The Atlanta Braves have a clear pitching advantage on Sunday and will take advantage of it with a win against the San Francisco Giants.
San Francisco pitcher Tim Lincecum is in a career tail spin. The former two-time Cy Young Award winner lost form in 2012 and continues to have mechanical difficulties in his delivery this season, which has led to additional poor performances.
Overall, he’s 4-6 with a 4.70 ERA in 2013. If you compare that to last year 10-15 and 5.18 ERA track record, it’s an improvement. But so much of what little he’s shown positively this season has come at home.
At AT&T Park, he’s 3-3 with a 4.20 ERA, but everywhere else he’s 1-3 with a very poor 5.40 ERA. The home-road splits augur much better for Braves pitcher Julio Teheran. In Atlanta he’s 2-1 with a 2.97 ERA, while he has a much weaker 2-2 with a 4.12 ERA on the road.
Overall, Teheran, who is in his first full season as a member of the Braves rotation, appears to be hitting his stride. Over the past month he’s posted a 2.52 ERA. Although Lincecum had one of his best starts against the Braves earlier this season, it was at AT&T. Look for the change of venue to lead to a change in results and pick the Braves (1.58) to win.
I’ve been bitten before when I’ve said Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels will turn things around, but I’m going back to that well again when his club visits the Colorado Rockies.
There are a few reasons why this is a good match-up for the former World Series MVP. The first is that he has a good track record at Coors Field. While most pitchers wither in Denver’s thin air, Hamels has given up just three earned runs in his last fourteen innings pitched there (spanning the past two seasons).
Overall, Rockies hitters possess a subpar .241 batting average (and .276 on base percentage) lifetime against Hamels. Moreover, Hamels is coming off back-to-back strong pitching performances. Over that stretch he’s allowed just three runs in thirteen innings and has struck out sixteen batters.
Another key: the Rockies lineup is banged up. Troy Tulowitzki recently broke his ribs and Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler are both dealing with injuries. Colorado starter Jhoulys Chacin is talented, but he’s been struggling in June, delivering a 6.61 ERA in three starts during this month.
Best bet: Opt for Hamels and Phillies in this contest.