With the trade deadline looming large, let’s dive into a matchup featuring two teams that are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs- one that expected to be in this position, and one that did not. Let’s take a look at this Friday Night clash between the Yankees and the Royals, where my prediction is under 9 runs and a Yankees win.
Royals Vs. Yankees Prediction
As I mentioned, both of these teams are outside of the playoff picture, but not really in the same way. The Yankees are 3.5 games away from a Wild Card spot, and they were in one for most of the first half. Conversely, the Royals are 26 games back from that same spot, which they haven’t come close to touching all season. They’re only a game ahead of the A’s, which is genuinely pretty incredible since Oakland seems to be reenacting the first half of the excellent baseball film Major League, as they’re losing games in an attempt to relocate the franchise.
The shocking thing is that lately, the Yankees have been as bad, if not worse than, the Royals. Kansas City has won three of their last ten games, while New York has won just two, including one in their past six, and none of their past four. They’re coming off of series losses to the Rockies and the Angels, the latter of which was a sweep. The team is truly bottoming out, and the one strange bright spot has been Friday’s starter, Clarke Schmidt.
Schmidt actually did throw the one win against Colorado, and has been much better of late after a disastrous start to the season. In the month of June, he tossed an ERA just over 3.00, and is 2-0 so far in July. He’ll be squaring off against Alec Marsh, who is just 3 starts into his Major League career, but was pretty sharp in the two following his debut as he allowed just two earned runs in each.
As rough as things have been for the Bronx Bombers lately, I do have to take them on the -1.5 run line against a team that has been truly dreadful all year. Schmidt has been a lot better over the past several weeks, and I trust him to do the job against the league’s second worst offense by runs per game, and third worst by OPS. On a very related note, I like the under, the Yankees lineup has been dreadful as well, and Marsh has shown a lot of positives early on as he gets his career started.
Royals Vs. Yankees Prediction: Yankees -1.5 (-105), u9 runs (-115)
Royals Vs. Yankees Odds
For a spread of 1.5 runs, the Yankees are favored with -105 odds to win by at least that much, while the Royals have -115 odds to keep it within that margin. The total is 9 runs, with the over set at -105 and the under -115.
Royals Vs. Yankees Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Royals Vs. Yankees.
Alec Marsh Vs. Power Hitters
Even in his better starts, Marsh has struggled to keep it in the park. That could be an issue against a Yankees offense that is not very good overall, at 22nd in the league in OPS, but definitely is able to hit homers, in which they are 5th in baseball.
Hilariously enough, Aaron Judge still leads the team in home runs by a good bit, with 19 in just 49 games, but he continues to be out with a toe injury. The active leader is Gleyber Torres with 14, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched this team; he’s really been the only steadily productive bat in the lineup. Next with 13 bombs is actually Anthony Volpe, who definitely has not been steady by any stretch, but has shown stretches of really good play, especially since Austin Wells tinkered with his swing over some chicken parm.
Fourth on the list is Giancarlo Stanton, who has not really been good as he’s hitting under .200, but has 12 homers in 47 games. As far as remaining hitters with double-digit home runs, it’s just Anthony Rizzo, who hasn’t hit a single homer in over 40 games, and Josh Donaldson, who is out with an injury. There’s definitely a couple of guys who can tag Marsh for a big fly, but this lineup is not in incredible shape overall.
Clarke Schmidt vs. Top Of The Lineup
As the season goes on, it’s become harder and harder to find weaknesses in Schmidt’s stat line, as his homers, walks, ERA and WHIP have all consistently fallen. So, let’s keep it simple and zone in on some of the best bats in the Royals lineup, the guys who can keep their team in this game.
Unsurprisingly, one of those guys is Salvador Perez. He’s not at his very best anymore at the age of 33, but with 15 homers, he’s one of the better offensive catchers you’ll find in the league. That number actually does not lead the team though, that honor goes to Bobby Witt Jr. with one more long ball, and also a team-best (among qualifiers) OPS of .739. Outfielder Dairon Blanco hasn’t been around for much of the season, but he’s made the most of his opportunities with a solid .738 OPS.
A few other guys are having pretty productive campaigns for KC, but several are hurt right now, including Vinnie Pasquantino, who recently opted for surgery. Overall, this is not a great lineup, and Schmidt’s ability to limit them is a key reason I have the Yankees covering the -1.5 spread in my Royals vs. Yankees prediction.
Royals Vs. Yankees Starting Lineups
Royals Starting Lineup
3B M. Garcia R
SS B. Witt Jr.
DH M. Melendez L
C S. Perez R
1B N. Pratto L
2B M. Massey L
RF D. Waters S
CF K. Isbel L
LF D. Blanco R
Yankees Starting Lineup
3B O. Peraza R
2B G. Torres R
DH G. Stanton R
1B A. Rizzo L
SS A. Volpe R
CF H. Bader R
LF I. Kiner-Falefa R
C K. Higashioka R
RF O. Cabrera S