A road win for the Kansas City Royals is a good bet against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.
Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie is a classic example of a pitcher who will benefit from a change of scenery. After a handful of pretty productive seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, the left-hander was shipped before the 2012 season to the Colorado Rockies –a location tough for even the stoutest of pitchers.
The move was a nightmare as Guthrie was shelled, amassing a 6.35 ERA. Luckily, he was traded in July to the Royals and he showed renewed resolve, registering a 3.16 ERA in 14 starts.
He liked Kansas City so much he re-signed with the club in the off-season and he should continue his solid ways. In particular, pitching at US Cellular, which is typically a massive hitters ballpark, has not deterred Guthrie in his career. Overall, he’s posted a very impressive 2.90 ERA in 7 starts at Chicago’s American League stadium.
The White Sox counter with Gavin Floyd, who not only was smacked around at home in 2012 (4.54 ERA compared to 3.88 on the road) but also had a shaky spring training – 6.23 ERA in five starts.
Guthrie should prevail against a White Sox lineup that isn’t quite as good as last season. Go with KC at 2.10 rather that Chicago at 1.75.
The rumors of Pittsburgh Pirates starter James McDonald’s demise have been greatly exaggerated – at least when it comes to his first start of the 2013 campaign against the Chicago Cubs.
McDonald began last season with tremendous promise, posting a 9-3 record and a 2.37 ERA in the first half. But the relatively slight pitcher (he weighs just 205 pounds, which is light considering he’s 6-foot, four-inches), faded badly in the second half, posting a 3-5 tally with a 7.52 ERA. Quite simply, he became fatigued.
To start this year, he should be ready to go and, despite all his late-season woes, he has always been an ace at home where he was 6-2 with a 2.73 ERA last year (compared to 6-6 with a 5.95 away ERA).
Cubs starter Travis Wood was okay last year (4.27 ERA), but the Pirates have a more potent lineup and McDonald at his best is just more electric than Wood on his top day. Take the Pirates at 1.65 instead of the Cubs at 2.25.
Best Bet: Back the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Chicago Cubs at 1.65
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