Home run (Safe bet)
Go with the Los Angeles Dodgers, on at 1.42, to win at home versus the Chicago White Sox.
This choice is actually a bit gutsier than I would normally like in the “safe” category, but on a thin Monday schedule it’s the best we’ve got. The big advantage here is the Dodgers’ starter Clayton Kershaw. While he hasn’t quite been his dominant self this year, he has come through with a quality start (six inning or more pitched; three runs or less allowed) in all but one of his six starts. More than anything, he’s such a stalwart performer at Dodger Stadium, owning a 42-24 lifetime record there (that’s a .636 winning percentage for those of you wondering at home) and a 2.24 ERA there.
The White Sox have a solid pitcher in Jose Quintana on the pitchers’ mound (3-4, 3.61 ERA) and their lineup has been quite good (above the American League average in run production per context). This game will also mark the return of their best offensive weapon Jose Abreu, who has been on the disabled list since May 18. That said expect Abreu to experience a bit of rust upon returning from the layoff, which will diminish his value in this particular game. One final point: this interleague game is being played at the Dodgers’ National League stadium, meaning the White Sox will not be able to use its customary designated hitter. That is always a minor disadvantage for an AL club.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Take the New York Mets (1.95) to win on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Mets' Bartolo Colon is the gamble here. Looking at his 4-5 record and his 4.73 ERA and he doesn’t appear poised to deliver a strong performance. But those superficial numbers are misleading. First, his fielding independent pitching, a statistic on the same scale as ERA that gives a better sense of performance, is a much more respectable 3.69.
Colon is also coming off of back-to-back excellent performances. He threw a seven-inning shutout his last time out against the Pittsburgh Pirates and yielded just two runs and five hits over eight innings at the Washington Nationals on May 17. In fact, if you take away two horrid performances on the road at two of the toughest places to pitch (Coors Field in Colorado and Yankee Stadium in New York), he’s thrown quality starts in five most recent starts.
He’ll face a Phillies lineup that has been really bad over the last four weeks. In that stretch, they’ve put up a .227 batting average, .310 on base percentage and a .366 slugging average. Philadelphia will start Roberto Hernandez, who has been overachieving this year. While his ERA is 3.76, his FIP is 4.66.