All signs point to a low-scoring affair when the Minnesota Twins host the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. Neither starting pitcher – the Royals’ Bruce Chen (4.53 ERA) nor the Twins’ Francisco Liriano (5.30 ERA) – have sterling overall marks. But both are currently trending well. In his past ten starts, Chen is 7-2 and has allowed more than three run only two times in that run. Liriano began the season poorly, but in his previous six starts he has a 2.41 ERA and has struck out 40 in 37 1/3 innings.
Both clubs have subpar offences – they are ranked eleventh (Twins) and twelfth (Royals) out of fourteen American League teams in runs scored. The critical mass says take under 8.0 runs at 1.95 as production to reach the over (on at 1.85) is unlikely.
When pitching at home for the San Francisco Giants, Ryan Vogelsong is always a good pick. The Cincinnati Reds are the unlucky club facing him tonight. Overall, Vogelsong has been great in 2012, posting a 7-3 record with a 2.23 ERA. But when he gets to pitch at AT&T Park he’s even better: at home, his ERA is a paltry 1.28. Recently he’s been locked in with 11 straight quality starts (six inning or more pitched; three earned runs or less allowed).
No doubt his efforts will be bolstered by the team’s current momentum; coming into the weekend, San Francisco had won four straight.
The Reds’ Bronson Arroyo has been middling this year (4.13 ERA), but he’s yet to break through in San Francisco, where he has an 0-4 record and a 4.34 ERA in five starts. Pick the streaking Giants at 1.65 instead of the Reds at 2.25.