A healthy David Price will be key for the Tampa Bay Rays when they host the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. Price won last year’s Cy Young award as the American League’s best pitcher, but did not look good at all at the start of this season: in nine starts between the start of April and May 15, he was 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA. It turned out that he wasn’t physically right and so he spent an extended stretch on the disabled list. Since his return, he’s looked very much like the 2012 David Price. In his one rehabilitation start in the minor leagues he pitched five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out eight. In his return to the Major Leagues he was even more dominant, going seven shutout innings, yielding three hits and striking out ten.
Admittedly, that 2 July start was against the weak-swinging Houston Astros. But the White Sox have only been a marginally better hitting team this year (the Astros rank 14th in the AL in runs scored per game; Chicago ranks 13th). Add the fact that White Sox hitters have a lifetime .247 batting average in 90 plate appearances against Price and the Rays starter should shine. Thus, even if Chicago pitcher John Danks (2-4, 4.38 ERA) has one of his better starts, he’ll likely be outclassed. Go with the Rays at 1.42.
In Cincinnati, Bronson Arroyo’s home-field dominance will lead to a positive result for his Reds against the Seattle Mariners. Arroyo’s overall numbers are pretty good – 7-6 with a 3.50 ERA – but he is a tremendous bulldog at Great American Ball Park. In home games, he’s 6-1 with a 2.42 ERA (compared to 1-5 with a 5.70 ERA on the road). Mariners hitters do not have a good track record against him. Take away Raul Ibanez (who has been great in his career against Arroyo -- .429 batting average in 14 at bats) and the rest of the team has a .207 cumulative batting average in 77 at-bats.
The Mariners are countering with Joe Saunders, who has a sub-par 4.74 ERA in 2013. The road has been particularly hard on the left-hander: he’s 2-5 with a 5.81 ERA on his travels. A number of Reds hitters have also feasted on Saunders: Joey Votto is 3 for 8 (.375 batting average), Jay Bruce is 3 for 9 (.333) and Shin-Soo Choo is 3 for 5 (.600). All signs point to the Reds (1.50) for the win.