Joe Blanton (2-1, 3.14 ERA) and the Kansas City Royals (45-32) go up against Mike Pelfrey (5-5, 3.81 ERA) and the Minnesota Twins (42-38) in the third of a four-game division series at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won the last game 3-2 and the series is currently tied 1-1. The game starts at 7:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jul. 4 and will air on FSN-KC and FOX.
Blanton is 5-6 with a 4.50 ERA, 42 strikeouts and 17 walks against the Twins in his career. Lorenzo Cain (.305, 47 Rs, 6 HRs, 34 RBIs, 16 SBs) continued his strong season yesterday, going 3 for 4 with two runs, one RBI, and one stolen base. In his career against the Royals, Pelfrey is 1-2 with a 6.05 ERA. He gets a strong Kansas City offense that's batting .269. Torii Hunter (.270, 40 Rs, 12 HRs, 44 RBIs, 1 SB) went 1 for 4 yesterday.
Kansas City is a -159 favorite in this game and the Over/Under (O/U) is eight runs. The Royals have a winning record of 24-16 when playing as the favorite and an overall money line of +1,056. They have struggled as the favorite over their last 10 games, going 0-1. Kansas City has averaged 3.1 runs per game over the last 10 games, lower than its season average of 4.2. The Royals rank second in the AL in hits with 9.2 per game. They typically aren't overmatched by pitchers, leading the AL with an average of only 5.9 strikeouts per game. The Kansas City pitching staff has been dominant, only giving up 3.3 runs per home game, good for best in the AL. The Royals don't give up many hits to opposing batters at Kauffman Stadium, ranking fifth in the AL with only 8.0 hits allowed per home game.
Moving on to the away team, the Twins come into this game with a win percentage of .538 when playing as the underdog (35-30) and an overall money line of +1,296. Against divisional opponents, they are 19-19 SU and 16-16 as the underdog. They also allow just 2.4 walks per game, best in the AL.
The Royals have mostly come out on top against the Twins in their previous 11 games this season, earning a 7-4 record. This game will feature Pelfrey (RHP) on the mound against the Royals, who have a 16-9 home and 32-19 overall record when they take on a right-handed starter. Taking the hill against the Twins will be the right-hander Blanton. They sport a 24-27 record against righties.
Predictions: SU Winner - KC, O/U - Over
The Royals sit at 20-13 against their divisional rivals, while the Twins are 19-20.
For the ninth time this season, the Royals registered at least two errors in a game.
The Royals are 4-1 in games that go into extra innings. Meanwhile, the Twins are 3-3 in such matchups.
The Twins are coming off of a weak pitching game where they recorded six strikeouts. The Royals have a record of 31-18 when opponents' pitchers have that many strikeouts or fewer.
When they outhit their opponents, the Royals are 39-5. The Twins have a 29-1 record when outhitting opponents.
Ranking 16th, Kansas City is in the bottom half of the league in runs, scoring 325 this season. Minnesota ranks in the top half at 15th with 333.
Ranking 30th, Kansas City is at the bottom of the league in walks, notching 164 this season. Minnesota ranks near the bottom at 25th with 191.
The Royals are 29-14 when they hit at least one home run. The Twins perform similarly when they hit one or more homers with a 30-15 record.