The Colorado Rockies will continue their winning ways on Saturday when they travel to the desert to face the Arizona Diamondbacks. The key in this one will be starter Jeff Francis. His numbers this season have been downright horrible (8.44 ERA), but aside from one abysmal road start all the damage against him has occurred in the offensive zone that is Denver’s Coors Field. In contrast, Francis has had pretty good success on the road at the D-Backs’ home, Chase Field (6-3 lifetime there). Plus, this version of the Arizona club has a pretty glaring weak spot – left-handed pitchers. Against lefties like Francis, the team is hitting .209 with a paltry .324 slugging percentage.
Arizona starter Wade Miley is off to a strong start (2-0 with a 2.77 ERA). He also has a career 4-0 record versus the Rockies. But this Colorado team is much-improved from the versions he beat in 2011 and 2012. They’ve also swung the bat better against lefties – Miley is also a left-hander – than the D-Backs. Pick the Rockies at 2.50 to take the road win.
The Atlanta Braves have slowed down a bit following their blistering start to 2013 but should still snag a road win at the Detroit Tigers. Braves pitcher Kris Medlin has picked up right where he left off last season, showing great command around the strike zone, working fast, and keeping runs off the board. What’s nice about Medlen is he has a history of throwing quite well on the road (13-4 with a 3.11 ERA lifetime). He also proved last year that he’s comfortable in interleague situations: in 2012, he registered a 2.84 ERA in five interleague appearances.
His chances should also be improved by the poor form of his opposing hurler, Rick Porcello. The former first-round draft pick has been terrible this season, as evidenced by his 11.08 ERA in four games. Also, unlike Medlen, interleague has been a consistently vexing experience for Porcello – he holds a 4.83 ERA in 14 career interleague starts. Go with the Braves at 1.78.