the Guardians Keep Cruising?The Cleveland Guardians are currently 9-1 in their last 10 games played, as they have secured their spot in the 2022 playoffs. They are also leading the AL Central by 11.0 games, as they have already clinched. The Guardians also hold on to the third seed in the AL playoffs, as they are still behind the Yankees and the Astros.
At the plate, the Guardians are scoring 4.30 runs per game and they are hitting .252 as a team. This is the 17th most runs scored per game, but the 14th highest overall team batting average. They have consistently made contact with the ball, but they have also struggled with men in scoring position. They have also realized that they have very little power inside of their lineup. They are only hitting .81 home runs per game, which is the second least in the MLB. They have been forced to string together multiple base hits in order to score this season. I would also expect the Guardians to stay extremely aggressive once they have reached base safely. They have a ton of speed inside of their lineup, as they have already stolen 114 bases this season, which is the third most.
According to MLB.com, the Guardians will start Shane Bieber on the mound. He has been on a heater, as he has won four of his last five starts. He did struggle in his last appliance, though. He only pitched for 6.0 innings and he gave up six hits and four earned runs to the Rays. Luckily, the Guardians bullpen has been great this season. They are only allowing 3.02 runs per game, which is the fifth least. As a team, the Guardians are surrendering 3.91 runs per game, which is the eighth least in the entire league.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
I will be hammering the Guardians (-1.5) in this matchup against the Royals. I know the Guardians have already made the postseason, but they are still one of the hottest teams in the league. They are 9-1 in their last 10 and they have the pitching advantage on the mound. They will start Shane Bieber, as he has been a beast this season. He is currently 12-8 with a 2.91 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. He will be able to keep the Royals off the bases, as they have struggled at the plate this season. They are only scoring the 23rd most runs per game and they have the 25th most home runs. They will struggle to score and the Guardians will slowly pull away. Cleveland is scoring the 17th most runs per game, but they have the 14th highest team batting average. They will consistently reach base against Max Castillo and give themselves a great shot at winning this game. Castillo has struggled this season and he didn't record an out in his last appearance. He will continue to struggle in this one and the Guardians will slowly pull away. They will also shut down the Royals at the plate later in the game, as I have a ton of confidence in the Guardian's bullpen. They are currently allowing the fifth least amount of runs.
The Guardians are the better team and they have the pitching advantage in this one. Pick the Guardians and lay the run line spread (-1.5).
Full-Game Total Pick
I will be hammering the under (7) runs in this matchup, as I see Bieber keeping the Royals off the scoreboard for the majority of this game. The Guardians also struggled at the plate at different times in their last series. Yes, they took down the Rays. But, they only scored four combined runs in the final two games. They will stay stagnant at the plate at different parts in this game, as I don't see them pushing this total over the number by themselves. They are also only scoring the 17th most runs per game. Now, I also see the Royals having a very difficult time at the plate. They are only scoring the 23rd most runs per game and they struggled in their last series against the Tigers. They won't be able to consistently reach base and they won't have enough opportunities to push this total over the number. I also see the Cleveland bullpen showing up in this one, as they will make it very tough on Kanas City in the later innings of this game. Neither of these teams has a ton of power, either. They will be forced to string together hits to score and I just don't see that consistently happening for the Royals.
Take the under (7) runs and trust the Guardian's pitching rotation in this one.