It’s been said that good pitching beats good hitting in baseball. But what happens when good pitching faces simply average lineups? The answer: a low-scoring game. Expect that result when the San Francisco Giants host the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.
The pitching slate is impressive in this one: Cliff Lee is going for the Phillies and Matt Cain for the Giants. Lee didn’t have his best outing last time out, conceding four runs in seven innings against the New York Mets. That said his performance was better than the line suggests, as he was hurt by two home runs thanks to game’s location – his offensive-skewed home ballpark Citizens Bank Park.
He shouldn’t face the same difficulty in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park. The Giants’ Matt Cain is coming off a masterful complete game, one-hit, 11-strikeout performance versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. With neither lineup overly stellar – Philadelphia is below average so far and the Giants, while above average have been overachieving – take the under 6.00 runs at 1.75 instead of the over at 2.08.
A nice, uneven match up has the Houston Astros travelling to Washington to face the Nationals. Houston started surprisingly, winning three of their first four but since then have begun to play as expected – not well. On the other hand, Washington has proved it deserves real contender status winning three out of four in its most recent four-game series against a good Cincinnati Reds club.
The Nationals’ pitcher Jordan Zimmermann isn’t a marquee name, but he is a top shelf talent. He’s proved it so far on this young season, posting a 1.29 ERA in 14 innings. As for the Astros, Lucas Harrell can’t be counted on in the same way. He looked great in his first start against the Colorado Rockies, but his second game against the Miami Marlins, in which his pitching command was spotty as he gave up four runs in seven innings, is more reflective of what he brings to the table.
Hold off on the Astros at 2.70 and go with the Nationals at 1.47.