Home run (Safe bet)
Take the Toronto Blue Jays, on at 1.82, to win on the road against the New York Yankees.
Looking at recent history, this Saturday pick has a lot to do with the Blue Jays’ starter Marcus Stroman. The rookie has had a solid year (10-6 with a 3.80 ERA) that has only gotten better the more experience he’s gotten under his belt. In his past four starts he’s 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA. But what’s most important in my mind is that the last time Stroman faced the Yankees on June 23, he dominated them. He went eight innings, giving up three hits and one run while striking out seven.
There is less reason for confidence with New York starter Chris Capuano. In his last five starts he has a 5.09 ERA. While he pitched okay against the Blue Jays in a start on August 29 (6 1/3 innings; three runs), I don’t expect him to outclass Stroman.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
In Kansas City, go with the Royals, 1.85, to beat the Tigers.
Both pitchers in this game -- Max Scherzer (Tigers) and James Shields (Royals) -- have been aces for their clubs this year. Scherzer is 16-5 with a 3.26 ERA and Shields is 14-7 with a 3.15 ERA. But dig deeper statistically and one is not as suited as the other for victory in this contest.
The pitcher worthy of concern is Scherzer, who not only has been wobbly lately (4.31 ERA in his past five starts), but has also been a lesser pitcher on the road (3.70 ERA) that he is at home (2.66 ERA). Most important here, is in terms of facing the Royals, he’s been shaky in three starts against them. In 18 2/3 innings versus Kansas City, Scherzer possess a 5.30 ERA.
Shields provides far fewer red flags. He’s pitched really well recently (2.50 ERA in his past five starts) and has owned the Tigers in his last two starts against them. On Sept. 10, Shields dazzled in Detroit, pitching seven scoreless innings. He allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out eight. In his most recent start against the Tigers previous to that one, he went seven innings and gave up two runs and seven hits, while walking none and striking out eight.