Kansas City right-hander Yordano Ventura is off to a terrible start in 2016, posting a 4.85 ERA and 1.54 WHIP in his first eight outings. The young flame-thrower also owns an alarming 6.30 ERA and 1.80 WHIP on the road and a 6.89 ERA and 1.78 WHIP over his last three starts. Ventura’s struggles can be traced back to a declining strikeout rate (6.54 K/9 vs. 8.60 K/9 in 2015) and a lack of control (6.12 BB/9 vs. 3.20 BB/9 in 2015).
And, despite being aided by a fortunate .252 BABIP, Ventura still owns a 5.34 FIP, 5.87 xFIP and 5.65 SIERA. Another red flag surrounding the 24-year-old is the fact that he is yielding fly balls 38.2% of the time as compared to 27.2% last year. Ventura has also issued nearly as many walks (29) as strikeouts (31) this season.
Chicago southpaw Carlos Rodon has been a disappointment to date, posting a 4.73 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in eight starts. However, the 23-year-old has a 3.67 xFIP and 3.77 SIERA despite being a tad unlucky with a .323 BABIP. I also like the fact that Rodon has increased his strikeout rate (9.26) while simultaneously reducing his walk rate (3.35 BB/9).
Rodin’s command started to improve in the second half of last season (13.9% first half vs. 9.7% second half) and it now stands at 8.4% in 2016. The lefty is also supported by a very good Chicago bullpen that owns a 2.74 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, including a 1.83 ERA and 1.05 WHIP at home and a 1.50 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in day games.
Kansas City has also struggled to hit lefties this season, batting .248 with a .293 OBP in six games (2.8 runs per game). Technically speaking, the Royals are 5-12 in their last seventeen road games, 3-8 in their last 11 games off a win and 3-7 in Ventura’s last ten road starting versus .501 or greater opposition.
In contrast, Chicago is 9-4 in its last 13 home games versus right-handed starters, 7-2 in its last nine American League Central contests (5-1 L/6 with Rodon on the Hill) and 4-1 in its last five games after losing the first two games of a series.
With Kansas City standing at 5-15 in its last 20 games with umpire Scott Barry behind the plate, take the White Sox to avoid the sweep in this American League division clash and invest with confidence.
Oskeim Sports’ Free American League Best Bet: Chicago White Sox (-115)