The Minnesota Twins look to take three of four from the Kansas City Royals in the finale of a weekend set at Target Field. Minnesota righty Kevin Correia takes the ball for the home team against Royals’ stud Ervin Santana. This game is listed as a PK with a total sitting at 8.
Despite just a 5-5 record this season, Ervin Santana has been pretty awesome in his first season with the Royals. Santana has dazzled with a WHIP just a sliver over 1.00 and an ERA of 2.74. He has yet to face Minnesota this year but has plenty of experience against the majority of the Twins’ lineup during his tenure with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. That track record has not been the strongest. Minnesota batters have had plenty of success against Santana with a career mark of .300 (33 for 110). Santana looks to shake off the questionable numbers in his strongest season yet and in a year where Minnesota is having a bit of a down year offensively. Santana has been better on the road this season than he has at home – posting an ERA of 2.27 away from Kauffman Stadium. I expect him to shut down the Minnesota lineup with his two-seam fastball and nasty hook. Santana has been dynamite as far as pitching deep into the game this year and he should provide another long outing for a Royals team that does not feature a shut down bullpen.
On the other side of the diamond, Kevin Correia takes the mound for the home squad. Correia has been a bit of a journeyman in his career. Just good enough to maintain a status as a MLB starting pitcher but not much more than that. He has actually been pretty good this year with an ERA of 3.82 (compared to a career mark of 4.48). Correia has never been particularly tough on above-average bats in the league but rarely makes big mistakes to pedestrian hitters and makes a living off of limiting damage. The Royals lineup has had its way with Correia over their careers. In 54 career at-bats from the Kansas City team against Correia, the roster hits exactly .333, which could spell a long afternoon for Correia at home. However, the only player with double-digit at-bats against the right-hander is Jeff Francoeur. But he does hit at the team average, .333, against Correia.
I look for Kansas City to come out with their most effective pitcher on the hill and play well enough to get a split in Minnesota. The Royals have the big bats to occasionally hurt Correia (Butler, Gordon) and they should be able to push enough across to give Santana a bit of a cushion that he shouldn’t relinquish. The Royals represent good betting value as a PK on the road here Sunday afternoon.
Free Pick: Kansas City PK