Home run (Safe bet)
Go with the Washington Nationals, on at 1.52, to win at home against the Atlanta Braves.
This Wednesday game is driven by pitching form – one starter has it and the other doesn’t. Atlanta’s Aaron Harang has completely lost the plot on the pitcher’s mound. He was destroyed for ten hits and six runs in a 3 2/3 innings performance against the Miami Marlins last time out. Overall, in his past four starts, he’s 1-4 with a 6.91 ERA. When Harang started the season strongly, many pundits suggested that his skill did not match up with his performance and argued Harang would regress to the mean. That definitely appears to be happening now. He’s failed to deliver a quality start (six innings or more pitched; three runs or fewer allowed) in all but one of his past five starts.
The Nationals won’t have similar insecurity with their starter Stephen Strasburg. In a mirror image to Harang, Strasburg started the year pitching below expectations but has built momentum as the season has deepened. In his past five starts, he’s 3-0 with a 2.20 ERA. Adding to the confidence here is how well the pitcher throws at home. While he’s 3-8 with a 4.45 ERA on the road, Strasburg is 8-2 with a 2.60 ERA in his home starts.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Take the Miami Marlins – 2.10 - on the road to win against the Milwaukee Brewers.
This is a time to ride the Brewers’ demise. The club has lost nine of their last ten and are fading fast from post-season contention. Their starting pitcher in this contest, Wily Peralta, is emblematic of this sheer cliff drop-off Milwaukee is experiencing. He’s generally been a disaster in his past four starts, going 1-3 with a 7.20 ERA. Peralta hasn’t produced a monthly ERA under 4.00 since May. In other words, he’s highly unreliable at the moment.
In contrast, Jarred Cosart has been absolutely excellent for the Marlins. He was traded to the club in late July and, since then, he’s 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA. As for being on the road, no problem for Cosart. In his last two away outings he’s gone 2-0 and allowed just one run in 14 2/3 innings pitched. It should be noted that those two victories were against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Atlanta Braves, respectively. Both those teams were in better form when they fell to Cosart than the current Brewers.