Home run (Safe bet)
Pick the Washington Nationals, at home and on at 1.55, to get the better of the San Diego Padres.
Let’s start with the comparable offensive power in this Thursday game. Washington’s lineup is currently delivering the third-best run production per game in the National League. San Diego is dead last in the circuit.
Pitching-wise, the Nationals have Jordan Zimmermann starting. Zimmermann had one shaky start near the beginning of the season, but in his last two outings he’s conceded just three earned runs in 14 innings.
Padres’ pitcher Eric Stults is coming off a solid performance against the San Francisco Giants, giving up just one run in six innings. But for the purposes of this game, that effort is simply a mirage. The reason: he was throwing in the comfy confines of Petco Park. When he leaves that pitcher friendly environment, he’s a very hittable pitcher. This year he’s given up six earned runs in just 9 2/3 innings in two starts away from Petco.
This type of disaster is in line with Stults’ splits last year. In 2013, he owned a 4.77 ERA on the road versus 3.06 ERA at home.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Take the Cleveland Indians 1.75 to get the victory at home against the Kansas City Royals.
The Royals may be higher in the standings compared with the Indians, but this game will go the way of the home team.
Bruce Chen, who gets the starting pitching assignment, does not have a good history with the Cleveland batters. In 167 plate appearances, Indians hitters have a robust .296 batting average with a .366 on base percentage and a .475 slugging percentage. If you’re expecting the Royals offence to have Chen’s back, it’s unlikely. The team ranks third-to-last in runs scored per game.
Moreover, Indians’ starter Corey Kluber has a good track record against Kansas City’s batter (they’ve only hit .247 with a .288 on base percentage in 104 plate appearances).
The Royals do have a .423 slugging percentage, but that is basically on account of a pair of homers by Alex Gordon and three doubles from the slumping Mike Moustakas. If he can navigate those two he should be just fine. Especially considering that he throws very effectively at home (3.69 ERA) as opposed to on the road (5.27).