First pitch: 6:40 p.m. ET
TV: MLB Network
Probable pitchers: Kris Bubic (0-2, 3.60 ERA) vs. Luis Castillo (0-2, 4.76 ERA
Kansas City Royals vs. Cincinnati Reds Predictions
Common thinking around baseball is that win-loss records for pitchers can be deceiving. That sentiment certainly may be applied to the two starters on tap for this evening’s Royals-Reds series opener.
Castillo is obviously the much more known entity here, especially after his superb campaign a year ago when he went 15-8 with a 3.40 ERA while finishing in the Top-10 in the National League in K’s (226). More impressively, Castillo shackled opposing hitters to a puny .202 average, which was actually the fifth-lowest in MLB among qualified starters.
There should be no doubt at this point that Castillo is a bonafide ace. Despite the fact he’s 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA through his first three assignments, he hasn’t even been bad at all (26/6 K:BB ratio in 17 innings of work) and thus, we can bank on those numbers norming out overall, beginning with this evening’s tilt at home.
While Great American Ball Park is known as a hitter’s park, Castillo has performed considerably better there. In fact, his career 3.27 ERA in Cincy is more than a full run better than it is on the road (4.28 ERA). Furthermore, Castillo owns an outstanding 1.02 WHIP and has limited opponents to a .202/.267/.353 slash line at home, whereas in his away outings, he’s registered a 1.35 WHIP while hitters have manufactured a .243/.324/.415 line.
Any time he takes the mound, Castillo has potential for a dominant showing. Such a gem could really be useful here to provide room for error in regards to the other starter in this affair — though that may not even be necessary if his first two major league starts are any indication.
A draft pick only two years ago, Bubic has looked more polished than most at this stage. Yes, the Stanford grad ultimately lost both his outings but the Royals couldn’t have really expected more out of Bubic, as the left-hander allowed only two earned runs in each of his assignments.
The 6-foot-3 hurler’s more recent work was his most impressive, handling a talented Chicago Cubs lineup pretty well and notching his first career quality start. Based on what he’s shown so far, there is plenty of reason to believe Bubic is prepped to succeed at this level right now.
As for his next showcase, it comes against an offense that is currently batting a mere .219 off southpaws in the early going. I’m looking for Bubic to simply keep it going and at least hang in there, which is all you really need when facing a counterpart that can hold down anybody.
For this over/under, I’m going to attempt to wait it out in case the number ticks up a half-run to 9 and I recommend everyone else does the same since it’s unlikely there’s any action in the other direction.
Bet: UNDER 8.5 (+100)
MLB Picks & Leans August 11
CHC/CLE Over 9
OAK/LAA Under 9
2020 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 5-11-2, -7.91 units
Yesterday’s Result: White Sox-Tigers Over 9 (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit