The Baltimore Orioles will snag a home victory Friday against the Colorado Rockies. Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen has a number of factors going his way in this contest. First off, he’s riding some positive momentum: Chen is currently on a streak of six straight quality starts (six innings-plus pitched; three runs or fewer allowed). Second, he’s pitching at home, where he’s been excellent. At Camden Yards, he’s 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA (on the road: 3-4 with a 3.29 ERA). Third, the Rockies are one of baseball’s truly bad road teams (they have a .356 winning percentage on the road). Finally, being a left-hander will aid Chen’s cause in this one as well. Colorado aren’t as good against lefty starters compared to righties (.255 batting average versus .269; .391 slugging percentage versus .429).
Rockies starter Juan Nicasio has struggled with a 6-6 record and a 5.04 ERA. Matters are not improving as the season progresses: he has a 6.30 ERA in his past two starts and, while Coors Field is usually the bane of every Colorado pitcher’s existence, Nicasio also pitches worse on the road (6.03 ERA in 12 starts) than at home (3.95 ERA in 10 starts). Pick the Orioles, who can be had at 1.52, for the win.
A contest against the cellar-dwelling Houston Astros is just what Jerome Williams and his Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim need. Williams has been crushed by good teams this season, going 3-6 record with a 5.61 ERA against teams with winning records. But when clubs with more losses than wins face up against Williams, the right-hander is much more effective, owning a 2-2 tally and a 3.43 ERA. Houston hitters have a woeful .111 batting average in 31 plate appearances against Williams.
Moreover, while the Astros have been weak all season, they have performed worse in the second half. The team recently traded away a number of their better players (like Bud Norris and Jose Veras) and, not surprisingly, opened the post-All Star Game period with a 6-19 record. Their starter in this game, Brad Peacock, has been a human punching bag in 11 appearances. While he’s looked better in his last two outings, his overall ERA is 6.43. Opt for the Angels at 1.58.