New York and Kansas City get back together for one more on Sunday to decide a three-game set that has seen each team triumph in extra innings once. Eric Young Jr. provided the heroics on Friday night before newcomer Justin Maxwell won it with a 12th inning long ball last night. The streaking Royals open as large -145 favorites with a total of 7.5 runs.
Santana has been outstanding all year in a spot where many experts believed the Royals may have overpaid for a risky investment. Santana has been the best pitcher on a Kansas City staff that ranks in the top bunch of groups in the big’s right now. He flaunts a WHIP at 1.06 and enters with a 7-6 record to show for it. The Royals have struggled to score runs for Ervin and his record clearly reflects as much. Continue to focus on the numbers that have more to do with how well the man pitches and less on what the Royals batters do and you should find reason to back him Sunday. Santana’s home/road splits don’t appear to be a concern, as his batting average against is lower on the road despite a higher ERA away from Kauffman Stadium, which has to do with slightly more walks in slightly less innings completed. Only two batters have significant experience with Santana but neither have found success. John Buck and Marlon Byrd combine to hit just 6-for-39 against the electric righty. In the midst of a playoff push, Santana should run circles around a Mets’ lineup without its cornerstone third baseman.
Santana may still continue to receive less than desirable run support with New York’s own Zack Wheeler going at home. Lost in the shadow of the likes of Jose Fernandez, Gerrit Cole, and then many young offensive phenoms is Wheeler. Just 23, Wheeler has shown promise to be the future ace the Mets have touted him as. He simply hasn’t dazzled or pitched in the spotlight that comes with a pennant chase. Wheeler has posted a 3.45 ERA with a WHIP just over 1.30 in 45 innings this season. I would bring up his splits or some sort of relevant number but the reality of it is that Wheeler hasn’t been around in the MLB long enough to have representative numbers. A pitcher without much experience poses an opportunity to create value in a line if the bettor gets an early read on a guy before oddsmakers. I still think Wheeler is a little bit undervalued on the market, which is why I have the under here.
Two poor offenses with two great pitchers going. One team has a good bullpen, the other doesn’t. With the best offensive player on the field out with an injury, this game appears to have 7 written all over it. The hook at 7 provides nice value with the under juiced to just -115. This matchup has 4-2, 5-1 feel to it. Expect one pitcher to really groove for most of the afternoon and hold the opposition to under 3. Could be either one. So we’ll ride the game under.