Two of baseball’s lowest-scoring offenses are set to square off at Progressive Field on Thursday as the Kansas City Royals (25-62) are on the road to face the Cleveland Guardians (42-44) for the first of a four-game series.
The Royals are in the midst of a seven-game road trip. They were just swept in three games against the Twins, dropping the finale 5-0 on Wednesday at Target Field. Kyle Isbel was 1 for 3 with a double.
The Guardians are in the midst of a seven-game homestand. They lost two of three against the Braves in their last series, dropping the finale 8-1 on Wednesday at Progressive Field. Steven Kwan went 2 for 5 with a double and one run.
The Guardians have won two of three in the season series between the AL Central rivals, although they dropped a close one 4-3 in 10 innings in their last meeting on June 29 at Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium. Aroldis Chapman threw one inning out of the bullpen to get the win.
ON THE MOUND
Jordan Lyles (1-11, 6.68 ERA) is set for the start for Kansas City. The righty allowed four runs over six innings in his last start, a 9-4 road win over the Rays on June 24. He earned the win, yielding eight hits while striking out two and walking one.
Lyles is making his first appearance against the Guardians this season. Lyles made one start against the Guardians in 2022, a 4-0 road victory for the Orioles on August 31. He allowed four hits over 6.2 scoreless innings, striking out two and walking three.
RHP Tanner Bibee (5-2, 3.46 ERA) gets the ball for Cleveland. It’s his first appearance of the season against the Royals. In his last start on Saturday, Bibee got the win on the road against the Cubs. He threw 5.2 scoreless innings and gave up three hits, striking out nine and walking two in the 6-0 victory.
AT THE PLATE
The Kansas City offense is averaging 3.7 runs per game for the season, the second lowest in the league, with a slash line of .232/.295/.371. Salvador Perez leads the team in OPS at .729.
The catcher is slashing .248/.287/.442 with 15 home runs, 40 RBIs, and 36 runs over 78 games. Against right-handed pitchers like Bibee this season, the Royals have a .654 OPS, second lowest in the league.
Perez also is the team’s most productive hitter against right-handers with a .798 OPS in 219 at-bats. Cleveland is slashing .248/.313/.371 for the season and averaging 4.0 runs per game, the fourth lowest in the league. Jose Ramirez leads the team with a .863 OPS.
The third baseman has 13 home runs, 52 RBIs, and 51 runs scored with a slash line of .287/.361/.502. The Guardians have a .689 OPS against right-handers in 2023. With a .956 OPS over 220 at-bats, Ramirez also has been their best hitter against right-handers.
HOME AND AWAY
Kansas City is on a four-game losing streak away from Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium, bringing their record to 12-31 in 2023. The Royals have scored 3.3 runs per game away from home while allowing 5.2 runs.
Cleveland has gone 21-21 at their home park this season, averaging 3.5 runs per game while surrendering 4.0. Cleveland is 8-2 in the last 10 games at Progressive Field between the teams with an average scoreline of 5.7-3.4.
The Royals are fifth in the AL Central, 19 games behind the division-leading Twins. The Guardians are second in the AL Central, two games behind the Twins.
SportsTips’ MLB Pick:
Cleveland Guardians -1.5 (-110)
Want up to a $1K risk-free bet for this pick?
Claim with today!
If you need more news, information, and predictions, head over to our MLB hub page for all your baseball needs!
*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.