The Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Guardians continue their series on Monday night at Progressive Field.
Kansas City is 64-95 on the season and they are at the bottom of the AL Central Division team standings. The Royals have dropped five out of their last six games played heading to Monday’s contest. They are out of playoff contention and are merely looking to finish the season on a high note.
Cleveland is 90-65 on the campaign and they are on top of the AL Central Division standings. The Guardians head to this game having won eight out of their last 10 games played. Cleveland is heading to the playoffs as the 3rd seed in the AL playoffs.
The Royals are one of the worst teams in baseball this season and have the second-worst record in the AL this year. As the season is coming to an end, that has not changed as Kansas City has dropped five out of their last six outings. They were swept by the Detroit Tigers last week before losing two out of the first three games of this series.
Right-hander Zack Greinke will open on top of the mound for the Royals. He threw seven scoreless innings against Detroit last Thursday, striking out two while allowing four hits. Arguably, it was Greinke’s best game of the season, and it lowered his season ERA to 3.98. Bobby Witt leads the team with 147 hits including 20 home runs. Salvador Perez has 113 hits and 76 RBIs.
The Guardians looked like they were going to drop out of the playoff race in early September when they fell four games below the .500 mark. But the Guardian fought back and have won 22 out of their last 27 games played to run away with the AL Central and clinch the division title last week. The Guardians have won two out of the first three games of this series including a 7-5 win on Sunday. They are currently tied with the Toronto Blue Jays with the third-best record in their conference.
Tristan McKenzie will start for the Guardians on Monday. The right-hander conceded one earned run on three hits with one walk while picking up six strikeouts across six innings against the Tampa Bay Rays last week. McKenzie has recorded four straight quality starts and has allowed only six earned runs in a total of 28 innings pitched during that period. Amed Rosario leads the Guardians with 176 hits while left-fielder Steven Kwan has 166 hits. Jose Ramirez has driven in 122 runs with 29 home runs for the Guardians this season.
The Royals are 19-40 in their last 59 games played against the Guardians. Kansas City is 17-41 SU in their last 58 meetings in Cleveland.
Kansas City Royals betting trends:
Cleveland The Guardians betting trends:
There is no doubt that the Guardians are the better team in this matchup and that they are the team that is playing better this season. They also have the advantage with the better starting pitcher on the mound on Monday night. However, Cleveland is the third seed in the AL and with a postseason berth already clinched, this game has no bearing for them.
The Guardians are favored to win this game for a reason but this looks like a steep price to pay for a team that doesn’t need this win. Meanwhile, Greinke is coming off a strong start, possibly his best start of the entire 2022 season. With nothing to play for, he would like nothing more than a strong finish, and that should give good value to the Guardians in this game.
Prediction: Cleveland Guardians
The total has gone over in each of the last three meetings between these two teams. The over is also 4-1 in their last five meetings in Cleveland.
Kansas City Royals over/under trends:
Cleveland Guardians over/under trends:
McKenzie has been very good for the Guardians this season and this being his last start of the regular campaign, he will want to keep that good form before the start of the playoffs. However, the offense might not be as interested to do well here with nothing more to prove.
Greinke is coming off a fantastic start where he pitched seven scoreless innings and was able to reduce his ERA to below 4.00. No doubt, he will want to keep it that way. It will also be a good way to close a not-so-good season for him and the Royals.
This total is the lowest of Monday in the MLB. However, given the situation, Cleveland is in and the opponent they are facing, there’s great value on the under. I’m backing the pitchers here instead of the offenses. These two teams have scored an average of under 8 runs in their last 10 head-to-head meetings. Cleveland’s lack of motivation here should push the score under the total.
Prediction: Under 7
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