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Royals Put Strahm in Starting Role

Updated: .June 15, 2017

By Charles Jay

The Kansas City Royals have got a head of steam going at the moment, and they hope that they can add some spice to the starting rotation on Thursday night as they take someone out of their bullpen and hand him the ball against the Los Angeles Angels in a game that is scheduled to begin at 10:05 PM ET at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. If you are an America’s Bookie customer, you can get a great free play bonus with very reasonable rollover, not to mention two different “Live Betting” options in your sportsbook interface

Matt Strahm is the guy we are talking about. This is his second year in the majors, and he has certainly proven himself to be a guy who can throw the ball by hitters. He comes into this game with a record of 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA, all in relief, and he will be opposed by Rocky Nolasco, the 34-year-old veteran who is 2-7 with a 4.81 ERA.

Kansas City has won four games in a row and six of their last eight, and they are four games behind the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central with their 30-34 record. The Angels are 35-34 and in second place in the AL West, eleven games behind the Houston Astros. And guess what? The Angels are in the interesting position where they could actually be in the second wild card spot by the night’s end, as they are just a half-game behind the Tampa Bay Rays.

In the baseball betting odds that have been posted on this game, the Angels are favored at home:

Los Angeles Angels (Nolasco) -130
Kansas City Royals (Strahm) +110

Royals +1.5 Runs -175
Angels -1.5 Runs +155

Over 9 Runs -110
Under 9 Runs -110

As far as KC manager Ned Yost is concerned, he was eventually going to make Strahm a starting pitcher; that was the plan, and so he is being inserted into the rotation as the team is a little short on starters at the moment. Yost has mentioned that he could be looking for a repeat of what happened last season with Danny Duffy, who was originally a reliever and eventually wound up the ace of the Kansas City staff.

Strahm has thrown only 44 innings in the major leagues. In those 44 innings, he has registered 56 strikeouts. Last season he had a 1.23 earned run average. He has been more flammable this year, giving up four homers and 18 walks in 22 frames, with a 4.50 ERA.

That translates to 7.4 walks per nine innings, and unless you believe that he is going to establish a better level of control going a longer distance, he could run into trouble in this “maiden voyage” into the starting ranks. Or maybe the organization believes he is better suited for this role on the staff. That seems to be the tone.

In 41 major league appearances, the farthest Strahm has gone is 2-2/3 innings, and he has thrown 60% strikes. In one of his minor league seasons could you call him a full-time starting pitcher, and that was last season, when he walked only 23 batters in 102 innings. So maybe he is going to better when he paces himself.

But since he plays in Missouri, he’ll have to “show me” he can put those numbers up at the big league level. We imagine he’s going to be on a pitch count, and maybe it’s a good thing that he went 49 pitches in his last appearance, which was six days ago. But that was a result of walking three batters and hitting another guy in two innings.

The Royals will need the bullpen here, and it has registered a 5.26 road ERA. Now that bullpen will have one less big league-level arm. We have no particular love for Ricky Nolasco here, and we understand that in their four-game winning streak, KC has scored 35 runs. We’ll go OVER nine runs on this total, and that would make for the ninth “over” in the last ten games for this Royals squad, as the Charles Jay / America’s Bookie Challenge continues.

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