Despite owning a strong 77-66 overall record, Oakland has fallen back into third place in the competitive American League West race, seven games back of the division-leading Houston Astros. Meanwhile, Kansas City sits in fourth place in the AL Central with a 65-78 overall mark.
Can the Royals escape with a win at home over the A’s on Wednesday night?
Manaea seeks to continue success vs. Kansas CityLeft-hander Sean Manaea is scheduled to toe the rubber for the Athletics in the second game of their series at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday. Manaea is trying to finish the season strong after posting an unsightly 9.90 ERA in five August starts. The A’s lefty is fresh off of back-to-back quality starts. Last time out, he spun seven innings of one-run ball in a win over the Chicago White Sox, striking out nine batters and walking just one on the night. Manaea enters with a 9-9 overall record and a respectable 3.79 ERA in 28 starts.
A career-high 13 Ks for Sean Manaea. 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/HHVkMhX1Zt— MLB (@MLB) July 23, 2021
Despite his recent struggles, Manaea has flashed signs of a breakout in 2021. He has fanned a career-high 10.00 batters per nine innings of work while exhibiting his usual pinpoint command. He has walked just 2.13 batters per nine while throwing 66.3 percent of his first pitches for strikes.
Manaea has made two career starts versus Kansas City, going 1-0 with a sparkling 1.46 ERA in those contests. Per Baseball Savant, current Royals are batting only .212 in 36 plate appearances off of the A’s southpaw heading into Wednesday’s matchup.
Minor hoping for strong finish to disappointing 2021 seasonVeteran left-hander Mike Minor is expected to get the call for Game 2 of this series in Kansas City. The 33-year-old southpaw is 8-12 with a disappointing 5.05 ERA in 28 starts this season but he’s flashed some signs of life down the stretch and comes in with three quality starts in his last five outings. In fact, Minor has pitched into the sixth inning or later in seven of his last nine appearances. Last time out, the Royals lefty spun six scoreless frames in a no-decision versus the Baltimore Orioles. Despite his best efforts, Minor comes in riding a personal four-game skid and hasn’t won a decision on the mound since way back on July 28.
There's a reason Mike Minor is smiling. Wow, Nicky at it again! pic.twitter.com/LaSUGQltrw— Joel Goldberg (@goldbergkc) August 19, 2021
While Minor’s overall numbers might not show it, the veteran left-hander hasn’t pitched all that poorly this year. He’s struck out a healthy 8.45 batters and walked just 2.33 batters per nine innings of work in 2021. However, he’s been hurt by the long ball (1.47 HR/9) and has struggled with runners on base, stranding only 66.4 percent of his baserunners for the season.
The Royals’ left-hander comes into Wednesday’s appearance with 11 appearances and eight starts under his belt against the A’s. Minor has finished 3-5 with a 5.36 ERA in those contests and is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA against Oakland this year. According to Baseball Savant, the current Oakland roster is batting only .205 in 138 plate appearances off of Minor heading into Wednesday’s contest.
- Athletics are 1-4 in their last 5 road games.
- Athletics are 1-7 in their last 8 during game 2 of a series.
- Royals are 4-1 in their last 5 games as an underdog.
- Royals are 16-7 in their last 23 games vs. a left-handed starter.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
While Manaea is undoubtedly the better pitcher, he’s had his fair share of troubles over the last month. Meanwhile, Minor enters this game due for some positive regression on the mound after out-pitching his peripherals for the better part of the season. The Royals’ lefty has also flashed an ability to eat innings at a high rate over the last month, which bodes well for Kansas City’s chances in this game. The A’s have stumbled down the stretch of the regular season and now find themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture in the American League. With all of the pressure on Oakland to perform in this spot, take the Royals to come out on top in the second game of this series at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday night.
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams are projected for 8.5 runs but that number might be set a little too low here. Manaea has had a few implosions recently, giving up at least three earned runs in four of his previous seven starts and seven of his last 12 outings overall. Meanwhile, Minor has been far from perfect, especially at home where he has logged a 5.18 ERA in 14 starts. The Royals left has also struggled to keep runs off of the board as of late, allowing three runs or more in five of his last seven appearances. Take this game to go over the projected total at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday.