Despite riding a Major League Baseball-best eight-game winning streak into Fenway Park, the Kansas City Royals are listed as solid +155 road underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for the opener of a three-game set against the Boston Red Sox on Friday.
While the Royals lately have been the hottest team in baseball, they have not made up much ground in the American League Central because the division-leading Cleveland Indians have won seven games in a row.
Boston — the -180 favorite for Friday — will host Cleveland for three games after facing Kansas City, and then the Chicago White Sox will come to town for four to complete the run of AL Central opponents. Fortunately for the Red Sox, they recently have fared well versus that particular division, going 10-5 in the past 15 games, according to the OddsShark MLB Database.
A month ago, Boston took three of four at Fenway from the Minnesota Twins, who have fallen from second to third place in the AL Central since then.
The Red Sox are 29-18 at Fenway this season, which is one of the best records in the AL. Meanwhile, the Royals are just 23-24 on the road, although they are coming off a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers away from home.
Kansas City is 9-4 since the MLB All-Star break overall and will send Jason Vargas (12-4, 3.08 ERA) to the hill in hopes of extending its winning streak. Vargas only has suffered one loss since May 22, and that came at home against the Tigers on July 17.
Vargas did bounce back last time out versus the White Sox on Saturday but still walked away with a no-decision, allowing two runs and seven hits in five innings of a 7-2 victory.
Boston will counter with David Price (5-3, 3.82 ERA) as he will try to rebound from a rough outing himself. Price surrendered six runs and seven hits over five innings of a 7-3 road loss to the Los Angeles Angels last Saturday, walking three and striking out five.
Price has a 2-1 mark and 2.67 ERA in four home starts, with opposing batters hitting just .223.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
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