Kansas City will wrap up its three-game series in Detroit on Thursday afternoon. The Royals came up short in a thriller to open the series, as the Tigers picked up a 4-3 win in 10 innings. This story was published prior to Wednesday night’s second game of the series.
Heasley trying to continue strong formKansas City has already concluded the home portion of its schedule, finishing things off with a 13-12 win over Seattle on Sunday. The Royals are on the road for the final nine games of their campaign, with six games at Cleveland coming up beginning on Friday. They have virtually been out of the playoff hunt since before the All-Star break, but that has not stopped them from being competitive over the past week. Kansas City swept a three-game series against Minnesota before winning two out of three against Seattle over the weekend. The Royals have the third-worst record in the American League this season.
John Wathan, who has spent 47 of his 51 years in pro baseball with the Royals as a player, manager, broadcaster, assistant coach, scout, roving instructor, and special assistant to player development, announced he will retire after this season. pic.twitter.com/DDiXQKidHd— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) September 28, 2022
They have been a decent offensive team, ranked No. 14 in batting average (.245). Shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. leads the way with 144 hits, including 20 home runs, while veteran catcher Salvador Perez has hit a team-high 22 homers. They are facing a Detroit pitching staff that is No. 20 with an ERA of 4.06. Right-handed pitcher Jonathan Heasley is set to start for Kansas City on Thursday afternoon. He allowed one earned run on two hits and two walks across six strong innings against Minnesota last Thursday. Heasley has turned in consecutive quality starts, and he has a 3.26 ERA since being recalled from Triple-A Omaha on Aug. 9. He still has a 4.87 ERA overall (94.1 innings) this season, though.
Tigers in strong form heading down the stretchDetroit has had an equally disappointing season this year, although it was an expected result for both teams. The Tigers have followed a similar trajectory to Kansas City, virtually getting eliminated from the hunt during the first half of the season. They have been competitive of late as well, entering Wednesday’s game on a four-game winning streak. Detroit took two out of three at Baltimore early last week before sweeping the White Sox on the road last weekend. The Tigers added to their momentum with Tuesday's series-opening victory in 10 innings. They still have the second-worst record in the AL, but it looks like they will avoid finishing in dead last.
Andrew Chafin doesn’t know why he was mic’d up for photo day.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) September 28, 2022
We have 1 minute and 27 seconds that explains why. pic.twitter.com/pnWJ0xW9m1
The Tigers have been bad at the plate this season, ranked No. 26 in team batting average (.230). Shortstop Javy Baez leads the team with 126 hits, including 15 home runs. He will be facing a Kansas City pitching staff that is No. 27 with an ERA of 4.69. Left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez is expected to be on the mound for Detroit in this game. He allowed three runs on eight hits across six innings against the White Sox last Friday, striking out three. Rodriguez has been mediocre this year, going 4-5 with a 4.37 ERA and 62 strikeouts.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This is one of the most interesting games of the day to handicap, as both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention, but they are also in good form right now. I think this game should be lined as a pick’em, so I am going to take Kansas City as a +110 underdog. The Royals are playing some of their best baseball of the season, and they have a motivated starter on the mound. Heasley is trying to earn a spot in the Opening Day rotation next year—he has thrown consecutive quality starts and has a 3.26 ERA over the past two months.
Full-Game Total Pick
This is a low total for a game that features two pitchers with season ERA’s above 4.00, making me immediately look to the over as the value bet. Rodriguez is allowing multiple runs in virtually every start, and that should be expected to continue against a Kansas City offense that ranks in the top half of the league. Heasley is in solid form right now, but he has been mediocre overall this season. Detroit should scratch across a few early runs as well, putting the over in an excellent position heading to the sixth inning.