Kansas City (Hammel) at St. Louis (Weaver) O/U 8.5
Recommendation: St. Louis -1.5 -120
Jason Hammel has no business as a regular starter in Ned Yost’s rotation. The 35-year-old veteran has bounced around with the Rays, Rockies, Orioles, A’s, Cubs and Royals over the last decade; never lasting long enough to get re-signed at any spot. After starting 30 games for the Cubs in 2016, Chicago left his off their World Series roster; a clear indicator of their opinion of Hammel moving forward.
No surprise that Chicago dumped him after 2016. Hammel’s 2017 campaign in Kansas City can only be described as ugly; start to finish. His ERA was above 5.00 at home, on the road, in day games, in night games, pre All Star Break and post All Star Break. But the Royals signed him to a three year deal, so here is Hammel trotting out there every five days for a team playing sub .300 baseball (14-33) to get lit up.
KC is 1-8 in Hammel’s nine starts this season; not exactly going into today’s game with a sense of confidence. The lone win came in a game where Hammel left with a 9-4 deficit before a big (and very rare this season) KC rally. Hammel’s last four starts have been particularly rough: 25 earned runs allowed on 34 hits and seven walks in just 21 innings of work. The Royals bullpen behind him is anything but fresh – none of their last four starters has been able to complete the sixth inning.
KC isn’t likely to be able to slug their way to victory here either. Luke Weaver is coming off back-to-back gems: 12 innings of work, ten strikeouts & only one run allowed on a solo shot. The bullpen behind him is rested and ready off last night’s complete game shutout from Miles Mikolas. And the Cardinals lineup is hitting well for the first time in weeks; pounding out five runs or more five times in their last six ballgames. That stands in sharp contrast to a KC lineup that’s been held to three runs or less seven times in their last nine games. Expect another blowout.