The Kansas City Royals try to snap a five-game losing streak when they take on the Oakland Athletics in the opener of a four-game weekend series on Thursday night. The first pitch is scheduled for 9:40 pm ET at Oakland Coliseum.
Kansas City is coming off a three-game sweep by the Los Angeles Angels, dropping it to 29-31. The Royals enter in third place in the AL Central, 3½ games behind the second-place Cleveland Indians and 4½ games ahead of the fourth-place Detroit Tigers.
Oakland has won two in a row, sweeping a short series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Athletics are 37-26 and in first place in the AL West, one game ahead of the second-place Houston Astros and six games in front of the third-place Seattle Mariners.
The MLB odds have the Athletics with a moneyline of -143, while the Royals are listed at +128. The over/under for the series opener is set at eight runs.
The frustrations are mounting for the Royals, who have dropped five straight after a five-game winning streak, scoring a total of 10 runs over the losing streak. Wednesday’s 6-1 loss showed how close Kansas City is to winning games, as it loaded the bases in the first inning but came away with no runs.
“We don’t capitalize on those opportunities, it deflates,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said after Wednesday’s loss. “It’s something I don’t necessarily want to be true, but it is. (Los Angeles pitcher Griffin Canning) out there with some swing-and-miss sliders, it’s easier said than done, but I know this group can get it done.”
Second baseman Whit Merrifield enters with a 10-game hit streak, as he’s batting .268 with five home runs and 36 RBI. The leadoff hitter has scored a team-high 38 runs.
Catcher Salvador Perez leads the Royals with 14 home runs and 40 RBI, batting .278. Outfielder Andrew Benintendi has a team-best .284 batting average, but he went 0-for-7 in two games against the Angels.
Left-hander Mike Minor will make his 13th start. The 33-year-old is 4-3 with a 4.84 ERA, having struck out 73 and walked 23 in 67 innings.
He’s coming off a rough outing in his last start against Minnesota on Saturday. Minor went seven innings but allowed five runs on seven hits, including three home runs, while striking out five and walking one.
Keep it Going
Right-hander Frankie Montas will make the start for Oakland. Montas is 6-5 with a 4.52 ERA, striking out 65 and walking 18 over 63⅔ innings.
Montas pushed his record above .500 with a win against Colorado last Friday. He went five innings and allowed three runs on six hits, striking out two and walking one. That snapped a personal three-game losing streak for Montas.
Outfielder Mark Canha broke out of a two-game hitless streak with a 2-for-4 day on Wednesday, hitting a triple and driving in two while scoring twice. Canha has 10 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs, and 25 RBI, leading baseball with 49 runs scored.
First baseman Matt Olson leads Oakland with a .276 batting average, 15 home runs, and 41 RBI. Third baseman Matt Chapman is going through a rough stretch over the last four games, with just two hits and six strikeouts, and his 80 strikeouts this season are tied for the most in baseball.
Athletics Take Opener
Oakland has been playing well while the Royals are on a tough slide and on the road. Montas should be able to keep the Kansas City offense in check, as the Athletics take the series opener.
When making your MLB betting picks, take Oakland to get the win at home.
Pick: Oakland Athletics -143