In a key battle between Wild Card contenders, the Kansas City Royals will prevail at home on Monday against the Cleveland Indians.
Royals’ starter James Shields has a longstanding nickname “Big Game James” and I expect him to live up to that moniker. Shields has found a way to win in the second half. In the first part of the year he suffered through a 4-6 record, but since the All Star Game he’s 7-3.
He certainly stepped up against the Indians when he faced them last week. On September 11, Shields went eight innings, giving up four hits, one walk and two runs, while striking out seven en route to a win.
In that game, the Indians starter for this contest, Scott Kazmir, also took the pitcher’s mound. He did not throw well, allowing four runs in four innings of work. In fact, in four starts against the Royals this year, Kazmir has an uninspiring 4.43 ERA. The Royals, who are on at 1.61, should rule the day.
The Minnesota Twins will pull of the road win against the Chicago White Sox. The upshot is that both teams’ pitching for this game is worse than the hitters who will face them.
Erik Johnson with pitch for the White Sox. In two starts, Johnson has been extremely shaky. He gave up 14 hits in just 9 2/3 innings and even more tellingly he’s walked more batters (six) than players he’s struck out (5).
Twins starter Liam Hendriks has an even uglier track record. He owns a 5.25 ERA this year (and a career mark of 5.60). In 27 career Major League starts, Hendriks is 2-12.
So why pick the Twins? They are a better offensive team and, while Hendriks’ overall numbers are bad, he has shown some aptitude against the White Sox. On August 9, he earned one of his two career wins against Chicago, going 6 1/3 innings, while allowing just two runs. Take the Twins at 2.05.
Back the Minnesota Twins to beat the Chicago White Sox at 2.05
Follow Josh Chetwynd's MLB betting tips every day