Kansas v Toronto
A nagging injury should be the difference maker when the Toronto Blue Jays travel to Kansas City to take on the Royals today. Pitcher Luke Hochevar will be making his first start since taking a line drive off his left ankle in a game against the Cleveland Indians a week ago. As a right-handed pitcher, Hochevar relies on planting his left leg firmly as part of his delivery when throwing the ball to hitters. He was slated to start on Wednesday but was pushed back to this game suggesting the ankle isn’t 100 percent – something he’d need against Toronto’s above-average offence. (Even when fit Hochevar does have a 7.84 ERA.) His pitching opponent is Kyle Drabek a long-time top prospect who appears to finally be putting everything together. He’s thrown well in both his starts this year and owns a sparkling 1.42 ERA. Go with the traveling Jays at 1.95 over the hometown Royals on for 1.95.
San Diego v Philadelphia
San Diego’s Petco Park is one of the sport’s most pitcher-friendly stadiums, which should suit the visiting Philadelphia Phillies in their match up against the hometown Padres. The Phillies’ left-hander Cole Hamels has been superb against the Padres in his career, posting a 6-2 record with a 2.28 ERA over 75 innings of work. He was also born in San Diego so, no doubt, he feels comfortable there. San Diego’s Edinson Volquez is a fine pitcher, who can be effective, but is currently dealing with control problems (he has a National League-leading 12 walks so far). This tips the scales toward Hamels. Philadelphia has stumbled out of the gate in large part because of their offence (2.92 runs per game through Wednesday). But in Petco, neither team will be expected to put up runs and, with the Padres only slightly better at scoring – 3.69 runs per game – than the Phillies, the pitching advantage should carry Philadelphia, on at 1.72, to a win over San Diego, who could be had at 2.12.