Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 9:00 PM
For years, it would have been hard to imagine anyone but team loyalists getting excited about a three-game Interleague series featuring the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago Cubs. In terms of pure baseball excitement, that might have been near the bottom of the list.
Now…it’s a SHOWCASE series because the Kansas City Royals are the defending American League champions who are still young and hungry enough to be chomping at the bit to get back to the Fall Classic and WIN. And, the Chicago Cubs are now a resurgent franchise that’s already in great shape to earn a Wildcard berth this season under their relatively new management regime.
And all that young talent!
This is going to be a fun series at Wrigley Field. Let’s run through some key indicator stats and this weekend’s probable pitchers…
Kansas City: 4.67 runs per game, .330 on-base, .422 slugging
Chicago Cubs: 4.10 runs per game, .319 on-base, .386 slugging
Important to remember that Kansas City plays in the American League, where Designated Hitters are used. So, the differences you see above overstate their head-to-head advantage offensively. They are still the better run-producers once you adjust for the leagues…though some statheads will tell you that the Royals continue to hit in good luck. Advantage Royals with the bats…but not one that can’t be overcome with Cubs pitching.
Edinson Volquez: 2.77 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 6.3 K-Rate, 6.1 IP-per-Start
Jake Arrieta: 2.95 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 9.6 K-Rate 6.4 IP-per-Start
Amazing that Edinson Volquez is once again an effective pitcher. He seemed washed up a couple of years ago! His IP-per-star rate is still fairly generic, as is his strikeout total. But, if he can go six effective innings before handing off to Kansas City’s elite bullpen…then he’s going to get a lot of wins this season. Arrieta has ace caliber numbers for the Cubs…as he’s closer to six-and-a-half innings per start with a nice K-Rate. Tough call. Just remember that Volquez is posting that ERA and WHIP in the superior offensive league.
Yordano Ventura: 4.64 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 7.1 K-Rate 6.0 IP-per-Start
Jason Hammel: 2.98 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 8.7 K-Rate 6.7 IP-per-Start
Ventura has been a disappointing for the Royals. You can deduce from that stat line that he’s prone to allowing big blows and big innings. A WHIP of 1.23 shouldn’t result in such a big ERA. There’s some margin for error because the Royals have so much else going right for them this season. But, Ventura better get it figured out quick, or the team will experiment with other arms in his rotation spot. Big edge to Hammel, who joins Arrieta on the list of Cubs pitchers posting ace caliber stats thus far. Hammel’s are even better!
Jeremy Guthrie: 6.70 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 3.5 K-Rate 5.4 IP-per-Start
Tsuyoshi Wada: 2.70 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 13.5 K-Rate 5.0 IP-per-Start
Interesting matchup here. Guthrie’s having a poor season. He just got rocked by the Yankees the last time out, which make the stats look a bit worse than his true overall performance. But, it’s still been bad by 2015 “era of the pitcher” standards. He barely gets any strikeouts! Wada has only pitched twice for a total of 10 innings. You can see that he gets a bunch of strikeouts per inning…but that keeps him from lasting very long. He’s also allowed one HR in each of his two starts, which is likely to be an issue going forward. Definitely a spot to think about the Over, particularly if weather conditions are helping hitters. The Cubs would make sense if you’re confident that Wada can supply five decent innings vs. an AL power. Is that justified?
JIM HURLEY loves handicapping Interleague baseball, and will likely have at least one big play in this series. Be sure you check in for BEST BETS every day right here at the website. You can purchase those easily and conveniently with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours Friday or this weekend before the first games start. (And don’t forget that the Belmont is coming up!)
More baseball for the next few days here in the NOTEBOOK. Here’s what’s on tap…
Saturday: MLB Big Game Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals
Sunday: MLB Handicapping Notes
Monday: MLB Series Preview: New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners
Tuesday: MLB Series Preview: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals
Wednesday: NBA Championship Preview…Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors
We had to choose between Royals/Cubs and Dodgers/Cardinals for our weekend series preview. We decided that everything’s more fun in Wrigley! We’ll talk about Dodgers/Cardinals tomorrow…with some bonus notes for the Sunday finale in that series as well. Basketball returns Wednesday as we post an extended preview for the NBA Finals that begin Thursday night.
This is a great time to be a Las Vegas sports bettor…with so much going on in all the major sports. Hook up with a proven winner! You know you’re going to get BIG, JUICY WINNERS from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!
Be sure to follow:
Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley
Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters