All major league teams will take the field Sunday, May 2, and we’ll see 15 exciting games, as nothing stands out as a slam dunk. I’m taking a closer look at the AL Central showdown at Target Field in Minneapolis, so here’s my best Kansas City Royals vs. Minnesota Twins betting pick.
The Royals and Twins will wrap up a three-game series. Minnesota smashed Kansas City as a -140 home fave in the opener Friday night, 9-1, and the Twins opened as -137 favorites for Saturday’s middle contest. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, they are -167 favorites to win the closer, while the Royals sit at +157 moneyline odds for Sunday’s game.
Kansas City surprisingly leads the AL Central
The Kansas City Royals dropped to 15-9 on the season following that heavy loss to the Twins on Friday. It was their second defeat in the previous three games, as the Royals struggled mightily against Michael Pineda and the Twins’ bullpen. They had only four hits and scored thanks to Carlos Santana’s sixth homer of the season.
The Royals are scoring 4.38 runs per game (tied-13th in the majors) while slashing .233/.302/.381. They hit only 22 home runs before Saturday’s clash against the Twins, and just four teams smacked fewer round-trippers than Kansas City so far this season. Still, the Royals were topping the AL Central on Saturday, 1.5 games ahead of the White Sox.
Brad Keller will get the starting nod Sunday, and the 25-year-old righty is 2-2 in five starts this term. Keller sports a terrible 9.00 ERA, 2.28 WHIP, and 13/11 K/BB ratio across 18 innings, so it’s fair to say that he’s been underperforming since an Opening Day when Brad yielded six earned runs on nine hits through 1.1 innings of work.
Kansas City is only 2-9 in Brad Keller’s last 11 starts away from home. The righty is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in five career starts against the Twins.
Minnesota looks to bounce back from a rough April
The Minnesota Twins are one of the unpleasant surprises of the season so far, no doubt. At least, they finished April with a couple of impressive displays, dismantling the Indians 10-2 and Royals 9-1 to improve to 9-15 on the young season.
The Twins are tallying 4.62 runs per game, enough for the ninth-most in the MLB. They are seventh in batting average (.241), 13th in on-base percentage (.311), and sixth in slugging percentage (.413). However, the Twins are yielding 4.54 runs per contest (21st in the majors) while recording the third-fewest putouts (619).
Jose Berrios will toe the slab Sunday, and he’s 2-2 with a 3.04 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in five starts this season. The 26-year-old righty owns a 33/8 K/BB ratio through 26.2 frames of work, but the Twins went 0-3 in his previous three starts. Berrios is 3-4 with a 4.66 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 15 career starts against the Royals.
- 1-5 in the last six games against Minnesota
- 2-9 in Brad Keller’s last 11 starts on the road
- 10-2 in the last 12 home tilts against Kansas City
- 11-1 in the last 12 home games against the AL Central
The Twins’ pitching staff has to improve a lot in further days, as Minnesota’s relievers own the fifth-worst ERA in baseball (4.59). Also, Minnesota’s bullpen leads the majors with eight losses. I’m expecting a much better performance Sunday against the Royals, while the Twins’ prolific offense should finally help Jose Berrios who’s been solid through his first five starts in 2021.
On the other side, the Royals’ relievers have a 4.37 ERA (21st in the majors), while Brad Keller allowed eight hits to the hapless Tigers in his previous outing. I’m looking for the Twins’ offense to make the difference.
Pick: Take Minnesota Twins at -167
The under has hit in 11 of the last 14 encounters between the Royals and Twins, but their previous four meetings, excluding Saturday’s game, produced nine or more runs in total.
As I’ve mentioned, both teams have some problems with their pitching staff. They know each other very well, so I think the batters have an advantage in this one, especially with some tired arms in the bullpen at the end of the week.
Pick: Go over 8.5 runs at -120