The Los Angeles of Anaheim will be thoroughly pleased to be on the road on Sunday against the Seattle Mariners. It’s a location that perfectly suits their starting pitcher, Jason Vargas, who played the previous four years for the Mariners and is a top starter on the pitcher’s mound at Safeco Field. Last season, he had a 2.74 ERA there (compared to a 4.78 ERA anywhere else). Admittedly, the Mariners changed the dimensions of Safeco so it’ll feel a bit different for Vargas, but the left-handed pitcher will still benefit from facing a Seattle line-up that is dismal against lefties (.194 batting average in 236 plate appearances in 2013).
Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma has a strong track record against the Angels: he went 4-0 against them last year in five starts. But in this instance, I expect Vargas’ excellent comfort level in Seattle, plus Los Angeles’ familiarity with Iwakuma (if given enough opportunity, good hitters will get to solid, if unspectacular, pitchers like Iwakuma), to dictate this result. The Angels, on at 1.95, are the bet here.
A strong pitching match-up, coupled with at least one batting line-up not currently at the top of its game, should mean a low-scoring affair when the Milwaukee Brewers face the Los Angeles Dodgers. Los Angeles pitcher Clayton Kershaw is always a good bet to keep scoring down: he hasn’t had an ERA above 3.00 in any of the past four seasons, and his lifetime ERA at home is a sparkling 2.32.
His pitching opponent, Kyle Lohse, doesn't have the same pedigree, but he’s still well positioned to be competitive in this game. He was 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA last year, and this season has continued his excellent ways, registering a 2.52 ERA through four starts. In fact, he’s been very comfortable on the road, where he has a 2.25 ERA in two appearances. He’ll be helped by a Dodgers line-up that has yet to get going. They are ranked 14th out of 15 National League clubs in runs per game. As a result, opt for under 6.5 runs at 1.78 in this contest.