Home run (Safest bet)
Take the San Francisco Giants (1.60) in their home contest versus the Minnesota Twins.
Giants’ starter Ryan Vogelsong will benefit greatly from pitching at AT&T Park in this Saturday contest. The right-hander appeared to be on the verge of oblivion at the start of the season. After a miserable 2013 campaign, Vogelsong was sporting a 7.71 ERA through his first four starts. But since then, he’s truly regained form. In his past five outings, he’s only given up more than one run in a game once. What’s particularly notable for this clash is he’s really been in a groove at home. In five home games, he owns a 2.61 ERA (as opposed to a 5.30 ERA elsewhere).
The Twins’ Ricky Nolasco was a big off-season acquisition, but he hasn’t pitched like one. In nine starts, he’s 2-4 with a 5.50 ERA. Facing San Francisco’s lineup probably won’t change that poor run. In 198 career plate appearances, Giants’ batters possess a strong .317 batting average, .364 on base percentage and .528 slugging percentage against Nolasco.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
The Boston Red Sox, on at 2.25 on the road, will gain a win against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Boston is the defending World Series Champions, but have certainly not being playing like winners lately. Coming into this weekend they were 2-8 in their last ten games. The Rays have only been a bit better at 4-6. In addition, both starting pitchers have been shaky this season. The Red Sox’s Jake Peavy is 1-2 with a 4.33 ERA and the Rays’ David Price is 4-4 with a 4.28 ERA.
So what’s the separator here? Well the Red Sox, despite their overall woes, have been surprisingly solid on the road (10-9), while the Rays have really floundered at home (9-14). In addition, Jake Peavy has a solid track record at Tropicana Field (2-0 with a 3.93 ERA) and, lifetime against Rays’ hitters, he’s held them to a .218 batting average in 154 plate appearances. The left-hander Price has also been good against Boston batters (.236 in 229 PAs), but Boston has really stepped up its game against lefty starters this year. They own a .264 batting average, .361 on base percentage and .481 slugging percentage against lefty starters; against righties those numbers drop to .235/.311/.358.