First pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Kohei Arihara (0-0, -.-- ERA) vs. Mike Minor (0-0, -.-- ERA)
Texas Rangers vs. Kansas City Royals Predictions
A football affair broke out in Kansas City on Opening Day, except it played out at Kaufman Stadium instead of Arrowhead.
There were numerous bursts of runs, including a 10-spot (five from each team) in the first inning alone. At the end, it was the Royals outlasting Texas, 14-10, to claim one of the wildest openers in years.
So two days later in the teams’ second game, why would I think about corralling the under? Well, get in a chair and listen.
Minor is getting the nod for KC, making his first start with the franchise after inking a deal this offseason. Most curious is that it comes against the club whom he just spent 2.5 years with and — let’s be real — where he revitalized his big league career.
The lefty even enjoyed his first trip to the All-Star Game as a member of the Rangers in 2019, when he went 14-10 with a solid 3.59 ERA while notching 200 innings and 200 strikeouts. He’s still good.
Though Minor didn’t produce ideal numbers a season ago (1-6, 5.56 ERA), he can be excused like anyone that endured their struggles in the pandemic-shortened-and-conditioned campaign. Plus, he did end the year on a high note.
Considering everything surrounding the veteran, I like him in this spot, too, opposite his former mates, as the Rangers registered the third-lowest team OPS (.642) in baseball last year against left-handed pitching. Plus, Minor will definitely be more charged emotionally than usual.
On the other end of this pitching equation is another veteran, though one that hasn’t appeared in the Majors yet until he’s on the hill today. Enter 28-year-old Arihara.
The Japanese import, who was also a former early first-round pick, pitched in NPB for a handful of years and enjoyed success there. Of course, MLB is a jump up in competition but something I believe Arihara can handle, at least early on.
Deception is a big thing with Arihara, who also throws 92-93 on the radar gun. Having not seen the right-hander, this can be considerably beneficial for him here.
After logging 132 innings a year ago, it’s also possible Arihara is given a more sizable workload than most starters for their first starting assignment of the year.
Taking on a total as high as 9.5, I feel pretty good betting there will be enough quality starting pitching on display to keep this contest from getting way out of hand.
Pick: UNDER 9.5 @ -120
Saturday's MLB Leans
Blue Jays-Yankees Over 9
Twins-Brewers Under 7.5
2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 2-0, +2 units
Yesterday’s Result: Diamondbacks-Padres Under 8.5 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit