MLB Regular Season

Matchup: Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers

Date/Time: August 5, 7:08 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: Johnny Cueto (7-6, 2.70) vs. Matt Boyd (0-2, 14.85)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: Kansas City -165

Total: 8

It gets a little bit easier for Johnny Cueto in his second career start as a member of the American League when the Kansas City Royals take on the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night. It can’t be easy when the degree of difficulty starts at the top and gradually comes down, but that’s what Cueto faces here, after taking on the Toronto Blue Jays in his first start. The Tigers will counter with Matt Boyd in his first start with his new club. The Royals are a big favorite over the Tigers, who continue their 2015 transitional phase.

The 2015 season has completely represented a changing of the guard in the American League Central. The Royals have proven that last season was no fluke and the Tigers are now in a rebuilding mode that will keep them out of first place for the foreseeable future. The Tigers and former GM Dave Dombrowski had an amicable break-up on Tuesday, as there seemed to be a disconnect between ownership and GM. The Tigers needed to trade David Price and Yoenis Cespedes, but that goes against what Ilitch wants since he is approximately 200 years old and simply wants a World Series before he dies, regardless of the cost. Who would have thought we’d see a day where the Royals were in better shape than the Tigers?

Part of the reason why is because they were in position to trade for somebody like Johnny Cueto. This is as near-sighted as it gets for a general manager and Dayton Moore pulled the trigger. In getting Cueto and Ben Zobrist, the Royals traded away their pitching prospect pool to go for a World Series this season. Isolating Cueto as the guy to target was the right move. Cueto was 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA, a 3.15 FIP, and a 3.47 xFIP with the Reds this season. He has true front of the rotation upside and stuff and that’s just what the Royals needed.

Cueto struggled a bit in his first start, in the sense that he gave up three runs to the best offense in the league, but that’s hardly cause for concern. Cueto still struck out more than a batter per inning after having his life and career uprooted. He will take the mound in this start far more relaxed after all of last week’s drama and that’s a scary spot for the Tigers. Cueto should be just fine going forward, which is why he is a -165 favorite on the road against a pretty decent lineup.

(edit: The original write-up had Buck Farmer as the Tigers starter)

Matt Boyd made one rocky start for the Toledo Mud Hens and now he’s making his next start in the Major Leagues. Boyd was the second piece in the trade between the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers for David Price. Boyd popped up on the scene as basically a non-prospect after adding velocity through a training program with Driveline Baseball. In his small two-start sample with the Blue Jays, the control numbers were good, but the command was not good. He allowed five home runs in 6.2 innings of work.

Boyd has had some solid minor league numbers, though the timing of his call-up does seem a little bit strange. The Tigers were poised to go with Buck Farmer, but made a late change to the rotation to give Boyd a look against a tough Royals lineup. Boyd has a standard four-pitch mix for a lefty, but he is predominantly a fastball/slider guy without a third pitch right now. It’s interesting that Farmer has struggled so much in his limited Major League experience, just like Boyd, but the line did not move at all with the pitching change.

MLB Prediction: Kansas City Royals

I’m not a proponent of laying -160, so this is a spot where I’d look to take the run line. The Tigers are still swinging the bats fairly well, but Cueto is a different animal for this offense. Also, the Royals should get a lot of good swings off of Boyd. His command problems are a big concern against a lineup that makes a lot of contact and can punish some bad pitches.