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#969 New York Yankees -165 vs.
#970 Kansas City Royals 10
Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 2:15pm EDT
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The American League East-leading New York Yankees will close out their weekend series on the road at Kauffman Stadium against the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon.

After an 8-10 start riddled with countless injuries, the Yankees have suddenly won 24 of their last 31 games with a depleted roster to catapult themselves into a 2.5-game lead in the division race. New York can extend that lead this weekend with a very winnable series in Kansas City against a Royals team that is just 17-32 on the year. Can the Yankees continue their unlikely run by closing their series at Kauffman Stadium with a win on Sunday?

German turning into unlikely ace for Yankees

With James Paxton, C.C. Sabathia and Luis Severino all spending time on the injured list, right-hander Domingo German has emerged as the unlikely ace in the starting rotation. The second-year starter has made a major leap forward this season, compiling an impressive 9-1 overall record and a 2.60 ERA through 10 appearances (nine starts). German has reigned in his command and cut down on his walk-rate, but some regression could be on the way for the 25-year-old. While German is still striking out better than a batter per inning, he’s benefited from a .229 BABIP, which is almost 80 points lower than the .300 BABIP he posted in 2018, and his 3.81 xFIP is more than a run higher than his current ERA.

German’s lone loss of the season came against the Royals on April 18. He allowed three earned runs and was victimized by two long balls in six innings of work versus the Royals.

According to Baseball Savant, the current Royals’ roster is batting .261 in 21 plate appearances off of German. StatCast projects KC hitters for an expected batting average of .284 and an expected slugging percentage of .542 versus German for Sunday’s start.

Duffy pitching well for Royals after late start to year

Starting pitching has been a major issue for the Royals this season. Kansas City starters have compiled a 5.39 earned run average this season — 25th in baseball. That’s half a run worse than the mark in 2018. Three men in the rotation — Jakob Junis, Homer Bailey and Jorge Lopez — have earned run averages of 5.69 or worse.

Kansas City will counter with 30-year-old lefty Danny Duffy, who is off to a fine start after a late beginning to the season. Through five starts, Duffy has allowed three runs or less on four occasions, winning each of his last three decisions. He comes in with a 3-1 overall record to go along with a 3.45 ERA and he’s racked up three quality outings over his last four starts.

Duffy has performed well against the Yankees as of late, posting a 3.15 ERA in five appearances (three starts) against them dating back to 2016. However, his last start against New York didn’t go so well, as he gave up five earned runs in four innings in a loss last season.

According to Baseball Savant, the current Yankees’ roster is batting .241 in 59 plate appearances off of Duffy, who sports a 6.84 FIP heading into this matchup despite striking out Yankees hitters 27.1 percent of the time. StatCast projects New York for an expected batting average of .310 and an expected slugging percentage of .641 off of Duffy heading into Sunday’s showdown.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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New York has absolutely dominated this series as of late. The Yankees have won seven of their last nine meetings in Kansas City and 87 of the last 126 meetings in this series overall. German has been lights out this year and he gets a chance to avenge his only loss of the season against the Royals. Take the Yankees to close out the series finale with a victory on Sunday afternoon.

Prediction: New York Yankees -1.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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The Yankees have gone over the projected total in 15 of their last 18 during Game 3 of a series and the over is 24-5-2 in New York’s last 31 road games. Meanwhile, the over is 13-2-2 in Kansas City’s last 17 home games versus a team with a road winning percentage of greater than .600. Look for this game to go over the projected total on Sunday afternoon.

Prediction: Over 9.5

Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. He uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits.