Royals vs. A's 9/30/14 2014 American League Wildcard Game Free Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Oakland Athletics (88-74) at Kansas City Royals (89-73)
MLB Baseball: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 8:07 pm (Kauffman Stadium)
Jon Lester (L) (16-11) (2.458) vs. James Shields (R) (14-8) (3.211)
The Line: Kansas City Royals -123 / Oakland Athletics +113 --- Over/Under: 6.5 See the Latest Odds
The Kansas City Royals and the Oakland A’s face off on Tuesday in a one game Wildcard Playoff game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
Last season the Kansas City Royals had the strongest finish over the last several months of the season of any team in baseball but they got it going too late and missed the post season, this year they are in and just missed winning the AL Central. The Royals finished the season with a .549 winning percentage but they were just thee games over .500 at home and overall were a better road team. K.C. was the fourth best hitting team in baseball this season at .263 with Norichika Aoki and Alcides Escobar both hitting .285 to top all Royals hitters and Alex Gordon leading the team in home runs with 19 and RBI’s with 74. The Royals pitching staff has an ERA of 3.51 with the starters at 3.60 and the bullpen at 3.30. The Royals took five of the seven meetings with the A’s this season including wins in the two starts Tuesday’s starter, James Shields, made. Shields hasn’t been at his best of late going 0-1 with an ERA over four in his last three starts but for the season he is 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA logging 180 strikeouts in 227 innings of work while allowing 224 hits and 81 earned runs.
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The Oakland A’s appeared the be runaway winner in the AL West earlier this season but after making several big name trades the team chemistry and confidence seemed to disappear and the A’s barely made it into the post season edging the Mariners by a game. The Athletics finished with a losing record on the road at 40-41 but got the win on the season’s final day when they needed it most. As a team Oakland hit .244 that ranks them 21st in baseball this season. Josh Reddick’s .264 average was the best among the regulars while Josh Donaldson led the A’s in home runs with 29 and RBI’s with 98 and Brandon Moss finished with 25 homers. The A’s pitching staff has an ERA of 3.22 with the starters at 3.37 and the bullpen at 2.91. For this “do or die” game the A’s start Jon Lester who has plenty of post-season experience with the Red Sox and who beat the Royals in his only start against them for Oakland this season. Lester lost in his last start but he is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in his last three starts and since being traded the A’s he is 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA striking out 71 over 76.2 innings while allowing 6 hits and 20 earned runs.
Kansas City is 7-1 against the AL West, 4-1 against a left-handed starter, 6-2 in their last eight games, and 3-7 in Shields’ last 10 home starts. Oakland is 7-16 in their last 23 road games, 6-15 against a team with a winning record, 1-5 against the AL Central, and 4-0 in Lester’s last four starts against the AL Central. The Royals have won four of the last five meetings against the Athletics.
The total is set so low at 6.5 but while Shields is a bulldog, he gets hit and Lester is vulnerable on the road so I expect to see more scoring than that here and my free play here is going to be the over. I also have a play on the winning side that I will post in the Premium Area as well as the App.