There are rarely big pitching mismatches in Major League Baseball when two teams open their season because both clubs typically throw their ace. But there are exceptions and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hosting the Kansas City Royals on Friday is an example.
The Angels send top-flight performer Jared Weaver out to start on the pitcher’s mound. Last year’s runner-up in the Cy Young award voting, Weaver has historically performed well at the start of the season and, in particular, has thrived against the Royals. He boasts a lifetime ERA of 2.38 in 10 starts against Kansas City (that’s nearly a full run below his overall career ERA of 3.31).
He’ll match up against Bruce Chen, who has a lifetime 4.52 ERA. Admittedly, Chen had a good season last year and when he’s on he can shut down the opposition. But the left-hander is facing a team with a handful of excellent right-handed hitters (a match-up that’s generally an advantage for the hitter).
Most notably, there’s new acquisition/superstar Albert Pujols, but others who can hit from the right side include such excellent batters as Howie Kendrick, Kendrys Morales and Torii Hunter. The odds aren’t great on this one – the Angels are at 1.45 and the Royals are at 2.75 – but this is the surest bet on the fixture list.
Another good option is to go with under the 7 runs line at 1.7 when Seattle Mariners travel to Oakland to take on the A’s. The Coliseum is a pitcher-friendly environment and both starting pitchers – Brandon McCarthy for the A’s and Jason Vargas for the Mariners – looked sharp in their opening appearances when these teams met to start the MLB season in Tokyo last week. In the pair of games abroad, the A’s and the Mariners scored a combined nine runs (or 4.5 per game). There’s no reason to expect they’ll do more stateside.