Home Run (Safe bet)
Look for the St. Louis Cardinals, on at 1.57, to win at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Cardinals’ pitcher Michael Wacha will be in his zone in this Wednesday game. Wacha has been nearly unbeatable at Busch Stadium. He’s 5-1 lifetime with a 2.51 ERA at home (compared to 2-3 with a 3.23 ERA on the road).
He goes up against a team that is below the National League average in run production and, in particular, doesn’t perform as well on the road as at home. The Diamondbacks averages fewer runs in away games as well as posting a lower batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage when they’re forced to leave the Arizona desert.
Diamondbacks’ pitcher Brandon McCarthy is one to root for. He’s fought back after receiving a line drive to the head two years ago. Unfortunately, he’s struggled on the pitcher’s mound this season. He’s 1-6 with a 5.01 ERA. He’s actually thrown better than that ERA suggests (his fielding independent pitching, which is a better indicator of performance, is below 4.00).
But, on the road, is where he’s been at his worst. In four away games he has a 5.91 ERA. The Cardinals haven’t been great at the plate in 2014, but they have been considerably better at home. They average nearly five runs (4.67) per game at Busch. This is much better than their road numbers (3.2 runs per game).
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Consider going with the Chicago Cubs – 1.85 - at Wrigley Field over the New York Yankees.
Cubs’ starter Jeff Samardzija has a good chance to end a run of bad luck in this game. Despite owning a pristine 1.62 ERA, the Cubs ace is 0-4. He gets this New York squad at a time when they’re in a bit of a lull. In the last week, they’ve delivered a .244 batting average and a .292 on base percentage.
The fact that they’ll be on the road in interleague won’t help the Yanks either. Accustomed to having a designated hitter, New York will be forced to hit the pitcher, limiting their normal offence.
But even if Samardzija delivers his usual strong performance, the biggest problem, of course, has been run support from Chicago hitters. In nine starts, Samardzija’s team has only mustered more than three runs twice and are averaging 1.86 runs scored in his appearances. So what will be different here? First, New York is starting Chase Whitley.
This will only be Whitley’s second career Major League start. He was great in his first throwing 4 2/3 innings of scoreless ball, but for a former 15th round draft pick there are bound to be some growing pains. Moreover, he’s not stretched out to throw long so the New York bullpen will come into play. That unit has been subpar this year, giving up more than the American League average per game.