Colorado Rockies (68-57 SU, 64-61 RL, 51-68-6 O/U) vs. Kansas City Royals (63-61 SU, 61-63 RL, 58-60-6 O/U)
MLB: Thursday, August 24, 2017, Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri, 2:15 pm ET
Lines: Kansas City -119, Colorado +109; Over/Under: 9
It’s the conclusion of an interleague set between a pair of teams fighting for the postseason in the Midwest. The Colorado Rockies are on the road to finish off a three game series with the Kansas City Royals Thursday afternoon. Kansas City won the opening game of the series, taking a 3-2 victory Tuesday night. The pitching matchup for the middle game of the series Wednesday night saw Antonio Senzatela take the mound for the Rockies against Kansas City’s Ian Kennedy. First pitch in the game was set for 8:15 pm ET.
Colorado Rockies Trying to Maintain Wild Card Position
Colorado dropped the opening game of this series and in the process, fell into the second wild card spot in the National League. The Rockies entered Wednesday half a game behind Arizona for the top wild card spot and three games ahead of the Brewers. Colorado mustered a total of two hits in the contest with Nolan Arenado accounting for the offense with his 28th homer, a two-run shot, in the sixth inning. Jonathan Lucroy had the other Rockies hit, a triple, while DJ LeMahieu scored the other run. Jon Gray (5-3) pitched well but took the loss as he allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts over 6.2 innings.
German Marquez makes his 22nd start of the season for the Rockies in this one. He is 10-5 with a 4.24 ERA, a 1.303 WHIP, 38 walks and 113 strikeouts over 119 innings of action. Marquez picked up the win in his last start, which came at home against the Brewers on Friday night. He allowed four runs on seven hits with one walk and six strikeouts in an 8-4 Colorado victory. Marquez is 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP, five walks and 13 strikeouts over 16 innings in his last three starts. In his 28th major league appearance and 25th start of his career, he pitches against the Royals for the first time. Therefore, this marks his debut performance at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas City Royals Fighting to Climb AL Wild Card Standings
Kansas City won their second straight by taking the opener of this series but didn’t make up any ground in the wild card race. The Royals entered Wednesday 1.5 games behind the Twins in the race for the second wild card in the American League. Salvador Perez (RBI) was the lone Royals player with two hits in the game while Eric Hosmer drove in a run as well: the third run scored on a passed ball. Danny Duffy (8-8) got the win as he allowed two runs on just one hit with three walks and seven strikeouts over six innings. Scott Alexander retired Pat Valaika with the bases loaded on a fielder’s choice to earn his first save.
Rookie Jake Junis takes the mound for the 13th time and makes his ninth start of the year for the Royals here. He is 5-2 with a 4.99 ERA, a 1.357 WHIP, 17 walks and 42 strikeouts over 52.1 innings this season. Junis did not factor in the decision his last time out, which was a relief appearance against the Indians at home Friday night. He threw 2.1 innings, allowing four runs on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts in a 10-1 Royals loss. Junis is 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP, three walks and 14 strikeouts over 20 innings in his last three starts. This marks his first major league appearance or start against the Rockies. Junis is 1-0 with a 4.64 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP over 21.1 innings in five appearances, three starts, in his career at Kauffman Stadium.
- Rockies are 1-4 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- Rockies are 1-4 in their last 5 games after losing the first 2 games of a series
- Rockies are 4-17 in their last 21 road games vs. a right-handed starter
- Royals are 25-9 in their last 34 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30
- Royals are 8-3 in their last 11 during game 3 of a series
The Rockies are a team that is seeing their hold on a postseason berth loosen. Three straight losses, coupled by a surge by teams in the NL Central, has made their playoff hold more precarious. The Royals are in the middle of the crowded AL wild card race and wins are at a premium. In a battle of young arms, you have to side with the home team in this one. Junis gets it done as he outduels Marquez and gives Kansas City the series win.
Pick: Kansas City Royals -119
Colorado has seen their lead in the wild card race shrink to three games and dropped into the second wild card spot with their loss and Arizona’s victory. The Rockies are trying to rely heavily on a young, inexperienced rotation. While there are times when that works to a team’s advantage, it’s a bit tougher as the season winds down: pitchers tend to hit a wall and opposing teams have a chance to get advanced scouting reports. The Royals are happy to have Perez back in the middle of their lineup but they still have some work to do if they want to make the postseason once again.
The under is 4-0 in the Rockies last 4 on grass, 4-0-1 in their last 5 interleague road games vs. a right-handed starter, 4-0 in their last 4 overall, 6-0-1 in their last 7 interleague road games and 12-3-1 in their last 16 interleague games vs. a team with a winning record. Kansas City has seen the under go 3-0-1 in their last 4 vs. National League West foes and 8-2-1 in their last 11 interleague games vs. a team with a winning record. Look for this one to fall under the total as well.