A big question when the Los Angeles Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday is which starting pitcher is more rejuvenated?
The visiting Giants send Tim Lincecum to the mound, who posted a woeful 5.18 ERA in 2012. The Dodgers’ Josh Beckett (4.65 ERA) wasn’t much better, but each pitcher has showed improvement of late.
Lincecum had a 3.83 ERA in the second half compared to a 6.42 ERA in the first half. Beckett, who was traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers in late August, had a 5.23 ERA before the deal and a 2.93 ERA in nine starts after joining Los Angeles.
The key here: Beckett at Dodger Stadium. The move was so successful for the right-hander because he was an expert in his new home park, going 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 18 innings. There is no reason to expect anything different out of him this season.
Moreover, despite promising signs for Lincecum, he wasn’t very good on the road all last year (6.43 ERA away versus 4.15 ERA at home). Go with the Beckett’s strengths and take the Dodgers at 1.75 rather than the Giants at 2.10.
Paul Maholm’s time may finally have come and the Atlanta Braves should benefit when they host the Philadelphia Phillies.
Maholm has toiled with some bad teams – the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs – before making the move to the Braves in late 2012. With those previous clubs he struggled to get wins, but he generally threw effectively (he’s posted a 3.66 and a 3.67 ERA respectively over the past two seasons).
In spring training – his first with the Braves – he’s pitched with confidence, registering a 1.53 ERA in seven starts. His motivation should be high with a team that will compete for a play-off spot.
While his pitching opposition, Roy Halladay, is certainly a bigger name, it’s been a while since he’s appeared to be the dominating pitcher who won two Cy Young Awards. In 2012, he had a 4.49 ERA and in spring training he appeared inconsistent, posting a 6.06 ERA.
Take the less heralded Maholm and go with the Braves at 1.75, instead of the pedigreed Halladay and his Phillies at 2.10.
Best Bet: Back the Atlanta Braves against the Philadelphia Phillies at 2.10
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