Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#969 New York Yankees -145 vs.
#970 Kansas City Royals 10
Friday, May 24, 2019 at 8:15pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

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It’s the opening game of a series between a pair of American League teams at opposite ends of the standings. The New York Yankees are on the road as they play the first game of a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals Friday night. New York closed out a four-game series on the road against Baltimore Thursday afternoon, sweeping the series with a 6-5 win. Kansas City was off Thursday after a doubleheader on the road against St. Louis Wednesday, which they split, winning 8-2 in the opener and losing 10-3 in the nightcap. The Yankees won three of four in the first series between the teams this season, which came at home April 18-21.

New York Yankees Seeking to Build AL East Lead

New York let a four-run lead slip away late before scoring the winning run in the ninth to sweep Baltimore. The Yankees entered Thursday night with a 2.5 game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East after recording their fifth straight victory. Luke Voit (two runs, RBI) was the lone Yankees player with two hits in the game. Voit (his 12th) and Clint Frazier (his ninth) each homered in the contest. Masahiro Tanaka was in line for the win before the bullpen gave it away: he allowed one run on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts over six innings. Tommy Kahnle (2-0) earned the win despite allowing a run on one hit with no walks and two strikeouts in one inning of relief. Zack Britton worked the ninth for his second save.

Chad Green is in line to take the mound for his 15th appearance and second start of the season for the Yankees, who are expected to deploy him as the opener again here. He comes in 0-2 with a 12.41 ERA, a 2.108 WHIP, five walks and 13 strikeouts over 12.1 innings of work this season. Green didn’t factor in the decision in his last outing, which came in relief Wednesday against the Orioles. He threw a scoreless inning, allowing no hits with no walks and two strikeouts in a 7-5 Yankees victory. Green has no record with a 4.91 ERA, a 1.50 WHIP, two walks and 12 strikeouts over 7.1 innings in seven career appearances, all in relief, against the Royals. He has no record with a 0.00 ERA, a 0.50 WHIP, no walks and eight strikeouts over four innings in two career appearances, both in relief, at Kauffman Stadium.

Kansas City Royals Hope to Get Things Going At Home

Kansas City earned a split of their doubleheader with St. Louis on the road Wednesday after getting rained out Tuesday. The Royals entered Thursday in the basement of the AL Central, 15.5 games behind the Twins. In the opening game of the doubleheader, Jorge Soler hit his 11th homer as part of a six-run third inning to send the Royals to the win. Brad Keller (3-5) got the win after allowing two runs on two hits with four walks and three strikeouts over seven innings. In the nightcap, Hunter Dozier hit his 10th homer of the year but it wasn’t enough. Homer Bailey (4-5) took the loss as he was tagged for five runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts over 1.2 innings of work.

Jakob Junis takes the hill for his 11th start of the year for the Royals in this contest. He is 3-5 with a 5.69 ERA, a 1.500 WHIP, 21 walks and 47 strikeouts over 55.1 innings of work this season. Junis took the loss in his last outing, which came Sunday on the road against the Angels. He threw seven innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts in a 6-3 Royals defeat. Junis is 0-3 with a 7.02 ERA, a 1.62 WHIP, nine walks and 13 strikeouts over 16.2 innings in his last three starts. He makes his fifth career start against the Yankees in this contest. Junis is 1-3 with a 6.43 ERA, a 1.667 WHIP, six walks and 12 strikeouts over 21 innings of work. He is 10-9 with a 4.55 ERA, a 1.314 WHIP, 46 walks and 158 strikeouts over 172 innings in 31 career appearances, 29 starts, at Kauffman Stadium.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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The Yankees are getting healthier with James Paxton throwing a simulated game Friday, which will help the rotation. In addition, Giancarlo Stanton is on a rehab assignment and Aaron Judge is working his way back toward taking the field. Kansas City has been up and down this season, even playing at home. Junis has struggled in his last three starts, with the team giving up six runs in each of those outings. The Yankees have plenty of power in their lineup, even missing key personnel, and that should support a patchwork pitching performance and deliver the win in the opener of this set.

Prediction: New York Yankees -145

Full-Game Total Pick

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The Yankees are likely going to make this one a bullpen day as they continue to await the return of guys like James Paxton, CC Sabathia and Luis Severino. That means we could see a dose of David Hale, Nester Cortes Jr. and Luis Cessa for multiple innings in this contest. New York comes in having piled up 47 runs in their five-game win streak. Junis has struggled in his last three starts and has been battered around of late. The Royals are second to last in team ERA (5.23) on the season and 27th in WHIP: can they find a way to keep New York in check or come up with the offense to carry them to a win?

The over is 5-0 in the Yankees’ last five overall, 4-0 in their last 4 road games vs. a team with a losing home record, 5-0 in their last 5 on grass, 4-0 in their last 4 after scoring 5 runs or more in their previous game and 24-5-1 in their last 30 on the road. Kansas City has seen the over go 13-2-1 in their last 16 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600. Given the way the Yankees are clicking even with so many missing pieces and Junis’s struggles of late, this one ends up over the total.

Prediction: Over 10

First Five Innings Side Pick

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This is where the Yankees get a chance to open some breathing room in the AL East as they face some weaker competition while Tampa Bay has some tough opponents in the next couple weeks. New York is still hammering the ball despite being minus two of their top sluggers in Stanton and Judge. Some of that can be attributed to facing the Orioles several times so far this season but the Royals aren’t setting the world on fire either. Look for the bullpen arms of the Yankees to give them the edge after five innings.

Prediction: New York Yankees -140

First Five Innings Total Bet

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We saw how the Yankees can pile up runs during this win streak. Meanwhile, the Royals have struggled to prevent them and Junis has had his issues of late as well. Green has to prove that he can put his problems from the early season behind him. There are opportunities for both teams to put runs on the board in this one, especially early on in the contest. Junis has a 6.08 ERA in five starts at home this season and while he’s allowed only three homers, the Yankees will take advantage to help push things over the total.

Prediction: Over 5

Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.