Two of the National League’s best under-the-radar starters square off when the Washington Nationals visit the San Francisco Giants on Monday. Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Vogelsong should provide a pitching masterclass. Though his walk totals remain a bit high for an elite starter, Gonzalez is amazing when he’s around the strike zone: he’s only given up 107 hits in 141 innings and has 154 strike outs (second best in the NL). He also has 14 wins – 9 of which have been registered on the road.
As good as Gonzalez has been, Vogelsong has been even better. He leads in the National League in ERA (2.27) and is also terribly hard to hit (111 hits in 143 innings). Pitching at AT&T Park just amplifies his success: at home he boasts a 1.42 ERA. Both clubs have good line-ups, but neither is among the top-five in the league in scoring. Expect an aggregate score below 6.5 runs so take the under at 1.88 rather than the over at 1.92.
It’s time to bet against a player when the Milwaukee Brewers play the Rockies in Colorado. That player is pitcher Jeff Francis. In his last three starts, the left-hander is 0-3 with a 10.80 ERA, and has given up 19 hits in 11 2/3 innings. Bottom line: he’s struggling big time. The Brewers line-up, which is fifth in the NL in run scoring, should take advantage.
Milwaukee’s chances are bolstered by their starter, Mike Fiers. The rookie has been stellar this year. Overall, he’s posted a 6-4 record with a 1.80 ERA and appears to be getting better as he goes. Case in point: he threw six perfect innings against the Cincinnati Reds before yielding a hit in the seventh in his last appearance. Pick the Brewers at 1.60 and pass on the Rockies at 2.35.