Royals v Athletics
Bartolo Colon’s recent bad run gives good reason to pick the Kansas City Royals at home against the Colon’s Oakland Athletics. The right-handed Colon started the season well, winning three of his first four starts. Since then, he’s gone down to defeat in four of his past five decisions. What’s more troubling than the wins and losses is his actual performance: last time out, he gave up six runs in six innings against the New York Yankees. All told, he’s given up 19 runs in his past 19 1/3 innings pitched. The 39-year-old has endured a ton of wear-and-tear on his arm over the years and we might be seeing a final decline in his performance now. On the other hand, the Royals offer up Felipe Paulino, who has been a stealth success in 2012. He’s struck out more than a batter per inning pitched (34 strike outs in 31 innings) and he owns an impressive 2.03 ERA. Neither team has swung the bat particularly well this season, but the Royals lineup has talent and could be poised to start scoring runs in bunches as evidenced by the 19 runs its tallied in Kansas City’s past three games. Choose the Royals at 1.65 rather than the A’s at 2.25.
Blue Jays v Red Sox
Clay Buchholz may finally be turning the corner on what’s been a dismal season so far. The result: the Red Sox should take a road win against the Toronto Blue Jays. Buchholz’s overall numbers are quite sour: a 7.19 ERA, an American League-leading 45 earned runs allowed and 28 walks compared to 33 strike outs in 56 1/3 innings. Yet, in his last outing, he flashed what Boston fans have been waiting for all year: his electric late-breaking change up. The outcome was impressive as he gave up just two runs and struck out six in seven innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. He should build on that confidence plus the fact he’s historically pitched well in Toronto (he’s 5-2 with a 1.62 ERA there). The Blue Jays’ Henderson Alvarez floundered in his last start, allowing five runs in 5 2/3 innings versus the Texas Rangers. It was his second-straight subpar start. The Red Sox at 2.05 are the team to take in this one instead of the Blue Jays at 1.77.