Two big division matchups on national TV on Sunday as the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals battle for the AL Central and the Cincinnati Reds take on the St. Louis Cardinals.
Matchup: Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals
Date/Time: September 21, 2:10 p.m. ET
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: DET: Rick Porcello (15-11, 3.19) v. KC: Jeremy Guthrie (11-11, 4.35)
Moneyline: Detroit -105
In the biggest series in a long time, the Royals have fallen completely flat. Kansas City dropped the first two games of the series at home to the Detroit Tigers. They’re now 2.5 games behind in the AL Central standings. Sunday’s game is a must win for the Royals if they want to have any chance in the AL Central and it’s a big game for wild card positioning as well. The Royals dropped to 9-9 in September and the Tigers are 12-6. The Tigers have also won 13 of the 18 meetings against the Royals.
Rick Porcello will take the mound with a chance to sweep the Royals right out of the AL Central race. Porcello has been very good for the Tigers this season, in part because of the improved defense. But, he has also improved his walk rate this season to help his statistics. As a guy that mostly pitches to contact, the fewer baserunners, the better off Porcello will be. Since his June 20 start against the Indians, Porcello has a 2.58 ERA. Despite the great ERA, he’s just 7-7 and the Tigers are just 7-10 in those 17 starts. In his last six starts, Porcello has a 2.83 ERA, but he is just 2-3 and the Tigers are just 2-4.
Jeremy Guthrie continues to be an innings eater for the Royals. Over his last six outings, Guthrie has three spectacular outings and three bad outings. He has allowed 17 of the 20 runs in three starts and has allowed just three runs in the other three starts. That’s basically Guthrie’s season in a nutshell, as he has allowed four or more runs in 15 of his 30 starts. Guthrie has a 3.99 ERA since the All-Star Break and the Royals are 7-4 in those starts. Guthrie is 6-3 after starting the season 5-8 in the first half.
Porcello will be facing the Royals for the 19th time. In 18 previous starts, Porcello is 8-4 with a 4.10 ERA. This season, Porcello is 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA in three starts. He has allowed less than one baserunners per inning in those three starts. The Tigers are 16-13 for a profit of 2.29 units in his 29 starts.
Guthrie will be facing the Tigers for the 22nd time overall and the 19th time as a starter. In his career, Guthrie is 8-7 with a 4.77 ERA. This season, Guthrie is 1-2 with a 10.13 ERA against the Tigers. The Royals are 17-13 in Guthrie’s 30 starts for a profit of 4.81 units.
Free MLB Pick: Detroit Tigers
The Royals have collapsed under the pressure of this series so far and Guthrie is not the guy that the Royals want on the mound in this game. Porcello has been very strong all season long. Even though the Royals are a tough matchup for him as a team with good speed and a lot of contact hitters, they’re spiraling out of control in this series and have been owned by the Tigers to date.
Matchup: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals
Date/Time: September 21, 8:05 p.m. ET
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: CIN: Alfredo Simon (14-10, 3.35) v. STL: Lance Lynn (15-9, 2.68)
The St. Louis Cardinals just keep on winning in their pursuit of the NL Central title. They’ll have a favorable matchup on Sunday night against the Cincinati Reds and Alfredo Simon. The Cardinals are 14-5 in the month of September and the Reds are now 13 games under .500. The Cardinals will be going for a sweep on Sunday night.
Alfredo Simon had a tremendous start to the season with a 12-3 record and a 2.70 ERA entering the All-Star Break. Since then, Simon is 2-7 with a 4.46 ERA. The Reds are 2-10 in his last 12 starts. He was seriously overachieving early in the season and his sabermetric numbers suggested that heavy regression was on the way. It hit and it hit in a big way. His last two starts have been very good with two runs allowed over 14 innings.
Lance Lynn has been one of the National League’s best pitchers on the season. Over his last 23 starts, Lynn has a 2.30 ERA and opposing batters have hit just .233 in that span. The Cardinals are 14-9 in those starts. Lynn has allowed four or more runs just four times on the season. He has also allowed two runs or less in 21 of his 31 starts on the season. That’s an impressive display of consistency.
Simon is facing the Cardinals for the 17th time in his career and the third time as a starter. He has had a lot of success with a 2-0 record and a 3.34 ERA. This season, Simon is 1-0 with a 3.65 ERA in his two starts against the Cardinals. The Reds are 17-13 for a profit of 5.81 units in Simon’s 30 starts.
Lynn is facing the Reds for the 14th time in his career and 11th time as a starter. Lynn is 6-2 with a 3.66 ERA against the Reds in 64 innings of work. This season, Lynn is 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA against the Reds. The Cardinals are 19-12 for a profit of 5.27 units in Lynn’s 31 starts.
Free MLB Pick: St. Louis Cardinals
Don’t be afraid to lay the price here as Simon reaches new career-highs in innings and the Cardinals rush towards the postseason. Lynn has been their most consistent starter this season and he’s worth the big price in this outing.