Daily Bet: Royals (+150) at Tigers

Thanks a lot, Donovan Solano. You have no idea who Donovan Solano is? Neither did I until about 4:30 p.m. yesterday, when the 5-foot-9 Marlins twerp took the unhittable Kris Medlen deep for his first major-league home run. Then three innings later, Solano did it again—this one a two-run shot—and even though the Braves rallied for a walk-off 4-3 victory to improve to 22-0 in Medlen’s last 22 starts, they failed to cover the run line, and thus we failed to cash our ticket. (And so the “payback” for Monday’s miracle winner with the Seahawks begins.)

Switching leagues tonight with this underdog play on the Royals at Detroit. Yes, this is a must-win game for the Tigers, who finally caught the White Sox in the AL Central last night. And yes, the Tigers have taken the first two games of this series against Kansas City, improving to 6-1 against the Royals at home this year. That’s all well and good. Problem is, the Royals have a significant edge on the mound in this one. Here’s how significant:

In his last nine starts, K.C. right-hander Jeremy Guthrie has given up just 12 earned runs (and six of those came in one game at Fenway Park) and walked just nine batters in 61 2/3 innings (1.75 ERA). Take out that one terrible start in Boston (six earned runs in 2 2/3 innings), and that ERA drops to 0.92. The most important numbers, though: The Royals are a perfect 9-0 in Guthrie’s last nine trips to the hill, including 3-0 on the road and 6-0 as an underdog. And one of those wins was 2-1 over Detroit on Aug. 30.

Guthrie’s counterpart on Aug. 30 is the same as tonight: Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello. In that contest, Porcello was decent (two runs, eight hits in five innings), but it wasn’t good enough—in fact, nothing Porcello has done lately has been good enough, as Detroit is 0-7 in his last seven starts, with Porcello failing to get out of the sixth inning in any of his last four outings (during which he’s allowed 13 runs in 25 2/3 innings).

The Royals might not be in a playoff hunt, but they aren’t dogging it down the stretch either; despite losing the first two games of this series, they’re 20-15 against playoff contenders (Tigers, White Sox, Rays, A’s, Angels and Rangers) since Aug. 5. And they’d like nothing more than to continue to play spoiler in this one.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆

Tuesday’s Result: Braves (-1½ runs) vs. Marlins (Loss)

Record: 50-40