Bet On ALDS Wild Card Matchup as Royals Host A’s in Winner-Take-AllJosh Bailey
The Kansas City Royals and Oakland A’s will square off Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium in a one-game, win-or-go-home American League Wild Card Game.
These former AL West rivals met once before in the postseason with Oakland sweeping Kansas City in three games in the division round of the strike-shortened 1981 season. Fast forward to 2014 and the Royals won five of the seven meetings this season, taking two of three in Oakland and three of four in Kansas City in a pair of August meetings.
— MLB (@MLB) September 29, 2014
Matchup: Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals
Athletics Starter: LH Jon Lester (16-11, 2.46, 220 Ks with Oakland and Boston).
Royals Starter: RH James Shields (14-8, 3.21).
When: Tuesday, September 30
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
Time: 8:07 PM ET
Betting Odds: Kansas City -123/Oakland +113
Season Series: Royals Won 5-2.
CF Coco Crisp (.246, 9 HRs, 47 RBIs, 19 SBs), DH Adam Dunn (.219, 22, 64, 159 Ks with Oakland and Chicago White Sox), 3B Josh Donaldson (.255, 29, 98, 31 2Bs), LF Brandon Moss (.234, 25, 81, 153 Ks), RF Josh Reddick (.264, 12, 54), SS Jed Lowrie (.249, 6, 50), 1B Stephen Vogt (.279, 9, 35), C Geovany Soto (.253, 1, 11 with Oakland and Texas), 2B Eric Sogard (.223, 1, 22).
SS Alcides Escobar (.285, 3, 50, 31 SBs), RF Nori Aoki (.285, 1, 43, 17) CF Lorenzo Cain (.301, 5, 53, 28), 1B Eric Hosmer (.270, 9, 58, 4), DH Billy Butler (.271, 9, 66), LF Alex Gordon (.266, 19, 74, 12), C Salvador Perez (.260, 19, 70), 2B Omar Infante (.252, 6, 66, 9), 3B Mike Moustakas (.212, 15, 54).
American League Wild Card Betting Analysis
The Kansas City Royals (89-73 SU, 73-81 O/U, 88-74 RL) have won two straight against the Oakland Athletics (88-74 SU, 77-76 O/U, 77-85 RL) and five of seven games this season overall.
Kansas City has a team batting average that is ranked fourth in all of baseball (2.63) while averaging 4.02 runs per game (14th) and 8.99 hits per contest.
The Royals also have a 3.51 team ERA (12th) and allows an average of 3.85 runs per contest defensively.
Kansas City is the first team in Major League Baseball history to ever make the postseason despite finishing last in the league in home runs and walks. The Royals ranked dead last in home runs with a paltry 95 while also finishing ninth in runs scored.
— MLB (@MLB) September 29, 2014
Kansas City doesn’t have a single player on its roster with more than 75 RBIs and not a single player with 20 or more home runs.
The Oakland A’s finished fourth in baseball in scoring by averaging a stellar 4.50 runs per game though they ranked in the middle or bottom third in almost every other meaningful offensive statistical category, including batting average (.222, 21st) and home runs (146, 13th).
Oakland also finished a spectacular third in team ERA (3.22) and fifth in quality starts (102), though they did rank 31st in errors with a whopping 111.
Jon Lester (16-11, 2.46 ERA) will take the mound for Oakland in the kind of contest they acquired the former Red Sox staff ace for. Lester is 2-1 in his last three starts with a fine, 1.80 ERA, though the left-hander was smacked around for five runs (three earned) on eight hits in 7.0 innings of a 5-4 loss to the Angels on Wednesday. Lester gave up three runs on six hits in 6.0 innings of an 11-3 win over the Royals the last time he faced them.
James Shields (14-8, 3.21) is 2-1 in his last three starts though he has compiled a high, 4.12 ERA over the stretch while allowing three earned runs in each outing.
Game Analysis: I know the Oakland A’s have made it kind of a perennial habit out of reaching the postseason with strong pitching and a mediocre offense, but I can’t go against a Kansas Coty Royals team that would appear to have a date with destiny this season after three decades of laughable futility.
What the Royals lack in flat-out offensive prowess, they more than make up for in other areas.
The Royals led the league in stolen bases and struck out fewer than any team in baseball this season. Also, no single player is expected to carry the team to victory as a host of players have stepped forward at different times during the season.
"A different hero every night,” said left fielder Alex Gordon.”We usually find a way get it done.
Not only that, but Oakland has struggled to score runs in the worst way lately, getting shut out seven times since July 31, not to mention the fact that the Royals have the best bullpen in the game today, thanks to their trio of flame-throwing late-inning hurlers.
Kelvin Herrera often takes the mound in the seventh inning and throws 100 mph. Veteran Wade Davis comes in to pitch the eight inning with his 98 mph fastball and closer Greg Holland throws 97 mph, and has 40 saves in consecutive seasons.
Oakland is 1-4 in their last five games against the Royals while K.C. has gone 7-1 in their last eight games against teams from the AL West and an identical 7-1 in James Shields’ last seven starts against teams from the AL West.
"We feel the game is over if we lead after six," said Gold Glove third baseman Mike Moustakos. That’s how good our pen is."
A lot of folks like the Oakland A’s to win this one-game wild card matchup, but I don’t. I love the Royals at home here behind ‘Big Game’ James Shields.