Davies’ Struggles: Struggling Kyle Davies Faces the White Sox at Home

Chicago White Sox (46-49)  AT Kansas City Royals (38-57)
July 18, 2011 at 8:10 PM EST
Opening Line:  CWS -130, KC +110
Current Line:  CWS -120, KC -100
Opening Total:   9.5
Current Total:  9.5

SP: CWS- Mark Buehrle; KC- Kyle Davies

Paul Konerko has 68 RBIs and is batting a team-best .318

Mark Buehrle’s resurgence, or return to form, has been a beautiful thing for White Sox fans to observe.  In 2008, Buehrle finished with a 15-12 record and a 3.79 ERA, but had not been anywhere near under 4.00 since that season.  This year, his 3.42 ERA represents the second lowest ERA for his career (his best was 3.29 in his second year in the league – he had a 16-8 record to go along with it).

In his last four starts, Buehrle has compiled a 2.30 ERA, though he did not record a decision in any of those matches.  Against the Twins on the 9th, he gave up 3 unearned runs in 8 innings of work, as the White Sox won 4-3.  He’s already started twice against the Royals this season, but did not receive a decision in either of those games.  In the first he gave up 5 runs in 5 innings, but the White Sox won; in the second, he gave up 3 runs in 7 innings as the White Sox won 5-4.  Over his last four starts against the Royals, he has went 1-0 with a 3.81 ERA, and the White Sox have won all four of those starts.

Kyle Davies, unfortunately, has not been as lucky this season.  His 7.74 ERA ranks among the worst in the majors of all starters and he has only won one decision on the season so far (while having picked up eight losses).  He has lost his last 7 starts with a 8.10 ERA over those games and even missing time to let a rotator cuff heal didn’t prove to reverse his fortunes.  Since he has returned from the injury, his ERA has been even higher, at 9.00.

He rationalized his pitching, implicating it has been much better than the numbers suggest, saying, “Obviously, you look at the numbers and they’re not good, but command wise, I’m working as hard as I can to command the baseball, keep the ball down low and try to get better.”

The fact is, Davies has not kept the ball low and has given up 22 walks with only 35 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched.  He was projected by Baseball Prospectus to have a much better season, with a possible ERA in the neighborhood of the high 4.00s, certainly not in the 7.00s.  His WHIP is nearly 2.00.  It’s difficult to win when you allow a runner in scoring position almost every inning.

Last start against the White Sox, however, Davies actually pitched well, giving up only 1 run in 6 innings, as the Sox went on to win 8-2.  The White Sox are coming off a tough loss to the Tigers in which they blew a three run lead and failed to complete the series sweep.

“If we play for the rest of the season like we played in this series, we’ll be fine,” White Sox’ manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I’ll take two of three for the rest of the year.”

The Royals have really been struggling offensively.  They have scored an average of 2.6 runs per game over the last 5 and they lost 4-3 to the Twins last night, their sixth loss on the last eight games.  The Royals, also however, have won 9 of the last 13 games at Kansas City.

Some betting trends:

The Chicago White Sox are 3-6 SU in their last 9 games and the total has gone UNDER in 5 of their last 6 road games.  The White Sox are 6-2 SU in their last 8 games and the total has gone OVER In 5 of the last 6 road games against the Kansas City Royals.  The White Sox are 4-9 SU in their last 13 road games against the Royals.

The Kansas City Royals are 1-4 SU in their last 5 games while the total has goen UNDER In 4 of their last 5 games.  The Royals are 5-13 SU in their last 18 home games and the total has gone OVER In 5 of the Royals’ last 6 games at home against the White Sox.  The Royals are 9-4 SU in their last 13 games at home against the White Sox.

Given Davies’ struggles, it is easy to see why the total is set high at 9.5 for this one, and though it is high, I actually do like the ‘over’ on it.  I expect the White Sox to get cooking offensively and possibly score 7 to 9 runs.

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