Cubs v Astros
In what should be a streak-breaking performance, the Chicago Cubs will win on Tuesday at home against the Houston Astros. The streak in question involves Cubs starter Chris Volstad, who is on an embarrassing run. He’s 0-8 in 2012 and has gone 22 straight starts without a win. So why will this game be any different? First, he’s been pitching better as of late. He’s thrown two consecutive quality starters (six-plus innings pitched; three or few earned runs allowed). Second, while his opponent Lucas Harrell has put up good numbers overall (9-8 with a 3.97 ERA), the rookie right-hander has struggled mightily on the road going 3-6 with a 5.50 ERA (compared to 6-2 with a 2.14 ERA at home). Plus, from a cosmic standpoint, the Astros are the right team for Volstad to get back in the win column against. His last win came against Houston way back on July 10, 2011. Pick the Cubs at 1.81 as Volstad is poised to break free of ignominy against the Astros (on at 2.00).
Reds v Mets
The Cincinnati Reds are well-positioned to get the better of the visiting New York Mets. When Cincinnati acquired Mat Latos in the off-season, they picked up a pitcher with ace ability. It’s just taken him some time to acclimate to his new surroundings. In the first half he sported a 4.13 ERA, but since the All-Star break he’s upped his game delivering a 2.92 ERA in six starts. Pitching at home has also been beneficial for the righty as he owns a 3.52 ERA in Cincy compared to a 4.15 on the road. Mets starter Chris Young has been very unreliable this year. The often-injury big man (he’s 6-foot, 10-inches), was shelled in his last outing giving up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Miami Marlins. His overall numbers: 3-6 with a 4.87 ERA. It won’t help him that when the Reds are at home they swing the bat quite well –they’ve scored more runs and hit more homers in fewer home games than on the road. Go with the Reds at 1.52; avoid the Mets at 2.55.