Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals
When and Where: Friday, Sept. 14, Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo., 8:15 p.m. EDT.
Jose Berrios looks to avoid losing a fourth consecutive start and win for the first time in nearly six weeks as the Minnesota Twins continue their four-game series against the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.
Berrios plagued by inconsistency, lack of run support of late for Twins
Berrios (11-11, 3.83 ERA), who leads the Twins in victories, likely needs to win all his starts the rest of the way to have any shot at matching his career high of 14 victories set last season.
The right-hander has been reached for nine runs over 15 innings during his three-start losing streak and has a 5.53 ERA in his last six outings since beating Kansas City at home Aug. 4.
Berrios was a tough-luck loser against the Royals last Saturday, holding them to one run and three hits over six innings of a 4-1 defeat. He has pitched well against the Royals overall on the season, going 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 19 strikeouts over 20 innings in three starts — all at home.
It was also Berrios’ first loss in eight decisions against division rivals this year, and he enters this contest sporting a 2.54 ERA in 12 starts versus AL Central foes. The righty has struck out 79 in 78 innings in those games while holding opposing hitters to a .198 batting average.
He is 2-2 with a 4.53 ERA in eight career starts against Kansas City and has yet to win at Kauffman Stadium, failing to record a decision in four starts there while posting a 6.10 ERA. Alcides Escobar is 6 for 17 with a homer and three doubles versus Berrios, while Whit Merrifield is 6 for 20.
Lopez tries to get better of Berrios again for Royals
Jorge Lopez (2-4, 3.72 ERA) is trying to beat Berrios and the Twins after turning in the best start of his career last time out.
In just his fifth start of the season and seventh of his career, the right-hander carried a perfect game into the ninth inning Friday. He lost the perfect game by issuing a leadoff walk to Max Kepler, then lost the no-hitter the following batter as Robbie Grossman.
The walk and the hit led to the lone run he allowed in those eight-plus innings, and Lopez has conceded just two runs and six hits over 15 innings in winning back-to-back starts.
“It’s a dream come true,” Lopez told the Royals’ official website. “I feel like we did everything offensively and defensively. … I think my heart accelerated a little but it was just hard to finish. But it was good.”
Lopez 2-3 with a 4.40 ERA as a starter for Kansas City, but 1-3 with a 6.53 ERA in four home starts. His win over the Twins last week is his lone career outing against them.
The Royals are:
- 6-0 in their last six home games vs. right-handed starters.
- 5-1 in their last six during game 2 of a series.
- 8-3 in their last 11 games vs. right-handed starters.
- The under is 5-0-2 in their last seven games vs. starters with a WHIP below 1.15.
- The under is 4-0-1 in their last five games vs. right-handed starters.
- The under is 5-2-1 in their last eight during game 2 of a series.
The Twins are:
- 7-19 in Berrios’ last 26 road starts.
- 0-4 in Berrios’ last four road starts vs. the Royals.
- 2-6 in Berrios’ last eight starts vs. the Royals.
- The under is 7-2-1 in Berrios’ last 10 starts vs. sub-.500 teams.
- The under is 5-2 in their last seven during game 2 of a series.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Kauffman Stadium does not appear to be a happy hunting ground for Berrios, and while part of his recent losing streak can be attributed to a lack of run support, the third-year pitcher has given up three or more runs in four of his last six starts and not pitched more than six innings in any of them.
Lopez has been solid his last two starts, though his home form is concerning. The hedge here is the teams will combine for more offense against the starters as the Royals edge out a win.
Prediction: Pick: Royals +121
Full-Game Total Pick
Berrios’ overall form against the Royals and division rivals this season is a good counterweight against his recent struggles and enough to believe he will grind through at least five innings. If Lopez can hold his form for a third straight start, the under should hit comfortably.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 8.5 runs
Full-Game Prop Bet
The teams have combined to finish 27 and under in the last three games, including 14 when Berrios and Lopez squared off last week. They also have posted under 27.5 in the last three games at Kauffman Stadium.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 27.5 runs (-125)
First Five Innings Side Pick
This pick is more against the Twins, who have lost six straight on the road after Thursday night’s 6-4 loss to start this series, than it is for the Royals. But Minnesota has been outscored 49-16 in those games and as dropped 14 of its last 21 overall.
Prediction: Pick: Royals +120
First Five Innings Total Bet
Despite Minnesota’s road struggles. there is still confidence in both Berrios and Lopez turning in another quality matchup through the first five innings. Berrios has allowed two or fewer runs over five innings in three of his last four starts, and Lopez has not allowed a run over the first five innings in three of his last four.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 4.5 runs (-110)
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
While it is a limited sample size for Lopez, he has pitched a scoreless first inning in four of his five starts since joining Kansas City’s rotation. Berrios also has been solid in the opening frame, posting a 1.55 ERA while allowing just one first-inning run in his last 19 starts.
Prediction: Pick: NO to 1st-inning run (-120)