It’s the opening game of an interleague set between a pair of teams with different situations on the diamond in the Midwest. The Los Angeles Dodgers are on the road as they kick off a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals Friday night. Los Angeles swept a two-game interleague set at home from the Twins as they picked up an 8-5 victory in the finale Wednesday night. Kansas City closed a four-game series at home with the White Sox Thursday afternoon and took three of four after prevailing 5-3 in the finale. The Dodgers have won five of the last six meetings between the teams, including a three-game sweep at home in the most recent series from July 7-9, 2017.
Dodgers Looking to Keep RollingLos Angeles ran their win streak to 10 games as they won for the 13th time in 14 contests with a win at home over the Twins. The Dodgers entered Thursday holding a 16-game lead over the Padres in the NL West race. They were five games ahead of the Mets for the top record in the National League, which would grant home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Los Angeles got two hits from Trea Turner (two runs, RBI) and Freddie Freeman to lead their 10-hit attack in the contest. Joey Gallo (his 13th, first with the Dodgers), Chris Taylor (his seventh) and Max Muncy (his 13th) each homered in the victory for the Dodgers. Ryan Pepiot didn’t factor in the decision as he threw 4.1 innings, allowing four runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts. David Price (1-0) threw a perfect sixth, striking out one, to earn the win in relief.
Tony Gonsolin is on the hill for the Dodgers as he makes his 21st start of the season in this contest in the series opener. He comes in 13-1 with a 2.30 ERA, a 0.894 WHIP, 29 walks and 102 strikeouts over 109.2 innings of work on the season. Gonsolin earned the win in his last start, which came last Friday at home against the Padres. He threw five innings, allowing no runs on three hits with one walk and six strikeouts in an 8-1 Dodgers victory. In his last three starts, Gonsolin is 2-1 with a 3.94 ERA, a 1.19 WHIP, five walks and 16 strikeouts over 16 innings of work. This marks his 56th career major league appearance and 48th start: he pitches against the Royals for the first time here. As a result, Gonsolin pitches at Kauffman Stadium for the first time in his major league career as well in this contest.
Kansas City Royals Try to Play SpoilerKansas City took three of four from the White Sox and enter this one winners of five of their last six games following Thursday’s triumph. The Royals entered Thursday night fourth in the AL Central, 13 games behind the Guardians for the top spot in the division. They were 15 games behind the Blue Jays for the final wild-card spot in the American League. On Thursday, the Royals had eight hits with no player having more than one in the contest. Vinnie Pasquantino hit his sixth homer of the season in the second inning to give Kansas City a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Zack Greinke (4-7) earned the win as he threw 6.1 scoreless innings, allowing nine hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Scott Barlow gave up a run on one hit with no walks and two strikeouts to record his 18th save of the season.
Daniel Lynch is on the hill for his 18th start of the season for the Royals in this contest. He comes in 4-7 with a 4.79 ERA, a 1.524 WHIP, 33 walks and 86 strikeouts over 82.2 innings of work this season. Lynch didn’t factor in the decision in his last outing, which came against the Red Sox at home Saturday. He threw six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with no walks and six strikeouts in an eventual 5-4 Royals victory. In his last three starts, Lynch is 1-0 with a 4.20 ERA, a 1.40 WHIP, two walks and 18 strikeouts over 15 innings of work. He faces the Dodgers for the first time here in his 33rd career major league start. Lynch is 3-6 with a 6.55 ERA, a 1.545 WHIP, 26 walks and 52 strikeouts over 67.1 innings in 15 career starts at Kauffman Stadium.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Sure, the Royals have some momentum with five wins in their last six games and they are at home here. That’s all well and good. The fact remains that the Dodgers have yet to lose in August and they have the top record in the majors heading into the weekend. It doesn’t matter if they are at home (40-15) or on the road (37-18), Los Angeles finds a way to beat the opposition and put games in the win column. Lynch has had his moments this season but he struggled against Boston in his last start. Gonsolin won back-to-back starts after suffering his first loss of the season and he gets plenty of run support. It’s tough to slow down the Dodgers’ attack and that works in the favor of the visitors. Give Los Angeles the upper hand in this contest.
Full-Game Total Pick
Los Angeles has been an under machine throughout the season as the under is 55-43-12 in their games. The Dodgers are first in the majors entering Thursday with 5.35 runs per contest, though that inches up slightly to 5.45 runs per game on the road. Los Angeles has an average total of 8.56 runs per game, a number that slips slightly to 8.47 runs a game on the road. Kansas City went into Thursday night with the over having posted a 56-55-1 mark in their 112 contests. The Royals are 24th in the majors in runs per game as they put up an average of 3.95 runs a night this season. Kansas City is 26th in runs per game at home as they average a paltry 3.86 runs a contest. Their average total this season is 8.93 runs per game, a number that falls to 8.64 runs per game at home. It’s tough to contain the Dodgers’ lineup and we’ve seen the Royals look relatively competent at the plate lately. This game winds up over the total.