ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Betting Preview – Royals at Angels

The Angels look to avoid being swept at home for the first time in 77 series tonight in front of a national audience.

Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels

Kansas City was led by pitcher Bruce Chen starting Saturday’s game with six perfect innings before eventually picking up a 4-2 road victory against the Los Angeles Angels.  “I’ll have to get my dictionary out to find a better word than awesome, great, fantastic,” manager Ned Yost said about the start.  The Royals have reached the halfway point of the season, going 36-45 through 81 games, after going 35-46 at this point of the year in 2009.  Last night’s victory also gave the Royals three straight series victories over the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox and Angels.  The Royals are going for their first three-game series sweep of the season.

Royals starting pitcher Anthony Lerew is 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA in three starts this season (+120), allowing three home runs in 17.1 innings.  The right-hander tallied a 3-1 home victory over the White Sox in his last start, allowing just a single run and three hits over six innings.  He has made just one start away from Kauffman Stadium in 2010, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Washington Nationals.  Lerew has made 17 career big league appearances (eight starts) for the Braves and Royals, but missed portions of the 2007 and 2008 season after having Tommy John surgery.  He will be making his first career start against the Angels in front of a national audience.

Los Angeles has fallen 4.5 games back of the AL West-leading Texas Rangers in dropping the opening games of this series.  The club will now seek to avoid being swept for the first time in two months.  Ironically enough, Los Angeles has gone 77 consecutive series without being swept at home, with the last instance occurring against today’s opponent.  It’s even harder to imagine manager Mike Scioscia’s club getting swept tonight, as the team is 24-13 in games played from Friday-Sunday this year.  Outfielder Bobby Abreu and designated hitter Hideki Matsui are the only Angels to have faced today’s starter, going a combined 0-for-4.  The Halos are off to a 1-2 start in the month (-220), but are a sensational 39-15 over the last three years in July (+2,120).

Angels starting pitcher Joel Pineiro is 8-6 with a 4.23 ERA in 16 starts this season (+540).  He has won five straight starts, posting a 2.48 ERA over that span.  The three runs he allowed in his last started matched the total from his previous three starts combined.  The right-hander is a solid 5-2 with a 2.47 ERA in nine home starts this year, issuing just 14 walks and striking out 40 in 62 innings of work.  In 13 career games (nine starts) against the Royals, he is an even 4-4 with a 4.23 ERA (-200).  Pineiro’s last loss happened to come in a road start against the Royals, allowing six runs and 10 hits over eight innings.

Don’t empty the wallet on the Angels tonight on ESPN due to the Royals standing at an even 6-6 as a road underdog of +150 to +175 (+400).  The total in those games stands at 8-3 O/U and 27-23 O/U in this situation the last three years.  The over is also a difficult bet to make, with the Angels being 2-7 O/U as a home favorite of -150 to -175 on the year.

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