The Royals struck early in the first game of the series as Maikel Garcia took the first pitch of the ball game yard. Joe Ryan would settle down though, and strike out two of the next three batters. In the bottom of the first Byron Buxton tied the game with a sacrifice fly, and the Twins added another run in the bottom of the second to take the lead. It would not last as the Royals tied the game as Bobby Witt Jr. scored on a single in the top of the third. The big inning was the eighth. Edouard Julien hit a pinch-hit home run that started a five-run inning for the Twins that would give them the win.
With the loss, the Royals dropped to 25-60 on the season. They have already begun selling off assets and are looking to play younger guys in the hope of the future. Meanwhile, the Twins are back at .500 for the year at 43-43. That is good for first place in the AL Central, a game ahead of the Guardians.
Here are the Royals-Twins MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Royals-Twins Odds
Kansas City Royals: +1.5 (-130)
Minnesota Twins: -1.5 (+108)
Over: 9 (-105)
Under: 9 (-115)
How To Watch Royals vs. Twins
Time: 2:10 PM ET/ 11:10 AM PT
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Why The Royals Could Cover The Spread
The Royals' offense is just bad. They are 29th in the majors in runs scored, 24th in batting average, 30th in on-base percentage, and 26th in slugging this year. There are bright spots though. Salvador Perez will be an all-star for the eighth time in his career. It is a little surprising considering how bad he was over the last month. He hit just .185 in June while driving in seven runs and hitting three home runs. He also missed the game yesterday due to a sore foot as a result of being hit by a pitch.
As of late, there have been some positives on the offense. Bobby Witt Jr. is hitting .308 over the last week with five RBIs. He has also stolen two bases in that period while the team has stolen nine in the last week. Maikel Garcia has two of them as well. He has been on fire over the last week. He has a double, a home run, three RBIs, and is hitting .407 over the last week.
Joining him in hot hitting is Drew Waters. Waters is hitting .333 over the last week with three RBIs and also two stolen bases. He has also scored six times over the last week while reaching base at a .407 clip. Nicky Lopez is hot as well. He had four RBIs while hitting .375 over the last week. He has walked three times as well to bring his OBP to .500 over the last seven games.
The Royals will be sending Zach Greinke to the mound today to improve on his 1-8 record with a 5.15 ERA. He has his best start of June last time out. He went six innings giving up just two runs. The month as a whole was not good for him though. Greinke went 0-3 onthe month with a 7.56 ERA. He only pitched six innings once and gave up four or more runs three times.
Why The Twins Could Cover The Spread
For the Twins, it is all about the pitching. The Twins rank first in the majors in team ERA, WHIP, and quality starts. They are second in opponent batting average. Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan have been leading the way for the Twins' pitching this year, but neither takes the mound today.
Today will be Kenta Maeda. Maeda is 1-5 on the season with a 6.23 ERA. Since coming back from injury, he has been solid though. Last time out he went five innings and have up just two runs while striking out four. He did get the loss as the Twins did not give him run support. The first start since his return from the IL was five innings and no runs were given up in a win. Overall, it was ten innings and a 1.80 ERA for Maeda since coming back from the IL.
Hoping to give Maeda some run support today will be Byron Buxton. In the last week, Buxton has been driving in a lot of runs. He is hitting just .227 but he has six RBIs with the help of a home run. The scoring end of those RBIs has been Joey Gallo and Carlos Correa. Gallo has scored five times in the last week while hitting better. He is hitting .267 over the last week with two solo home runs as well. Correaa is hitting .409 as of the last week while driving in a run and scoring four times.
Also hot are Max Kepler and Michael A. Taloyr. Kepler has three RBIs while hitting .316 in the last week. Meanwhile, Taylor has two RBIS with two doubles while hitting .308. After hitting just .209 and struggling with strikeouts in June, Taylor is off to a solid start this month. He has struck out just once in ten play appearances while getting a double and two RBIs.
Final Royals-Twins Prediction & Pick
Neither pitcher has stats on the season that are inspiring. Greinke has been bad all year though, while Maeda has been solid since coming off the IL. While the Royals do have some guys who have been hitting better as of late, the Twins do have the better offense overall. They also have a slew of guys who have been hitting well. Home runs will be a key today. If Grienke cannot keep the ball down, the Twins will exploit that, especially Joey Gallo. This has been an issue for him this year, and it will be again today. The Twins will hit a few home runs today and easily grab the win.
Final Royals-Twins Prediction & Pick: Twins -1.5 (+108)