The Atlanta Braves will reign triumphant when they visit the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday. Braves starter Kris Medlen has been solid this year. His win-loss record – 2-6 – is an example of how certain stats can be misleading. Instead, look at his solid ERA (3.14). While other peripherals like hits and walks per every nine innings pitched aren’t as good as his breakout 2012 campaign, they are still respectable and suggest that he’s due a turn of winning luck. In fact, that shift in momentum has already started to occur: the Braves have won three of Medlen’s last four starts.
A depleted Dodgers rotation means Stephen Fife will get his third start of the season. He’s only lasted an average of five innings over his first two starts, which means LA’s very uneven bullpen will likely be required to play a part in this contest. That probably won’t help the Dodgers' cause against a side in the top third of National League teams in terms of runs scored per game. Pick the Braves (on at 1.72) to prevail in this road contest.
Look for a pitchers’ day at Wrigley Field, where the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates will struggle to put runs on the board. Two lesser-profile starters, A.J. Burnett (Pirates) and Jeff Samardzija (Cubs) have been solid this year. Burnett boasts a 3.22 ERA and Samardzija has a 2.96 ERA.
What’s particularly notable in this clash is that both pitchers have good history at Wrigley. Burnett is 4-0 with a 3.09 ERA in five starts there, and Samardzija has always thrown better at home than on the road. This year he has a 3.16 ERA at the stadium known for being “friendly confines” for hitters.
Neither the Cubs nor the Pirates have been offensive juggernauts in 2013. The Cubs are a middling seventh in the NL in runs per game; the Pirates are a more woeful 12th in the league out of 15 teams. The upshot: it won’t be a high scorer.