Houston Astros (0-0) / Kansas City Royals (0-0)
MLB Baseball: Monday, July 20, 2020 at 8:05 pm (Kauffman Stadium)
Mike Montgomery (0-0) (0.00) vs. Lance McCullers (0-0) (0.00)
The Line: Kansas City Royals +127 / Houston Astros -148 O/U: 8.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Houston Astros and the Kansas City Royals meet Monday in MLB action form Kauffman Stadium.
Houston finished the 2019 season at a red-hot 107-55, winning the AL West and eventually taking the league pennant. The Astros were stopped short of a World Series title in seven games by the Nationals, however. As for Kansas City, they didn’t have much luck at 59-103 last year. That finish was a one-game improvement from 2018, but still left the Royals in fourth place in the AL Central. Check back all season long for free MLB picks and MLB predictions at Sports Chat Place.
Considering this shortened season, and also considering with the sign-stealing scandal hanging over their heads, the Astros should be very successful on the field in 2020. Even with power-hitting Jordan Alvarez on the shelf for now, Houston still has big bats in George Springer, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. Factor in the versatility of guys like Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley and Yuli Gurriel, and it’s quite the formidable order. Expect another avalanche of runs in Houston this year.
For the Monday game, Houston will be sending out starter Lance McCullers. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him on the mound. McCullers has been out since the end of the 2018 season when he underwent Tommy John surgery. Over his MLB career, McCullers carries a 29-22 record, a 3.67 ERA, 509 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP.
Over on the Royals’ side, they’re projected to finish at the bottom of the AL Central Division again this season, likely fighting it out for the basement spot with the Tigers. That said, Kansas City does boast a few bright spots in the batting order. Whit Merrifield plated 105 runs with 74 RBI and 20 steals last year, and Adalberto Mondesi has the potential for 15-20 steals in this shortened season. Jorge Soler will likely come away with double-digit home runs in 2020 as well. That trio will be very busy carrying the load for KC.
For Monday’s exhibition outing, the Royals will be sending out Mike Montgomery in the starting role. In 2019, Montgomery put up a 3-9 record with a 4.95 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 91.0 innings pitched. On his career, Montgomery holds a 3.83 ERA with a 23-34 record and 411 Ks in 535.2 innings. That’s 180 overall appearances and 69 starts.
Pick: I'm still going to hang with Houston. This is kind of a weird game to predict, even aside from the obvious reasons. On paper, the Astros are downright loaded from top to bottom. The lineup should feast on the vulnerable Kansas City hitting, and the Royals don’t have the ammunition to realistically keep pace.
Granted, the McCullers start is a proverbial wild card since we haven’t seen him pitch in ages. That said, Houston should have more than enough offensive push to compensate for any potential mistakes. It wouldn’t be crazy to take KC on a value pick here, but for me it’s not worth the risk.