The Oakland Athletics (23-47, 29-40 RL, 28-34-7 O/U) battle the Kansas City Royals (25-43, 28-40 RL, 34-33-1 O/U) in the first of a three-game AL series on Friday evening. It will be Cole Irvin eying his third win of the season for the A’s. The Royals will have Zack Grienke on the mound. The Royals lead the season series 2-1.
Irvin Targets First Win Since April
Cole Irvin will take the mound for the 12th time of the year. Irvin just pitched against KC in his latest effort and was sharp, conceding one run in 6.1 innings, but had no luck and took the loss. The veteran left-hander is having a fantastic season, recording a 3.14 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP accompanied by a 2-4 record in 63 innings pitched. Irvin has fared well against the Royals, holding them to only three runs with a 1-1 record in 19.1 career innings.
The Athletics have been horrible this month due to a lack of runs. They rank last or near last in many offensive categories and have not been able to win a series all month. They lost two of three to the Mariners this week and now begin a 10-game road trip.
Sean Murphy was able to record three hits and three RBIs against the Royals last week. The 27-year-old catcher is having a productive season, bashing eight big flies with 28 RBIs and a .692 OPS. Murphy has logged a strong .800 OPS this month.
Oakland is scoring an average of 3.13 runs per game, ranking them 29th overall. The pitching staff has posted a 4.45 team ERA, placing them 24th in the big leagues.
Greinke Returns from IL
Zack Greinke will get the nod for the 11th time of the season. Greinke is back from a trip on the IL and last pitched in late May where he conceded five runs in four innings against the Twins and was tagged with the loss to fall to 0-4. The veteran right-hander has not been able to find a groove this season, recording a 5.05 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP in 51.2 innings pitched. Greinke has fared well against Oakland in his career, posting an 11-3 record with a strong 2.76 ERA in 24 career meetings.
The Royals are definitely having a disappointing season but have been competitive recently. They went 5-4 on a nine-game road trip including a series win against this A's team, followed by another series victory against the Angels.
Whit Merrifield hasn't been a huge threat at the plate this season but has collected eight hits in his last five games. The 33-year-old second baseman is having a disappointing season, hitting .232 with 30 RBIs and an abysmal .595 OPS. Merrifield has 4 for 12 against the A’s this season.
The Royals are averaging 3.85 runs per game, ranking them 27th in the Majors. The pitching staff has recorded a 4.99 team ERA, pegging them 28th overall.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Athletics have a good chance in this one with Cole Irvin on the hill. Irvin has great numbers and just pitched against this Royals team last weekend, limiting them to only one run in 6.1 innings. He has thrived in his career against the Royals, allowing only three runs in 19.1 innings.
Furthermore, Zack Greinke has not been a reliable pitcher this season. The veteran has posted a horrible 6.67 ERA in his last six starts and he has surrendered five homers in his last two outings.
Full-Game Total Pick
I expect this one to go over. This is a low total due to the starting pitching matchup but I expect plenty of runs. Zack Greinke has conceded 19 runs in his last four starts and this is his first start since a trip on the IL.
In addition, the Royals should contribute to this total. They have definitely heated up at the dish, scoring 20 runs in their last five games which includes a series against the Angels. The bullpens on these foes rank near the bottom of the Majors as well. The Royals pen enters with a 4.74 ERA.