Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#963 Kansas City Royals 10.5 vs.
#964 Minnesota Twins -240
Thursday, September 19, 2019 at 7:40pm EDT
Written by Chris Altruda

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Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins

When and Where: Thursday, Sept. 19, Target Field, Minneapolis, Minn., 7:40 p.m. EDT.

The Minnesota Twins try again to take another step closer to their first division title in nine years Thursday night when they begin a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals.

Royals need late surge to avoid back-to-back 100-loss seasons

Kansas City (56-97) needs to win seven of its final nine games to avoid back-to-back 100-loss seasons for the first time since doing it three straight years from 2004-06. The Royals dropped the final two games of their three-game set in Oakland despite giving up just three runs after a 1-0, 11-inning defeat Wednesday.

Mike Montgomery (2-7, 4.23 ERA) hopes Kansas City’s bats will perk up as he bids to end a personal four-game losing streak. The left-hander has been backed with just six runs during a five-start winless run and was on the short end of a 6-1 scoreline against Houston on Saturday after yielding two runs in five innings.

Montgomery has not faced the Twins since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs on July 15 and is 1-4 with a 6.55 ERA in five road starts with Kansas City. The southpaw labored to a win over Minnesota last year, giving up five runs in five innings of a 10-6 victory.

Kansas City has scored just 12 runs in its last six games, with half of them coming in Monday’s win over the Athletics.

Twins enter series with magic number for clinching AL Central at 7

The Twins (93-59) still have a comfortable 4 1/2-game lead over the Cleveland Indians atop the AL Central with 10 to play — all against the worst two teams in the division as they face the Royals seven times around a three-game set at Detroit.

Minnesota was denied a sweep of the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday with a 3-1 loss as Eddie Rosario had two of the team’s three hits and drove in the lone run.

Kyle Gibson (13-7, 4.76) makes his second start and third bid for a career-high 14th victory as he takes the ball in the series opener. The right-hander came out of the bullpen for the second time this season Sunday and served up a three-run homer in Minnesota’s 7-5 loss to Cleveland.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli is trying to find a potential postseason spot for Gibson, who has endured a difficult year with challenging injuries that included E. coli in spring training after doing missionary work in the offseason and about with ulcerative colitis earlier this month.

“I felt really good out there,” Gibson told the club’s official website. “I felt good warming up, felt good out on the mound. Sometimes when you get a little amped up, you can get out of your mechanics. I don’t really think that happened too much. I felt good, and see what happens in this next week and see what happens with my start day here and where that moves to.”

Gibson has won back-to-back starts versus the Royals this season after not getting a decision in the first matchup, holding Kansas City to three runs in 14 2-3 innings in a pair of home victories. The righty gave up three runs over 6 2-3 innings of an 11-3 romp in the most recent meeting Aug. 3.

He is 4-1 with a 3.89 ERA in his last 12 starts in this divisional rivalry, including 3-0 with a 2.56 ERA in five starts at home. Royals shortstop Adalbato Mondesi is 7 for 12 with a homer and three extra-base hits against Gibson.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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The Twins have not been held under five runs in back-to-back games since a three-game stretch from Sept. 4-6, and the expectation is for them to regroup offensively versus the Royals. Montgomery can prove stubborn at times, but Minnesota’s lineup is too loaded to be held down for a second straight game by different teams.

Prediction: Twins -1.5 runs (-140)

Full-Game Total Pick

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Though Gibson is back to his usual starter’s spot after pitching in relief on his bullpen day, that Sunday performance — and the lack of a hook on the high side — offers pause on an aggressive play for the under, even with its positive trends.

The under has hit in Minnesota’s last five series openers and gone 11-4 in its last 15 overall. The under is 5-2 in Montgomery’s last seven starts and 4-1 in his last five versus teams with winning records.

The late high-side hook gives confidence in the under hitting, especially with Kansas City struggling to plate runs.

Prediction: UNDER 10.5 runs (-115)

Full-Game Prop Bet

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Cruz has hit five home runs against the Royals this year — all at Target Field, including his three-homer outburst Aug. 3. All five home runs have come in the last four home games between the teams, during which Cruz is 8 for 16 overall.

He singled in his lone previous at-bat against Montgomery. Despite just four home runs in his last 17 games, Cruz is hitting .299 in that stretch and worth a flyer in what appears to be a favorable matchup versus the struggling Royals southpaw.

Prediction: Cruz to hit HR (+196)

First Five Innings Side Pick

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An anti-Montgomery pick as the Royals are 1-4 at the five-inning mark in Montgomery’s five road starts and trailed by four or more runs in all four occasions they were behind. Gibson has also been ahead in both prior home matchups between the teams while limiting Kansas City to two runs combined in the first five frames.

Prediction: Twins -0.5 runs (-180)

First Five Innings Total Bet

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The number is right on the cusp of what is expected, with the expectation Gibson will keep the Royals in check but potentially allow two runs. Montgomery’s road form makes the under a dicey pick, but he has been effective at times. The number also provides a decent margin of error should the lefty serve up a gopher ball.

Prediction: UNDER 6 runs (-125)

First Five Innings Prop Prediction

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Another anti-Montgomery pick to a degree as opponents are hitting .362 in the first inning and .311 in the second versus the left-hander overall this season. He has given up three or more runs in the first three frames in three of his five road starts, and with the Twins undoubtedly eager to get right after being stifled in Wednesday’s series finale versus Chicago, look for them to swing aggressive early and perhaps take Montgomery deep.

Prediction: Twins OVER 1.5 runs first 3 innings (-136)
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Written By Chris Altruda

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is based in Chicago. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiner, he worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Follow Chris daily right here at W&W and on Twitter at @AlTruda73. You won’t be disappointed.