Home run (Safe bet)
Go with the Oakland Athletics, on at 1.58, to win at home against the Seattle Mariners.
Oakland will benefit greatly in this Tuesday contest from Jesse Chavez pitching. Chavez has been one of baseball’s biggest surprises in 2014.
He leads the American League with a 1.89 ERA and has been incredibly consistent, allowing one run or less in five of his six starts. Seattle is a team he’s already faced this year and he handled them nicely, giving up five hits and one earned run in six innings. That game was way back on April 3, and Chavez has only gotten better since then.
Seattle counters with Roenis Elias, who actually dueled Chavez quite nicely in that April 3 game. He gave up one run and two hits in five innings in that match-up. The difference here is Elias hasn’t been nearly as consistent as Chavez since then. He’s failed to log a quality start (six innings or more pitched; three runs or less allowed) in two of his last three outings. Also, while his overall ERA is a sturdy 3.09, his fielding independent pitching (FIP), which tends to better reflect performance is a more mediocre 3.93.
Final thought: Oakland is ranked fifth (out of fifteen teams) in run production this season versus Seattle that is eleventh – so offensively, this game also favours the A’s.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Choose the San Francisco Giants at 1.87 to earn a victory on the road at the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The odds are always against the road team. Through the season’s first 461 games, road teams owned a .490 winning percentage. That said take the decent line here that you get for picking an away team because this is a mismatch.
While road teams do tend to lose more than they win, that’s not been the case with the Giants, who are 10-6 in away games. Pittsburgh, who currently sit in last in the National League Central, have not protected their home turf particularly well – they are 8-9 in their first 17 home match ups.
Pitching-wise, the Giants have Tim Hudson throwing. Hudson is off to a great start in 2014 (2.17 ERA in six starts). Most notably, he’s been a valiant road warrior this season, posting a 1.23 ERA in two appearances (compared to a 2.61 ERA at home in four starts). His pitching opponent is Charlie Morton, who is 0-4 with a 4.21 ERA.
What’s unsettling for him in this game is his terrible numbers against San Francisco hitters. In 109 plate appearances, Giants batters own a .337 batting average against Morton.