Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals April 7, 2022 MLB Betting Preview

Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals April 7, 2022 MLB Betting Preview

Ayden Fahlstrom
2 years ago
4 min read
Cleveland Indians catcher Austin Hedges (17) celebrates with relief pitcher Emmanuel Clase (48) after the win over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

Opening Day is finally upon us and Thursday night will feature an AL Central battle as the Cleveland Guardians square off with the Kansas City Royals. The Royals will host this one at Kauffman Stadium with the first pitch scheduled for 4:10 p.m.

Starting a new era as the Guardians, Cleveland will look to improve upon their 2021 standings, where they went 80-82. While they finished in second in the division, they were still 13 games behind the first-place White Sox.

Interestingly, Cleveland finished with the exact same record at home as on the road last season at 40-41. They will get an opportunity to set the tone early away from Progressive Field as they travel to Kansas City Thursday.

Kansas City is also hoping to improve on a lackluster 2021. They finished the season 74-88, good for fourth in the division and 19 games out of first place.

Last season, Kansas City finished under .500 at Kauffman Stadium as they were 39-42.

Cleveland is the slight favorite despite playing on the road. They are -124 to win while the Royals’ moneyline sits at +114. The runline features Kansas City +1.5 and the over/under for total runs is eight.

Pitching Matchup

The Guardians will send their ace, Shane Bieber, to the mound for Opening Day. Limited to just 16 starts last season due to a strained throwing shoulder, Bieber went 7-4 with a 3.17 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 134 strikeouts in 96.2 innings pitched.

Fully healthy, Bieber hopes to reclaim his spot as one of the most feared starting pitchers in the game.

The Royals will counter with veteran starter Zack Greinke. After pitching the last couple seasons with the Houston Astros, Greinke’s career came full circle as he signed with the team that he spent his first seven seasons with.

Last season, the 38-year-old Greinke went 11-6 with a 4.16 ERA in 30 games (29 starts).

By The Numbers

Last season, Cleveland had the better of the two offenses. They ranked 18th in the majors in scoring averaging 4.43 runs per game. Kansas City ranked 24th averaging 4.23 runs.

In terms of defense, it was again Cleveland with the advantage. They ranked 15th in scoring defense allowing opponents an average of 4.49 runs per game. The Royals ranked 21st allowing 4.86 runs.

Cleveland Looks To Continue Dominance Of Kansas City

While the Guardians may have had a mediocre season last year, one team they have fared well against lately is the Royals. In fact, they are 14-4 straight up against Kansas City in their last 18 games and 10-2 against the Royals in their last 12 road games.

On Thursday, the Guardians will look to start off the season on a strong note while also continuing their success over Kansas City.

Leading the Guardian’s offense is third baseman Jose Ramirez. Last season, he hit .266/.355/.538 with 36 home runs, 103 runs batted in, 111 runs scored, and 27 stolen bases. He led the Guardians in all four of those categories.

The consistent concern for Cleveland has been who else will produce in the lineup. Unfortunately, they didn’t do much to address their offensive deficiencies, but if their pitching can rebound from a health standpoint, they may still be able to compete.

Royals Excited By Youth Infusion

The biggest name that the Royals added this offseason in free agency was Thursday’s starter Zack Greinke. Despite his notoriety, though, he is not who Royals’ fans are clamoring to see.

On Saturday, the Royals announced that star prospect Bobby Witt Jr. has made the Opening Day roster, and will be their starting shortstop.

Last season, he hit .290/.361/.576 with 33 home runs, 97 runs batted in, 99 runs, and 29 stolen bases in 497 at bats between Double-A and Triple-A.

From their returning cast, catcher Salvador Perez is their most imposing presence. In 2021, he hit 48 home runs and had 121 runs batted in for the Royals.

Bieber Has Opportunity To Prove He Is Back

While there will always be concerns of whether the Guardians can score enough to stay competitive this season, one thing that is for certain is they have the potential to have one of the best rotations in the division.

When healthy, Shane Bieber may be one of the best pitchers in the American League. In fact, he has the second-best odds of winning the AL Cy Young Award this season at +700.

While the Royals have some imposing bats in their lineup, don’t be surprised if Bieber shows why he is a Cy Young candidate and the Guardians continue their dominance over Kansas City.

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