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Tue, 05/20/14 - 8:10 PM Bryan Leonard | MLB RunLine
Free pick 922 KAN -1.5 (+100) Westgate vs 921 CWS
Results: L, 0
Analysis: 922 Chicago White Sox at Kansas City

The White Sox and Royals will continue their AL Central series when Andre Rienzo and Yordano Ventura face off on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium. This looks like a great matchup for the Royals, a team that the statistics suggest is ready for a major breakout. Left-handed batters are slugging .483 off of Rienzo so far this season through 71 plate appearances and that's a continuation of last season when lefties slugged .455 in 165 plate appearances. Lefties have posted a .347 wOBA against Rienzo in his career.

Rienzo will continue to struggle as a Major Leaguer because of below average whiff rates on all of his pitches. For a guy that pitches to contact, Rienzo has a Major League walk rate above 11 percent. Rienzo has also seen a major upswing in fly balls after posting an above average ground ball rate last season. The White Sox are also -14 defensive runs saved so far this season, which will definitely have an impact with guys like Rienzo that don't strike out many hitters.

Yordano Ventura gets a crack at a right-handed heavy lineup minus Jose Abreu and that's a great matchup for a guy like him. Ventura has posted a 1.13 WHIP with 53 K in 48.2 innings of work. He's also seen increases in both his ground ball rate and pop up rate, which is a big reason why his batting average against is just .213. He's pitching ahead in the count more with a first-pitch strike percentage increase of over seven percent.

So far this month nobody is striking out more than the White Sox, who are striking out in nearly 26 percent of their plate appearances. Speaking of monthly stats, the Royals have the third-lowest BABIP despite the lowest percentage of strikeouts. Progression to the mean should be coming for the Royals on balls in play and facing off against a pitch-to-contact guy with a bad defense should start that trend.


Pick Made: May 20 2014 5:36AM PST
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