There will be runs aplenty when the Minnesota Twins visit the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Monday. Neither starting pitcher has been good this year. The Angels’ Joe Blanton has a 5.53 ERA and an American League-leading 12 losses. Cumulatively, Twins hitters have a .295 lifetime batting average against Blanton in 88 career plate appearances.
Twins rookie Kyle Gibson holds a 6.45 ERA over four starts. What’s particularly troubling about Gibson is he’s walked eight batters in his last 11 innings pitched. With the Angels sporting an above-league average offence (despite the fact they underperformed with the bat in the first half), Gibson will likely be in trouble. Go for more than 8.5 runs at 1.82 as neither starter has a tremendous chance at pitching a strong game.
Will the San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum follow up his no-hitter with another gem against the Cincinnati Reds? I’m saying no. Since 1999, pitchers coming off a no-hitter have tended to struggle going deep into their subsequent start (they’re averaging 5 2/3 innings pitched) and have not pitched particularly well in those outings (their combined ERA is over 4.30). The reason for this is that pitchers coming off of no-hitters tend to have thrown far more pitches than usual to complete their gem, making them worn out for their next game. This was certainly the case with Lincecum, who had to throw 148 pitches in his no-hitter. That’s 34 pitches more than any other start he’s had this year. Admittedly, he’ll benefit from extra rest thanks to the All Star break, but he’s facing a Reds team that owns a lifetime .303 batting average against him (in 83 plate appearances).
Even if Lincecum puts up a respectable performance, Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo has generally owned Giants hitters during his career. In total, San Francisco hitters have a .211 batting average in a hefty 152 at-bat sample size. All told, expect a Reds road win. Take Cincinnati at 1.97.