Royals vs Angels Betting Preview: Examining the MLB Odds and Key Matchup Insights

Royals vs Angels Betting Preview: Examining the MLB Odds and Key Matchup Insights

Written by on May 9, 2024

The Kansas City Royals are a much-improved team this season and have been tremendous at home but are only 7-8 on the road as they start a long trip Thursday at the Los Angeles Angels, who remain without Mike Trout but are rare favorites on the MLB odds. It’s the late game on the slate.

And how are these teams in their respective Standings? Kansas has a better position (3rd) because they have won 22 times, while LA (4th) has only won 1.

MLB Moneyline Angels -108, Royals -102 (total 8)
Expert Prediction Angels 4, Royals 3

Kansas City Royals Betting Odds -125

The Royals didn’t start All-Star catcher Salvador Perez in Wednesday’s series finale against Milwaukee but it was simply a rest day and Perez will be back in here Thursday. Perez is off to the best start of his career, batting .326 with eight homer and 31 RBIs, leading the club in each. One big difference has been Perez putting the ball in play more often.

Perez has struck out in 14.5% of his plate appearances, below the 22.5% league average and below his 24.1% strikeout rate from 2021-23. He’s cut his swinging strike rate (i.e. whiffs per pitches seen) from 17.5% from 2021-23 to 11.8% in 2024. The MLB average is 10.9%. Perez’s whiff rate hasn’t been this low since 2017, his age-27 season. He’s in the top 10% of the league in hard-hit rate (i.e. batted balls at 95-plus mph) and also sweet-spot rate, which is batted balls in the 8-32 degree launch angle range. That’s the optimal range.

The Royals rank tied for 9th in the American League with a .239 team batting average but they rank 5th in the AL in runs, a discrepancy that can be credited to their aptitude for timely hitting. KC ranks 29th out of 30 teams with a .206 average with the bases empty but first in MLB with a .293 average with runners on base and fourth with a .292 average with runners in scoring position.

Kansas City might be leading the AL Central if its bullpen was a bit better. The Royals have nine blown-lead losses this season, tied for seventh-most in the majors and third in the AL. They have lost three games despite leading after the 8th inning, which is tied with Detroit and Baltimore for the most such losses in the majors. Two of those three losses have come in the last four games. Closer James McArthur has been charged with 5 runs (4 ER) on 7 hits in his last 2 appearances (3.0 IP) on the heels of a 10.2-inning scoreless streak that spanned 9 appearances from April 5-30.

It’s righty Michael Wacha on the mound Thursday. Wacha (1-4) took the loss against Texas last Saturday, allowing seven runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out three batters over 3.2 innings. Wacha exited with two outs in the fourth inning after giving up singles to four of the final five batters he faced. The seven runs were a season high, while his three punchouts tied a season low. Wacha was solid with a 3.81 ERA through his first five starts this season, but that number has since ballooned to 5.50 as a result of the veteran giving up 11 earned runs over 9.1 innings across his past two appearances.

Wacha has won each of his three career starts vs. the Angels, and in his lone start at Angel Stadium on June 6, 2022 with the Red Sox, Wacha threw his 2nd career shutout, allowing just 3 hits and striking out 6 in a 1-0 Boston victory. Wacha’s 0.44 ERA (1 ER in 20.2 IP) vs. the Angels is his lowest against any opponent. In four road starts this year, Wacha is 0-3 with a 5.56 ERA (14 ER in 22.2 IP).


Los Angeles Angels Betting Odds -111

The Angels have won or split each of the last five season series vs. Kansas City. LA won four of six games against the Royals last year and is 21-10 vs. KC since 2018, including an 11-4 mark at Angel Stadium.

Los Angeles comes off a 5-4 comeback win in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, which is notable as it was the team’s first overall series win since early April as the Halos took two of three. Infielder Brandon Drury added two hits, including an RBI double during a three-run outburst in the sixth by Los Angeles but left in the eight with hamstring tightness.

All-Star Angels outfielder Mike Trout is hurt yet again and will not be back anytime soon following knee surgery. Trout has appeared in 29 games for the Angels this season, and was slashing .220/.325/.541 with 10 home runs and 14 RBIs. He hasn’t played a full season since 2020, which was shortened due to the pandemic.

One of the team’s best healthy hitters, infielder Luis Rengifo, missed a fifth straight start Wednesday in Pittsburgh while he continues to recover from an illness. Rengifo is hitting .330 with nine steals, which are tied for third in the AL and already a career high. Since April 18, Luis Rengifo ranks second in the American League (min. 50 PA) with a .413 batting average and is third with a .481 OBP. Over that 14-game span, Rengifo has three doubles, two HR, seven RBI, four SB and a 1.090 OPS.

Nolan Schanuel also didn’t start Wednesday but has hit safely in 14 of his last 17 games and is batting .333 in that span. He had a 10-game hit streak from April 17-28, which finished tied for the longest streak of his career (also had 10-game streak from Aug. 18-30, 2023 in the first 10 games of his MLB career).

It’s lefty Reid Detmers on the hill Thursday as the Halos return from a road trip. Detmers (3-3, 4.24 ERA) took the loss against Cleveland last Saturday, allowing seven runs on five hits and four walks while striking out seven batters over 5.2 innings. Detmers entered the sixth inning with a quality start possible, as he had allowed three runs to that point. However, he got himself into trouble by walking three batters in the frame, and Bo Naylor made the hurler pay with a grand slam to blow the game open. Detmers had otherwise done a solid job of limiting homers, previously surrendering two this year, both of which came in the same start against the Orioles on April 22.

The seven runs, three homers and four free passes were all season-worst marks for Detmers, who was tagged with his third consecutive loss. The 24-year-old had a 1.19 ERA and 30:7 K:BB over 22.2 innings across his first four starts, but he’s stumbled since, allowing 16 earned runs and recording a 14:7 K:BB over 17.2 frames in his past three outings.

It’s frustrating,” Detmers said. “It comes down to execution, I guess. That’s baseball. I have to live and learn. We’re going to get over this, we’re going to get past this. We just have to take it start by start and I’m looking forward to next week and a new challenge.”

This will be his first career start vs. the Royals.



Royals at Angels Info

When: Thursday, 9:38 PM ET
Where: Angel Stadium
Pitchers (away/home): Michael Wacha/Reid Detmers
TV: Fox Sports 1
Stream/gameday audio: Fox Sports Live

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