The World Series Of June! Best Performers In AL, NL Meet This Weekend In Royals/Cards Showdown

It's not just a potential World Series preview…or even World Series rematch. This weekend's high profile Interleague series between the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals matches teams with the best records in their respective leagues right now.

*Kansas City is best in the AL, thanks to a 3-game road sweep of the Minnesota Twins that took them from one game back to two games ahead in the AL Central. Betting markets also have the Royals as the current favorite to win the American League (though the Yankees are making a run).

*St. Louis is best in the NL, cruising along at a pace that has them approaching 20 games over .500. The Cards have a comfortable lead in the NL Central, and are basically betting "co-favorites" to win the National League alongside other powers Washington and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It's only mid-June…and there's a lot of baseball to play. But, it's not going to get much better than Royals/Cards any time this season when you consider team quality AND a historic interleague, intra-state rivalry.

Let's see what JIM HURLEY'S key indicator stats have to say about this "World Series of June!"

OFFENSE
Kansas City: 4.37 runs per game, .319 on-base, .406 slugging
St. Louis: 4.00 runs per game, .326 on-base, .392 slugging

Kind of tricky to evaluate this combination. Kansas City plays in the DH league, which should help them get more production. Yet, they are basically dead even in on-base and slugging with the Cardinals. Complicating matters, the Cards have cooled off with the bats in recent weeks. So, this is probably a wash…but the Royals may be better in "recent form" at the moment in a way that could matter for this series.

FRIDAY'S PITCHERS
Yordano Ventura: 4.62 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 7.3 K-Rate, 5.8 IP-per-Start
Jaime Garcia: 2.67 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 6.0 K-Rate, 6.8 IP-per-Start

Big edge to Garcia in the numbers. He's only made four starts this season…but he's obviously been in very good form. Ventura has been alternating good starts with bad recently. He'll need his best to compete here. Funny, the Cards are only 1-3 in Garcia's four starts because they got shutout three times! That's what we mean about their bats cooling off recently. Edge to Garcia, as long as he gets some support this time!

SATURDAY'S PITCHERS
Jeremy Guthrie: 5.82 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 3.7 K-Rate, 5.5 IP-per-Start
Lance Lynn: 3.07 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 9.5 K-Rate, 6.1 IP-per-Start

Guthrie has only allowed three earned runs in his last 12 innings after that debacle in New York against the Yankees. So, he'll likely pitch better than those numbers suggest. Though, he takes the worst of it in a matchup with Lynn. He'll have to hope that "pitching to contact" leads to outs instead of hits against this St. Louis offense. Looks like the Cards are getting the best of it in the stats in the first two games.

SUNDAY'S PITCHERS
Jason Vargas: 4.10 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 5.4 K-Rate 5.2 IP-per-Start
John Lackey: 3.74 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 6.9 K-Rate 6.2 IP-per-Start

Once you adjust for the difference in leagues, this one's fairly tight. Lackey has the better K-Rate and is lasting longer. Though, Vargas has settled down over his last five starts to such a degree that it's knocked about 2.6 runs off his ERA. Vargas plus that sterling KC bullpen gives the Royals a better chance here than in the other spots. Clearly, the Royals offense will have to step up to make up for what isn't a particularly scary trio in this marquee series.

JIM HURLEY is likely to have at least one big play in this high profile Interleague affair. He's also looking at LA Dodgers/San Diego, Minnesota/Texas, Cleveland/Detroit, and NY Yankees/Baltimore. You can purchase BEST BETS in daily baseball right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours on any weekday or Saturday and Sunday before the first action gets started.

Back to the NBA Finals tomorrow, with a Game Five preview that will stay up all weekend. Here's what's on tap over the next several days in the NOTEBOOK…what a great mix of basketball and baseball!

Saturday: NBA Game Five Championship Preview (stays up all weekend)
Monday: MLB Interleague Series Preview…LA Dodgers at Texas Rangers
Tuesday: NBA Game Six Championship Preview or more MLB Interleague notes (all 30 teams in IL play next week!)
Wednesday: MLB Big Game Preview…either Tampa Bay at Washington, St. Louis at Minnesota or San Francisco at Seattle
Thursday: Either NBA Game Seven Championship Preview or MLB Notes

Enjoy Royals/Cardinals and this great weekend of sports action. The baseball pennant races are really heating up now that a few teams are surging after slow starts. Look for handicapping tips here in the NOTEBOOK…and link up with JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK for BIG, JUICY WINNERS!

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Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley
Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

 

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