After winning the first two games of the home-and-home series, the Cubs look to win the series against the Royals. This time, they’ll send out Japanese veteran Yu Darvish. In hopes of their fourth win, Kansas City will counter with 22-year-old rookie Kris Bubic.
Chicago Cubs at Kansas City Royals
Kauffman Stadium – 8:05 PM EST
Game Info/Starting Pitchers:
CHC: Yu Darvish – R (Last Season: 3.98 ERA, 4.18 FIP, 2.6 WAR, 178.2 IP)
KC: Kris Bubic – L (Last Season: 2.30 ERA, 2.57 FIP, 101.2 IP–A+ Wilmington)
Odds & Betting lines (“Sportsbook”)
Total: 9 | Over: -105 | Under: -115
CHI | Moneyline: -200 | Run Line (-1.5): -130
KCR | Moneyline: +170 | Run Line (+1.5): +110
CHC: IF Daniel Descalso, SP Jose Quintana, RP James Norwood, RP Brad Wieck
KC: IF Kelvin Gutierrez, IF Hunter Dozier, SP Brad Keller, SP Mike Montgomery, RP Chance Adams, RP Foster Griffin
Darvish’s New Groove
Throughout his mid-20s, Yu Darvish produced as a top-flight pitcher for both the Rangers and Cubs. Over the past few years, however, injuries and regression have limited him to 2.9 WAR in 219 IP. Fortunately, however, he seems to have worked his way back–and better than ever.
It’s only been two starts, but Darvish has racked up a 30% strikeout rate and a 2.5% walk rate. Better yet, his fastball velocity currently sits at 96.0 mph–the best of his career by 1.2 mph. With a 2.70 ERA and 1.20 FIP, he’s currently outperforming his true talent, but the ‘good Yu’ looks here to stay in 2020.
The Royals must certainly think highly of Kris Bubic. After all, they promoted him to the majors after just 2 seasons and 187 IP in the minors! While that’s certainly promising, we should be cautious of going all-in on Bubic just yet. After never pitching higher than high-A ball in his career, there will undoubtedly be a learning curve for the southpaw.
KC +2 (-110)
Although the SP matchup isn’t particularly close, 2 runs at home are more than doable for KC. Most importantly, they’re at home. Better yet, they’re playing a non-elite team with a vulnerable bullpen (similar to today’s Mets-Nationals matchup). Darvish is great, but he’s unlikely to go very deep this early in the season. As long as Bubic gives the team 4-5 competitive innings, the Royals have are likely to keep this close.