Cole Hamels’s nightmare of a season will get a bit better when his Philadelphia Phillies travel to Minnesota to clash with the Twins on Tuesday.
The left-handed Hamels, a former World Series MVP and three-time All Star, currently sports a 2-9 record and a 4.56 ERA. If you look at his peripheral numbers like hit, walk and strikeout rates, they are worse than his career averages but not so horrible to suggest he’s in complete collapse.
Facing the Twins should be a partial salve. Minnesota has not hit lefties very well (.243 batting average) and are currently struggling, having lost four of their last five games. As bad as Hamels has been, he’s put up far better numbers on the road (3.57 ERA) than at home (5.32 ERA). Twins pitcher P.J. Walters has pitched reasonably well in three starts (2-1 with a 3.00 ERA), though it’s worth noting that his worst performance came at home against Milwaukee when he allowed four runs and ten hits in six innings.
As the sample size is small for this season, last season’s result may be more instructive: In twelve 2012 starts he had a 5.69 ERA, while delivering weak strikeout numbers and a relatively high walk rate. Look to historic numbers for both pitchers in this contest and go with the Phillies at 1.75.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a strong pick to upend the Arizona Diamondbacks at home.
Throughout, Dodger starter Zack Greinke’s career, no matter who he was playing for, he’s always been most comfortable throwing in his home stadium. Lifetime he’s 58-30 with a 3.38 ERA at home and 36-49 with a 4.20 ERA on the road.
While this is his first year with Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium has proved a warm welcome. So far in 2013, he’s 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA there. As bad as the Dodgers’ season has been (they’re currently in last place in the National League West), there is some reason for hope. Namely, the promotion of the phenomenal Yasiel Puig from the minor leagues.
Puig hit four homers in his first seven games and started his Major League career with a .464 batting average over that run. While Los Angeles stumbled a bit against a very good Atlanta Braves team coming into this Diamondbacks series, Puig’s inclusion in the lineup suggests the club’s offence may finally show some punch.
As for Arizona, its starter Ian Kennedy is in the midst of free fall. In his last outing he gave up ten runs and thirteen hits in four innings. Overall, he has a 5.72 ERA.
Best bet: Take the Dodgers to win at 1.66