The Royals cooled off some of the Angels’ steam Saturday night with an extra-innings win to halt the three-game winning streak. The victory got Kansas City back to .500 and another game closer to the Tigers in the Central – a gap that continues to narrow with Detroit’s recent slump. Game three will feature an intriguing little pitching matchup between two guys really coming into their own at different times in their careers. Garrett Richards hosts Jason Vargas in a game where Los Angeles is favored with a total of 8.0 runs.
Let’s start with Richard, who is having an absolutely tremendous season after getting little to no recognition coming into the season. Although it feels (to me at least) like Richard has been around a while now, he’s still just 25 years old. And he’s breaking out with the development of his breaking ball. The hard-throwing righty is 4-1 with a sub-3 ERA and a WHIP of just 1.14. He’s also been a model of consistency – going at least 6 innings in every start aside from his season debut when he went 5. He’s been doing it by limiting the long ball. Richards has surrendered just 1 home run all year despite seeing a decent number of fly balls. Some will say it’s unsustainable. But the fact of the matter is that Richards is missing bats or missing sweet spots, at least. He’s struck out at least five batters in every start with the exception of his last outing where he got roughed up a bit. The Astros, of all teams, knocked Richards around for 5 runs and 10 hits in 7 innings of work. But at home tomorrow against an offense that is less than overwhelming, look for a strong bounce-back outing.
Jason Vargas will look for the same after giving up 7 in his last start against the American League’s Chicago club. But even with the poor outing, Vargas’ overall numbers remain strong with an ERA of 3.76 and an especially good WHIP of 1.19. Even better? He gets the opportunity to bounce back against his former team after pitching for Los Angeles for just a single season in 2013. He’s been dynamite away from Kauffman Stadium this season. And has just conceded 5 earned runs in 27 road innings. Mike Trout is hot, but there’s no reason to think the entire LA lineup knocks him around tomorrow. Add in the motivation going against his former club and I think we’re set for a pitcher’s duel.
Two starters with WHIP’s under 1.20 trying to bounce back against two offenses that don’t exactly knock the cover off the ball. The total poses some value. And at worst, I think we get a push.
Free Pick: Under 8 (-110)
2014 YTD: 17-11 +3.53