The Cleveland Guardians and Kansas City Royals square off on Friday with first pitch set for 8:10 p.m. ET. The game takes place at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO and will only be available on local TV or through an MLB.tv subscription. Ths starting pitching matchup will feature the Guardians’ Aaron Civale and the Royals’ Brady Singer.
Have the Guardians (40-40) recovered from getting swept in a four-game series at Detroit? It was the first time in more than 35 years that Cleveland lost an entire four-game set versus the Tigers. The Guardians were outscored 28-10 during the series and they have scored just 17 runs in eight games this month. Star third baseman Jose Ramirez is slashing a mere .219/.266/.329 over his previous 19 games. Civale has rebounded from an absolutely wretched April (10.67 ERA) but he still isn’t the above-average hurler he was in 2021. In three starts since returning from the injured list on June 21, Civale has a 5.40 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP.
The big story for the Royals (30-51) is the health of rookie Bobby Witt Jr., who was not in the lineup Wednesday or Thursday after getting nailed on his right hand by a 96-mph fastball Tuesday. The good news is that he doesn’t have any structural damage, so he may be in the lineup tonight. Andrew Benintendi, who may be traded before the Aug. 2 deadline, has racked up multiple hits in eight of his past 10 games. Singer has not lived up to his first-round pedigree so far. There was hope that he may be turning a corner when he logged back-to-back starts with seven shutout innings. But since that stint in May, Singer has recorded a 5.54 ERA over his previous seven starts.
Guardians vs. Royals
Pitchers: Aaron Civale vs. Brady Singer
First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET
Guardians local broadcast: Bally Sports Great Lakes
Royals local broadcast: Bally Sports Kansas City
Live stream: MLB.tv (subscription)
Odds, picks & predictions
Run Line: Royals -1.5 (+170)
Run total: 8.5
Moneyline odds: Royals -130, Guardians +110
Moneyline pick: Royals -130
Even though both of these teams have had long cold snaps offensively this season, the over looks like a great play here. And even though Kansas City just lost three of four games to the Astros, they did score 22 runs in that series against one of the best teams in baseball. The Guardians, conversely, have given us absolutely no reason for optimism lately.
Player prop pick: Whit Merrifield OVER 0.5 runs scored (-110)
Merrifield’s stat line is still a far cry from what we’ve come to expect from the two-time AL leader in hits. But his production has ticked up over the past few weeks, with a .766 OPS since June 17. And he has been scoring with regularity. Merrifield has crossed the plate eight times in his previous seven games and 11 times in his previous 10.
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