Baseball can be unpredictable and even cruel at times, and over the past few days, the Boston Red Sox have brought that notion to life. Following their epic ninth-inning baserunning blunder and managerial call-out by Alex Cora, the Red Sox turned around yesterday and played as bad as a team could play, which resulted in them getting swept by the Blue Jays.
Now the Royals are in town, and we’ll preview the series' opening game before going over which prop market I’ll be targeting for my play.
Over the weekend, the Kansas City Royals’ seven-game win streak ended during their series with the Phillies. However, even in their two losses in the series, the Royals’ offense continued the absolute tear they have been on. With an 8-4 loss yesterday, the Royals could not secure a third straight series win, but they did make it eight of their last ten games in which they scored four more runs.
All four of yesterday’s runs came in the first two innings, as MJ Melendez's solo home run in the second was the last time Kansas City was able to cross home plate for the rest of the game. Looking to start another win streak tonight, the Royals will send young left-hander Cole Ragans to the mound for his 3rd start with the team. Ragans has been solid since being acquired by the Rangers, allowing just one earned run over 11 innings and picking up his first win during his last outing against the Mets with eight strikeouts.
The Red Sox team that Cole Ragans will face tonight is arguably coming off their worst loss of the season. Manager Alex Cora made it clear how unhappy with the team he was through multiple quotes to the media over the past two days, and it’s understandable not to be happy with a team that was swept by another team in the AL playoff race. The series culminated yesterday in a 13-1 loss in which a Tristan Casas home run would be the only offense.
In desperate need of snapping a four-game losing skid, Alex Cora will have Brayan Bello on the mound for his 19th start of the season. The young right-hander had a rough go of it during his last outing in Seattle, allowing four earned runs on seven hits across six innings of work.
Brayan Bello’s walks-allowed prop is currently set at 1.5, and I’ll be taking the under at (-146) for my play. The right-hander has issued two free passes in three straight starts, but he is still averaging 1.4 per game over his last ten games and faces a Royals lineup tonight that does not draw a lot of walks.
No team in the MLB has seen fewer 2-0 counts than the Kansas City Royals, as they have a 2-0 count seen percentage of 11.6%, while the league average is 13.7%. That stat has partially led to the team ranking 28th in walk percentage against right-handed pitching on the road over the last month at a measly 5%. It also doesn’t help that the Royals are tied for 28th in average pitches seen per plate appearance this season.
With all that said, this is the perfect matchup for Bello to focus on his command and get back into form a bit. Until this recent three-game stretch, Bello was on a streak of four straight games with one walk or fewer, and he comes into tonight still in the 76th percentile for walk percentage. Between his first pitch strike percentage at 64% and the Royals' lack of discipline at the plate, I think this is a good spot to target the young righty.
Brayan Bello Under 1.5 Walks (-146)