I am not a believer in Los Angeles southpaw Hector Santiago, who enters tonight’s game with a 4.32 ERA and 1.28 WHIP across 20 starts this season, including going 4-2 with a 3.03 ERA and 1.21 WHIP on the road and 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in his last three outings.
Those surface statistics are undermined by disturbing peripherals, including a 4.91 FIP, 5.04 xFIP and a 4.68 SIERA. Hector Santiago’s road numbers have been aided by an unsustainable .245 BABIP and 80% LOB%.
The 28-year-old also owns a pathetic 8.2% K-BB% away from home, together with a subpar 10.6% walk rate. People will inevitably cite Santiago’s 1.08 ERA in July, but a .239 BABIP and lucky 90.2% strand rate have contributed to his artificial ERA.
A closer look reveals that Hector Santiago owns a 10.8% walk rate and a 5.09 xFIP this month. Santiago closed the first half with a 4.58 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 5.10 FIP and a 5.05 xFIP, which is far more telling that a small sample size of 25 inning pitched in July.
Entering the All-Star break, Los Angeles’ rotation was ranked 24th in the Majors with a collective 4.83 ERA and 26th in SIERA. The Angels also arrive in town with a pedestrian relief staff that owns a 4.67 ERA and 1.55 WHIP on the road. In contrast, Kansas City’s bullpen boasts a 3.21 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 2016, together with a 3.34 ERA and 1.28 WHIP at home and a 3.45 ERA and 1.29 WHIP at night.
Kansas City veteran Ian Kennedy was set for a breakout campaign this season, but that has not materialized as evidenced by his middling 4.28 ERA and 1.20 However, the 31-year-old has been much better at home where he owns a 3.38 ERA and 1.10 WHIP, together with a 30.7% strikeout rate (11.39 K/9), 7.4% walk rate (2.74 BB/9) and a 23.3% K-BB%. Kennedy’s ongoing struggle with keeping the ball in the yard keeps him from realizing his full potential.
Specifically, Kennedy currently has a 2.14 HR/9 rate, which is worse than last year’s subpar 1.66 HR/9 rate. However, a 3.58 xFIP in July, combined with a remarkable 31.9% strikeout rate (12.63 K/9) provide optimism moving forward for the veteran hurler.
Let’s also note that the Angels currently rank 25th in baseball in home runs (94) and 17th in walks (287) so they provide a good matchup for Kennedy.
From a technical standpoint, the Angels are 5-16 in their last 21 games versus right-handed starters, 4-12 in their last 16 games following a loss, 3-10 in their last 13 during game 1 of a series (1-4 L/5 Santiago starts) and 0-5 in their last five road tilts.
Kansas City is 38-17 in its last 55 home games and 20-9 in its last 29 games versus left-handed starters, including 12-5 in its last 17 home games versus southpaws. With Kansas City standing at 10-4 in the last 14 meetings in this series, including 5-1 at home, take the Royals and invest with confidence.