The Mariners’ series against Kansas City has been completely off the rails. Between blown leads and a Bobby Witt Jr. inside-the-park home run, Seattle is putting its fan base through the ringer. Will Thursday’s series finale bring more entertainment? The Mariners will hope George Kirby, coming off one of the best starts of his career, is the star of the show.
The Mariners are heavy road favorites at -240 on the moneyline. Let’s make predictions for Thursday’s matchup and take a look at why trusting Kirby’s arm is the way to go.
Mariners vs. Royals Prediction
The Royals and Mariners have been trading runs in this series. Those typically aren’t the type of games that produce one-run games, but two of the first three games were decided by just a run. If one offense is going to slow down, it’s Kansas City’s.
Kirby is pitching like a Cy Young contender right now, and he’s among the safest pitchers to bet on because of his pristine control. The Royals rarely walk, so this is a recipe for problems. Unless the Royals find a way to string together hits against him, Kirby will be tough to beat.
Lost in the noise of the Mariners’ bullpen melting down is the fact Seattle’s lineup is actually looking as good as it has all season right now. The right move is to trust the Mariners’ offense against Cole Ragans and a disastrous Royals bullpen. Kirby should give bettors enough confidence to take Seattle’s spread at -125.
Mariners vs. Royals Prediction: Mariners -1.5 (-125)
Mariners vs. Royals Odds
Aug. 17, 1:10 PM Spread Moneyline Total Odds updated August 17th, 2023, at 3:49 pm
SEA @ KC
Aug. 17, 1:10 PM
Odds updated August 17th, 2023, at 3:49 pm
The Mariners enter as road favorites at -240 on the moneyline. The over/under is 8.5 runs.
It’s not a surprise to see the Mariners favored, even with how chaotic this series has been. George Kirby should allow Seattle to limit its use of a struggling bullpen, and the Royals, despite Bobby Witt Jr.’s recent tear, do not have a lineup built to give him a real challenge.
Mariners vs. Royals Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Mariners vs. Royals.
Royals Lineup vs. George Kirby’s Control
The Royals are dead last in the league in walks with 2.44 per game. No starter has better control than Kirby. That’s not a great combination for Kansas City.
Kirby leads all qualified starters with just 0.9 walks per nine innings, almost a baffling figure with 131 strikeouts to 14 walks all season. His control allows him to give the Mariners length, as he’s lasted into the seventh inning or later in 14 of his 23 starts this season.
Are the Royals the type of team built to make life difficult for Kirby? The 25-year-old has been prone to giving up more hits than he’d like. If there’s one thing the Royals do well, they do make decent contact – they’re 12th in home AVG (.257). Aside from Witt, however, it’s just tough to have confidence in the Royals stringing together hits against a pitcher with such momentum right now.
Mariners Lineup vs. Royals’ Bullpen
The Royals’ bullpen has a 6.39 ERA in the month of August, and its -0.8 WAR is 29th in the league ahead of only the Mets since the month began. The Mariners have already taken advantage of the unit in between their own bullpen implosions, and the advantage could be the difference for Seattle on Thursday.
If it’s indeed Cole Ragans on the mound for the Royals, it’ll be important for him to give Kansas City length. He actually lasted into the seventh inning two starts ago, but he saw his pitch count get driven up to 93 in five innings against the Cardinals his last time out.
Whenever the Mariners do get to the Royals’ bullpen, a close game could quickly turn into a mismatch if Kirby gives Seattle more length than Ragans gives Kansas City.
Mariners vs. Royals Starting Lineups
Mariners Starting Lineup
CF Julio Rodriguez R
3B Eugenio Suarez R
1B Ty France R
C Cal Raleigh S
RF Teoscar Hernandez R
DH Dominic Canzone L
LF Cade Marlowe L
SS Jose Caballero R
2B Josh Rojas L
Royals Starting Lineup
3B Maikel Garcia R
SS Bobby Witt Jr. R
2B Michael Massey L
C Salvador Perez R
LF MJ Melendez L
1B Matt Beaty L
RF Drew Waters S
DH Nelson Velazquez R
CF Kyle Isbel L