Big Ticket: Take Minnesota (#972)
Francisco Liriano has terrible looking aggregate numbers. So far this year, Liriano is 1-7 with a 5.74 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. Last year, Liriano was just as bad, finishing the season with another losing record, a 5.09 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP. No surprise the betting markets have given him a collective ‘yawn' when he takes the hill; viewing him as a hurler who just hasn't been the same since Tommy John surgery derailed his ‘Rookie of the Year' caliber season back in 2006..
But season long numbers aren't telling the true story for Liriano right now. He was awful – just awful – for the first month of the season, with an 0-5 record and a 9.45 ERA when he mercifully got demoted to the bullpen in early May. He worked things out in the pen, and his five starts since returning to the rotation have been nothing short of excellent. He's allowed four HITS or less in all of those starts while giving up a single run or less three times during that span.
Liriano has a great track record against these White Sox. He faced them once last year, and threw a complete game no-hitter. In five starts against the White Sox in 2010, the Twins won all five times, and Liriano allowed three runs or less in four of those outings. Behind him, Minnesota's bullpen is rested and ready off Scott Diamond's eight inning gem yesterday.
The White Sox lineup is ice cold right now, held to a single run or less in four of their last seven games. Twice in three games over the weekend against the Brewers, Chicago was held without a run for the entire nine innings of regulation play. They hit 20 points lower against lefties than righties and score a half run less per game. The addition of Kevin Youkalis at third base isn't likely to change that dramatically – the first place ChiSox are playing .400 level baseball against southpaws this year!
Chicago starter Jake Peavy is getting plenty of betting market respect right now, with 12 quality starts in 14 tries this season, including a complete game gem against the Cubs in his last outing. But he's due for a major correction today, following that grueling 125 pitch effort – the most pitches he's thrown in any game since 2008! He suffered two very rough starts against Minnesota last year; arguably his worst two outings of the entire team. Facing a Twins squad coming off a momentum inducing ninth inning comeback victory yesterday, Peavy and the White Sox have no business being favored today! Big Ticket: Take Minnesota.