The Boston Red Sox aim to be the first team in baseball to win 60 games in 2018 when they begin a series with the Kansas City Royals Friday night. The Red Sox took two of three from the Royals in Boston earlier this year, and they are now massive -310 favorites to win Friday night in Kansas City. The Boston Red Sox are -310 over Kansas City Royals.
After the Red Sox dropped two of three to the Yankees last weekend, their lead in the AL East is down to a single game. Of course, Boston has won seven in a row against teams other than the Yankees, including a three-game sweep of the Nationals earlier this week.
The Royals, meanwhile, are nursing a six-game losing streak, as they are merely playing out the season. They are neck and neck with the Orioles for the worst record in baseball, and things are only likely to get worse the rest of the season. The Royals have already traded away Jon Jay and Kelvin Herrera, with more trades likely before the end of the month.
The Ultimate Ace
It’s Chris Sale’s turn to take the mound for the Red Sox Friday night. In his last time out, Sale struck out 11 and allowed just one hit in seven shutout innings against the Yankees. After dominating the Bronx Bombers, facing the Royals may feel like pitching against a triple-A lineup for the Red Sox ace. In 18 starts this season, Sale is 8-4 with a 2.41 ERA. He also has a shutout streak of 15 innings in place.
When he faced the Royals earlier this year, Sale allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits across seven innings, although he got a no-decision in a game Kansas City won in 13 innings. Nevertheless, he has good career numbers against most Royals hitters, many of whom are posting disappointing numbers this season. Mike Moustakas and Whit Merrifield are both going well at the moment, but there is little in Kansas City’s lineup that should worry a pitcher like Sale.
Just Hamming It Up
Taking the hill for the Royals on Friday will be veteran Jason Hammel. Like most of Kansas City’s starters, the 35-year old Hammel is having a rough season. In 17 starts, he’s just 2-10 with a 5.56 ERA. His career has nosedived in the last season and a half since coming to Kansas City. Hammel is also coming off a dreadful month of June in which he won’t 0-5 with a 6.43 ERA, so things are not moving in the right direction.
When Hammel faced Boston in late April, he lasted just 4.2 innings, giving up eight runs on eight hits. As a team, the Red Sox are hitting .298 with an OPS of .888 against Hammel, although only three Red Sox players have 10 or more at-bats against him. Nevertheless, Hammel will face one of the best lineups in baseball that continues to be led by the dynamic duo of Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez.
An Easy Choice
It’s hard to make any argument in favor of the Royals winning this game. Every matchup appears to be in Boston’s favor. The only caveat is that at -310, there is little upside to betting on the Red Sox, whereas a big payout if the Royals somehow pull off the upset. This game on Friday is a no brainer. Take the Boston Red Sox -310 on Friday.