Following a loss in Game 1 of the series, the (37-38) Kansas City Royals look to bounce back in Game 2 as they take on the (34-42) Detroit Tigers tonight (7:10 PM ET Wednesday).
It has been an up and down year for both the Tigers and Royals, but they are still in the playoff picture. The Royals are just 2.5 games back of the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins, who are tied for the lead in the AL Central, and the Tigers are six games back. This series really gives the hometown Tigers a chance to remain within striking distance as the teams prepare to head into the All-Star break in two weeks.
By the Numbers: Detroit Tigers Offense
The Tigers find themselves in the middle of the pack when it comes to their offensive ranking this year. Detroit is ranked 14th in runs, 20th in hits, 18th in home runs, 15th in total bases, 15th in RBI and 17th in batting average. This is a far cry from the Detroit offense of the past which is a good explanation as to why this year’s team is currently out of the postseason picture in the AL.
Offensively, the Tigers best player is Justin Upton, which ordinarily wouldn’t be such a bad thing but considering Upton is hitting just .267, it’s a problem. Also an issue for the Tigers is that former MVP and Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera, is batting just .261. He does lead the team in on base percentage at .358, however that number is also well off the .398 mark Cabrera boasts in his career.
By the Numbers: Kansas City Royals Offense
While the Tigers offense may be struggling relative to past performances, so too are the Royals. A top five offensive team just a few years ago, the Royals are now ranked 28th in runs, 29th in hits, 22nd in home runs, 28th in total bases, 28th in RBI and 24th in batting average. Simply put, this offense has been pretty dead this year, which is surprising given the Royals are still well within reach of winning the AL Central.
The Royals do have a few players who stand out. For the second year in a row, Eric Hosmer continues to shine with the bat. Hosmer is hitting .306 on the season with 27 extra base hits, 32 RBI and a .364 OBP. The power for Kansas City while few, comes mostly off of the bat of Mike Moustakas, who leads the team with 19 home runs. Moustakas is one of four Royals with at least 10 home runs on the season.
Game 1 Recap
Taking to the road for the first time in over 10 days, the Royals took an early 3-0 lead against the Tigers thanks to a pair of singles. The Tigers struck back in the second, getting one back on a home run off the bat of J.D. Martinez followed by taking the lead in the third thanks to another home run, this time courtesy of Miguel Cabrera. Detroit would cap the scoring for the game in the fourth thanks to an RBI single from Ian Kinsler.
Justin Verlander ended up with a quality start for the Tigers despite his early struggles. The veteran pitcher lasted seven innings, gave up nine hits and struck out eight. It was Verlander’s fifth win of the year.
Overall, neither team played particularly well in the second half of the game. The two combined for just 20 hits and went just 5-of-23 with runners in scoring position. They combined to leave 15 runners on base as well.
Game 2 Pitching Preview with Betting Predictions & Picks
At initial glance, the Tigers seem to have the pitching advantage in Game 2. They’ll send Daniel Norris to the mound, who is coming off of strong starts in two of this last three as well as quality starts of at least five innings pitched in his last eight consecutively. Norris did lose his last start against the Seattle Mariners but he has a strong track record against the Royals in his career, with only two current players managing to record RBIs off of him.
He’ll be opposed by Ian Kennedy for the Royals. Kennedy has allowed a home run in 10 straight starts and the last time he faced the Tigers, the righty gave up five earned runs in just three innings. His season numbers are not any better as Kennedy has just one win in 13 starts and an ERA of 4.95.
It was Verlander bouncing back after allowing a three run first that helped the Tigers to victory, but in Game 2, it’s very likely the story reverts back to the offenses of the two teams as both pitchers are vulnerable to giving up runs in bulk.
Given what we know about both teams and their offense, the Tigers do seem to have the slightly better attack. Not to mention, Detroit has been the hotter team lately, as demonstrated in the Game 1 victory.
So, with those thoughts in mind, we turn to a way to beat the USA betting companies. Here are this preview’s Game 2 betting picks and predictions:
- Bovada sets the runline at 1.5 in favor of the Tigers and it’s likely Detroit covers this spread in another victory at home @ odds of +150 with Intertops Sportsbook, MyBookie or 5Dimes.
- As for the total, expect it to exceed the 9.5 set by the sportsbooks @ -115 with MyBookie.