Home field advantage will be the difference maker Sunday when the Philadelphia Phillies visit the Washington Nationals.
For Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann, it’s been a tale of two seasons. When he’s at home, he’s 10-3 with a 2.84 ERA. When he’s forced on the road he’s a much more average 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA. A key stat: When he pitches at home he does a much better job of avoiding serving up home runs (104 2/3 innings pitched and eight homers versus 10 homers in just 85 2/3 innings on the road).
The streaking Nats (they started September 9-2) entered this series riding a six game winning streak. It’s unlikely Phillies starter Tyler Cloyd will put up much of a fight against that kind of momentum.
Cloyd is 2-4 with a 4.56 ERA. In his one career start against Washington (back in 2012) he was beat up for six runs in five innings pitched. Take the Nationals at 1.45.
Expect a low scoring contest when the Pittsburgh Pirates host the Chicago Cubs. Both starting pitchers have great track records against their opposing hitters.
The Pirates’ Francisco Liriano has dominated the Cubs this season. In three starts, the left-hander is 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA. Lifetime, Cubs hitters have a .167 batting average against Liriano in 68 plate appearances. It’s also worth pointing out that he has been fantastic at home (8-1 with a 1.21 ERA in nine starts there).
As for the Cubs’ pitcher, Travis Wood, he has also pitched his best against Pittsburgh (in two starts, Wood has a 0.75 ERA). Throughout his career, in 152 plate appearances, Pirates hitters have a .172 batting average versus Wood.
The Pirates have more at stake and are likely to win, but either way there shouldn’t be a lot of scoring. Expect the run total to come in under 7 runs and take it at 1.85.
Back under 7 runs between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs at 1.85
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