Los Angeles provided plenty of fireworks on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball in a 11-0 blowout victory over the Kansas City Royals at Angel Stadium. The Angels avoided being swept at home for the first time since June 2007 and now heads out on the road for a seven-game trip. This isn’t a bad thing for a team that has won five of its last six road games and are an MLB-best 12-3 in their last 15 away from Southern California. Los Angeles is actually 16-6 in its last 22 road games, outscoring opponents 102-65 in that span. Since 2004, the Angels have the best road record in baseball at 297-229. Manager Mike Scioscia’s club swept the first two meetings between these clubs back on May 19-20 in Chicago.
Angels starter Scott Kazmir has dropped his last two straight posting a 10.80 ERA, after winning the previous four starts. The left-hander owns a 5-3 road record with a 4.73 ERA compared to a 2-4 mark and 7.28 ERA at home. He is making his ninth career start versus the White Sox, going 3-3 with a 4.66 ERA, including an even 1-1 mark and 5.68 ERA in three starts at U.S. Cellular Field. He was 0-2 with a 7.39 ERA in two starts against Chicago in 2009.
Chicago has won 14 of its last 18 games and are 18 of 23 as they just finished a six-game, seven-day road trip. “A lot of people lost faith in this ball club,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. Tonight’s series opener figures to be close, with the White Sox last eight games and 17 of its past 20 being decided by three runs or less. The two previous meetings between the Angels were both decided by a single run. First baseman Paul Konerko figures to play a prominent role in the outcome, being 9-for-20 in his career against Kazmir. Nine of his 20 home runs this season have tied the game or given the Sox the lead this season. Bettors have failed to produce a profit in backing the club at home, with the Sox standing at 20-19 at U.S. Cellular (-460).
White Sox starter Gavin Floyd makes his 17th start of the season and ninth at home, bringing a 3-7 record and 4.66 ERA. The right-hander is just 1-1 over his last five starts despite owning a 1.26 ERA and 33 strikeouts over that span. His 2.98 run support average is second-lowest in the American League, with the under being 12-4-2 in his last 18 home starts. Floyd is 1-3 with a 4.14 ERA and two complete games in five career starts against the Angels. Chicago has won his last three starts, including a 2-0 home victory over the NL East-leading Braves two starts back. He tossed seven shutout innings and allowed just two hits over seven innings in that start, his last at home.
Bettors will have an obvious interest in playing the underdog in this game (+137 at Bookmaker.com), as the Angels are 10-1 in their last 11 games as a dog. This play strengthens with the team’s 5-0 mark in Kazmir’s last five starts away from Angel Stadium. The home team must be respected against a pitcher that loves to place runners on base via the walk, with the White Sox being 12-1 in their last 13 games versus a starter with a SHIP greater than 1.30 (-157 at Bookmaker.com).