The Kansas City Royals will enjoy a positive result on Wednesday when they visit the Minnesota Twins.
Royals’ starter Bruce Chen has a great statistical profile in a number of key categories for this one. He’s great in away games: 2-1 with a 2.56 ERA (versus 3-1 with a 3.08 ERA). He thrives against losing teams: 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA (compared to 3-2 with a 3.70 ERA against teams with winning records). And specific to the Twins, he’s done the business when facing Minnesota this year. In seven innings pitched against the club he’s yet to give up a run in 2013.
His pitching opponent, Andrew Albers, has been Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in his four Major League starts this season. In his first two opportunities, he gave up zero runs in 17 1/3 innings. In his most recent two games, he’s allowed 10 runs in 13 2/3 innings.
With a well-below-average fastball that usually comes in somewhere in the mid-80s and a slider that is good but not great, his pitching skills indicate that the latter two starts are more likely representative of what Albers brings to the table. Take the Royals at 1.85.
It’ll be a Chicago White Sox win at home against the Houston Astros.
On paper, this shapes up to be a pitchers’ duel. The Astros’ starting choice Jarred Cosart has been consistently good in his seven starts, posting a 1.60 ERA. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any outing and has delivered a quality start (six or more innings pitched; three or fewer runs allowed) in all but one of his games pitched.
So why has he registered just one win and five no decisions (the team is actually 3-4 in his starts)? The reason: Houston has by far and away the worst bullpen in the American League. No club is even close in the number of runs allowed by their relievers per nine innings pitched.
Moreover, the Astros’ bullpen has the league’s worst save percentage. In other words, even if Cosart provides another gem, it’s unlikely his back up is going to finish the job. Considering Cosart hasn’t thrown more than six innings in any of his last three starts, odds are relievers will play a role in this game for Houston.
As for the White Sox, they give their ace, Chris Sale, the start. Sale brings his A-game against weak teams. Versus clubs with losing records he has a 2.30 ERA and has struck out 72 in 58 2/3 innings pitched. His one start against the Astros earlier this season is emblematic of how he menaces the subpar. Sale went eight innings, giving up no earned runs and striking out 14. Look for the White Sox to prevail and take them at 1.42.
Kansas City Royals to beat the Minnesota Twins at 1.85.
Chicago White Sox to beat the Houston Astros at 1.42.