The St Louis Cardinals will take a road win against the San Francisco Giants on Friday. The key in this one is how the Cardinals offence lines up against the Giants' starting pitcher, Barry Zito. The left-handed Zito had a bounce-back year in 2012 but his pitching arsenal is middling and he can struggle against talented right-handed hitters. In 2012, right-handed batters hit a robust .281 against Zito compared to left-handers, who mustered just a .209 average. This will make matters tough on the Giants starter as the Cardinals have a line-up featuring top-notch righties, including Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina and Allen Craig (plus there’s switch-hitter Carlos Beltran).
Cards starting pitcher Jake Westbrook is not a dominator and has little experience at AT&T Park (just one career start), but he faces the opposite situation to Zito. The right-handed Westbrook gets the advantage of facing off against a San Francisco line-up with right-handers like Buster Posey and Hunter Pence. This should give Westbrook just enough of an advantage to outpitch Zito (Westbrook must contend with switch-hitter Pablo Sandoval, but he should still have the edge). Go with the Cardinals at 2.00.
With a late start to 2013 and new environs to pitch in, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Kyle Lohse will struggle to deliver against the Arizona Diamondbacks at home. Lohse, who signed near the end of Spring Training with Milwaukee, only got in one short appearance before the season began. Making his first start at Miller Park will add to his issues in this one; in nine career starts as a visiting pitcher he has posted a poor 6.95 ERA. While it might be different being in the home dugout, it’s fair to expect some transition.
As for the D-Backs starter Wade Miley, expect good things in 2013. As a rookie he put up solid numbers but did fade a bit at the end of the year (3.04 ERA in the first half versus a 3.64 ERA in the second). He should revert back to that first half performance as he won’t have the fatigue that led to the slight dip in form. Arizona (2.10) is the pick here.