Home run (Safe bet)
Take the Washington Nationals, on at 1.66, to win at home against the San Francisco Giants.
This Friday game has me continuing to side with the impressive work of Doug Fister. The Nationals’ starter has thrown a fantastic ten straight quality starts (six innings or more pitched; three runs or fewer allowed). As good as that stat is, it’s his most recent work that supports this pick the best. Consider the fact that Fister hasn’t given up a run in three straight starts and in his past five appearances he owns a minuscule 0.51 ERA. Two other positive factors for the pitcher: he is 6-1 with a 1.76 ERA at home and in his only other start this year against the Giants, he delivered seven innings of shutout work.
He’ll face off against Tim Hudson, who is, no doubt, a great pitcher in his own right. But at 39-years-old, Hudson is definitely showing some late-season fatigue. In his past four starts he has a 5.32 ERA (and matters are even worse in his last two when he gave up a total of eight runs and fourteen hits in ten innings of work).
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
In Arizona, look for the Diamondbacks and the Padres to combine for more than 8.5 runs; go with it at 1.98.
Quick trivia quiz: What Major League Stadium sits at the highest altitude point after Denver’s Coors Field? Answer: Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. Knowing that the thinner air, the higher you are from sea level leads to more scoring, it should come as no surprise that the Diamondbacks’ home ranks second (out of all thirty big league clubs) in run scoring, according to ESPN’s MLB Park Factors.
While the Padres are the worst run-scoring team in the National League, a match-up against Arizona pitcher Josh Collmenter should help what ails them. Collmenter is very much off his game. In his past four starts he has an 8.50 ERA.
The Diamondbacks possess a better offence (just below league average) and should utilize it against Odrisamer Despaigne. Like many Padres pitchers, Despaigne is great at home and not nearly as good on the road. In five away contests, the pitcher has a 4.28 ERA. It’s also important to watch his work lately. In his past five starts, Despaigne is 1-3 with a 5.99 ERA.