Kansas City looks to bring out the brooms against the lowly Minnesota Twins Thursday night after winning the first two games in the set. KC sends emerging ace Bruce Chen to the mound to oppose the steady Samuel Deduno for Minnesota. Kansas City opens as an established favorite with a total sitting right around 8.0.
I’ve written about Chen a few times in my free picks to document the type of breakout season the veteran lefty is having. Chen has reverted back to his old “punching bag” type form in his last two outings, however. Chen’s ERA has increased by over a full run over his last two starts where he has allowed 13 runs in nine innings of work. One start came against the powerful Detroit Tigers and the other against a Nationals team that has been playing good baseball over the last couple weeks or so. A regression may be matriculating for Chen but I’m not ready to make any major adjustments to totals until the Twins shell him tonight. If they do. Minnesota just isn’t a very good ball club. And the Twins don’t have many batters that will scare Chen. He’s had a mish-mash of outings against Minnesota this year where he has allowed seven hits in as many innings. Those numbers come over three different appearances so Chen hasn’t yet allowed a run against Minnesota. I don’t feel incredibly comfortable in this spot but I do believe the opportunity to pounce on an inflated total might be there if Chen’s last two starts have been more circumstantial rather than actuality.
Meanwhile, Samuel Deduno looks to continue a pretty productive season in the Minnesota rotation. Deduno is 8-7 pitching for a poor team with a WHIP just over 1.30. Deduno was great his last time out against Cleveland but wasn’t particularly sharp in his last start against these Royals. He surrendered 12 hits in 5.2 innings but didn’t break – allowing just four runs in the outing. Deduno’s numbers are almost identical at home as they are on the road but pitching at Target Field is always a nice look to have for the pitcher with the seemingly worse matchup in terms of if you are eyeing an under here. I do like the way Deduno throws the ball and I expect him to come out and pitch pretty well against a very mediocre Kansas City lineup.
Two pretty good pitchers going up against two average to underwhelming lineups. I like the under in this spot – particularly in the first five innings. The Royals bullpen is dynamite but getting a 4.5 in the first five innings certainly is enough to warrant the play there instead of the 8.0 for the game.