The Kansas City Royals look to put together back-to-back wins for the first time since July 24 when they take on the Boston Red Sox in the finale of a three-game series on Wednesday night. Kansas City snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 6-2 victory over Boston on Tuesday night.
The win pulled the Royals an even 30 games behind first-place Minnesota in the American League Central. Boston lost for the ninth time in 10 games to fall 15.5 games behind the red-hot Yankees in the American League East race. Even worse, the Red Sox dropped a game in the Wild Card race as well and now sit tied with the Texas Rangers, 6.5 games behind the second Wild Card spot currently held by Tampa Bay.
The moneyline for the series finale has the Kansas City Royals +250 and the Boston Red Sox -300. The over/under for the game has been set at 10.5.
Needing A Spark
The Royals will turn to Glenn Sparkman to take the mound to start the series finale. The right-hander is 3-7 on the season with a 5.58 ERA and has lost his last two decisions. Sparkman was solid against the Red Sox when he faced them in early June, going 5 1/3 innings and allowing just three hits and one run. He’s hoping to bounce back from his last outing, which saw him last just 4 2/3 innings against Minnesota, allowing six earned runs on six hits while walking three.
Jorge Soler provided the power in Tuesday night’s win for Kansas City, hitting two home runs and driving in four. Soler now has a team-best 31 home runs and 79 RBI on the season. Second baseman Whit Merrifield is another dangerous bat in the Royals’ lineup, leading the team with a .301 batting average to go along with 12 home runs, 55 RBI and a team-high 77 runs scored.
The Red Sox will look to get back on the winning track with Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound for the series finale. Rodriguez is 13-5 on the season with a 4.19 ERA, though he’s coming off his first loss since June 9 in his last start against the Yankees. In that game, Rodriguez went 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits and six walks. Still, he’s been the Red Sox’s most consistent starter this season and hasn’t lost back-to-back decisions since his first two of the season.
The Boston offense hasn’t been particularly bad during the 10-game stretch, scoring at least four runs in seven of those contests, but they’re going to need more production if the pitching — which has allowed at least five runs in each of those 10 games — can’t get better. The Red Sox saw their club-record 18-game streak of hitting a home run in a home game come to an end on Tuesday night. Reigning American League MVP Mookie Betts went 0-for-4 in the loss Tuesday and is hitting just .154 in August, with only one extra-base hit and three RBI.
Red Sox Get Win
Even if Boston is in a slump, it’s hard to believe they’ll drop the series finale. Rodriguez has been good all season long and should come out firing in this one. Kansas City also hasn’t shown any kind of consistency of late to put together two road wins against a desperate club. I’m taking Boston -300 to win the game.