When healthy and when pitching at home, St Louis Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia is superb. Both boxes will be ticked when he leads the Cards against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday. Last season, the left-hander was injury plagued. Specifically, he dealt with a shoulder injury that left him on the disabled list for 74 days. But, for now he looks healthy, as evidenced by a good first start of the regular season and some fine performances in spring training. Throughout his career he’s been great at Busch Stadium when fit. Last year was a perfect example: he sported a 2.82 ERA at home as opposed to a 5.02 ERA on the road.
He faces a top-notch opponent in Mat Latos, but Latos has struggled at Busch Stadium. In 2012, he posted a 7.59 ERA over two starts. St. Louis, on at 1.91, will make the most of this advantage and upend the Reds.
Kansas City Royals starter Ervin Santana is not to be trusted, so look for the opposing Minnesota Twins to prevail tonight. Santana has some raw talent, but he is just way too susceptible to giving up home runs. Last year he gave up a league-leading 39 and in his first start of 2013 he allowed three homers. Admittedly, Kaufman Stadium isn’t among the top locations for giving up home runs, but it was easier to hit one there than in Anaheim, where Santana pitched last year so don’t expect him to improve in this area.
Twins pitcher Kevin Correia hasn’t thrown against the Royals since 2008 so he will be a relatively unknown factor for a much-changed Kansas City line-up. Look for that to work to his advantage as he is the type of pitcher who works on guile, meaning hitters facing him for the first time have greater difficulty than those with experience against him. Go with the Twins at 2.15.