Written By: David Duhaim

The Minnesota Twins (20-17) will play host to the Kansas City Royals (17-23) tonight in this divisional series in Target Field. Minnesota will be throwing out lefty Hector Santiago to oppose righty Nathan Karns.

Lines have shifted in favor of Kansas City

Minnesota opened as -130 money line favorites, but have since dropped to -106, where 47% of the public is backing Minnesota. Minnesota has gone 5-0 in their last five outings against Kansas City, while Kansas City has gone 3-9 in their last 12 games on the road.

Santiago is having a solid season.

Santiago's 6.40 K/9 is down from his career average, but his 3.60 BB/9 has been an improvement from his career average. He does give up home runs with a HR/9 of 1.20, but he has done a good job limiting the hard contact hits with a HR/FB ratio of 9.7%. What you like to see from him is he doesn't give up runs without a fight with a LOB% of 79.9% and holds a solid .258 BABIP, which isn't far off from his career average of .267.

He had a rough outing in Cleveland, but now he gets to face one of the worst lineups in the league

Karns has been exceeding expectations, but his matchup against Minnesota isn't favorable.

Karns is producing swings and misses left and right with a strong K/9 of 10.71, and he has been keeping the walks to a minimum with a 2.90 BB/9. He has had a problem with hard contact hits with a HR/FB ratio of 22.9%, but its hard to get good hits off a guy who will either strike you out or induce a ground ball with a GB% of 55.2%.

Unfortunately for Karns, he is about to face a Minnesota lineup that has the 25th most strikeouts and ranks second to last in ground balls hit this year.

Minnesota is ready to break out of hitting slump

Minnesota has averaged 2.33 runs in their last six games, but these series between them and Kansas City have resulted in the over hitting in 9 of their last 12 meetings at home. It also helps they are playing a Kansas City defense that gives up an average of 5.41 runs per game on the road. Meanwhile, Santiago should be able to hold his own against a Kansas City lineup that ranks 29th in scoring runs on the road, and they don't hit well against lefties with a .209 average and .588 OPS%. Take the home team and the small money line.

Pick: Minnesota -106

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