(Marcus Semien photo courtesy Peter Aiken/USA TODAY Sports)
This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.
Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.
When and Where: Tuesday, Aug. 27, Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo., 8:15 p.m. EDT.
Mike Fiers looks to run his career-best winning streak to 11 games Tuesday night when the Oakland Athletics continue their four-game series against the Kansas City Royals.
Fiers looks to again match Astros’ Cole for longest win streak in 2019
It would take Fiers (12-3, 3.46 ERA) possibly running the table to have a chance at Lefty Grove’s franchise-record win streak of 16 games set in 1931, but the right-hander can again draw even with Houston Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole for the longest win streak in the majors this season at 11, which Cole set Thursday in beating Detroit.
Fiers is looking to win for the fourth time in five starts after pitching his way in and out of trouble during a 6-4 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday night. He limited New York to two runs over 5 1-3 innings despite giving up six hits and walking three and got help from reliever Yusmeiro Petit in the sixth to help preserve a two-run lead.
Fiers is unbeaten over 19 starts, a run that started with his no-hitter against Cincinnati on May 7. He has a 2.44 ERA in that span, holding hitters to a .206 batting average and 6.58 hits per nine innings. The righty has been nearly equally consistent on the road as at home, entering this contest 4-0 with a 2.66 ERA in his last eight starts outside Oakland.
He went 1-0 in two starts against the Royals last year despite yielding nine runs and 16 hits over 9 1-3 innings. Fiers was hit hard in the outing in Kansas City, serving up two homers and leaving without a decision in Oakland’s 10-6 defeat after giving up five runs and six hits in four innings.
Montgomery looks to regain winning touch after rough outing in Baltimore
Mike Montgomery (2-4, 4.46) is making his eighth start since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs but looking to regain the form of his previous two starts when he recorded back-to-back victories.
The left-hander had trouble keeping the ball in the park Wednesday versus the Baltimore Orioles, who took him deep three times to account for four of the five runs he gave up over five innings of an 8-1 defeat. Montgomery had held opponents to an unearned run and nine hits in 13 innings in his prior two outings before the wheels fell off at Camden Yards.
“It’s been good so far,” Montgomery told The Topeka-Capital Journal about being a starter again. “I’ve wanted to start, but the opportunities weren’t there in Chicago. You don’t have a lot of control over things in this game, but when I heard (I would be sent) here, I was super excited. I got drafted by these guys, and they told me when they made the trade, ‘We want you as a starter, and that’s what we want you to be successful at.’ I’m thankful for the opportunity here and I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
Montgomery has split two decisions while posting a 2.93 ERA in three starts at Kauffman Stadium, but has gotten through six innings just once. This will be the southpaw’s first time facing the Athletics since 2016 while pitching for the Seattle Mariners.
The Royals are:
- 2-5 in Montgomery’s last seven starts.
- 7-23 in their last 30 during game 2 of a series.
- 2-9 in their last 11 home games vs. the Athletics.
The Athletics are:
- 10-1 in their last 11 Tuesday games.
- 10-4 in their last 14 road games vs. left-handed starters.
- 46-21 in their last 67 games vs. left-handed starters.
Athletics -1.5 runs (-115)
A confidence pick in Fiers getting the job done while pitching better than he did last outing given the caliber of opponent. He he has fared well versus AL Central opponents this year, going 2-0 with a 1.91 ERA in five starts this year and is 6-1 with a 3.06 ERA in his last 16 such matchups since the start of last season.
UNDER 10 runs (-110)
The under is still 4-2-1 in the last seven games between the teams after Monday’s runfest and has trended with the Royals well of late, going 6-0 in their last six during game 2 of a series and 8-3 in their last 11 against above-.500 teams. If Montgomery keeps the ball in the park and finds some of the form he showed in the previous two starts before losing to Baltimore, the under should deliver here.
The under is also 5-1-1 in Oakland’s last seven road games vs. left-handed starters and 8-2-1 in its last 11 during game 2 of a series. This line has ticked higher to 10 runs, perhaps because of Monday’s 19-4 drubbing administered by the Athletics, but the hedge is Montgomery does enough to prevent a repeat of that happening.
Athletics -0.5 runs first 5 innings (-136)
A form pick here as the A’s are 10-1-1 at the five-inning mark in Fiers’ last 12 starts, including 2-1-1 on the road in that span. The loss came when Oakland failed to score in the first five innings of his start in Houston versus Wade Miley. Kansas City has gone 2-5 in the first five innings of Montgomery’s seven starts and failed to score in three of them.
The Royals are also 3-8-1 at the midway point in their last 12 games overall.
Royals UNDER 4 runs (-115)
The Royals have scored more than four runs just twice in their last 13 home games and have reached four on three other occasions. Oakland has yielded four or fewer runs in 13 of Fiers’ last 18 starts that have been decided (there’s a suspended game from May 19 yet to be completed) and held opponents to four or fewer runs in 17 of its last 23 games overall.
UNDER 5.5 runs first 5 innings (-115)
The five-inning under is 5-0-1 in Montgomery’s last six starts, though there is some concern between his last start and the Royals getting dump-trucked Monday night. Fiers has helped the five-inning under go 11-1-2 in his last 14 starts, but this is more contingent on Montgomery regaining the form that led to his back-to-back wins.
Royals UNDER 2 runs first 5 innings (-115)
Though Kansas City has scored three runs in the first five innings of its last two games, that has been an exception of late — the Royals had been held to one or no runs in nine of their previous 10 contests. Fiers also has been ruthless early in games, holding opponents to one or no runs in the first five innings in nine of his last 11 starts.