Home run (Safe bet)
Pick the Los Angeles Dodgers (1.48) to win at home against the Colorado Rockies. It’s hard to ignore track records in this Tuesday match up. Let’s begin with Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin. He has a long history with Los Angeles hitters and it’s not good. In 167 career plate appearances, the Dodgers have a fantastic line of a .324 batting average, .411 on base percentage and .482 slugging percentage.
In contrast, Dodgers’ starter Zack Greinke has enjoyed much greater success against his hitting opponents. Most notably, in 141 plate appearances, he’s held them to a .288 on base percentage and a .316 slugging percentage. Beyond that, Greinke has an insanely strong history in home games. Over his career he’s 67-33 when pitching at his home park. That means he wins 67% of his games when he’s not on the road. Throw in the Dodgers’ recent improvement at home (they won two of three at Dodger Stadium against the Arizona Diamondbacks to start this home stand) and they are a good bet here.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
In New York, look for the Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays to combine for fewer than eight runs; take it at 1.98. If you want a little glimpse into the future (and very much the present) of top-shelf American League pitching watch this pitchers’ duel. The Yankees send their ace Masahiro Tanaka to the mound. Officially a Major League rookie, the former Japanese league pitcher has outstripped even the highest expectations for his performance this year. He’s currently 10-1 with a 2.02 ERA.
What is most bankable about Tanaka is his consistency. He’s thrown a quality start (six innings or more pitched; three earned runs or fewer allowed) in all thirteen of his starts this year. Even accounting for the bullpen work after him, the Yankees have only given up more than three runs twice in his appearances.
As for Toronto’s starter rookie Marcus Stroman, a brief glance at his 5.18 ERA might make you nervous. But don’t be misled. First, his fielding independent pitching (FIP), which is a better indicator of performance, is 3.04. Second, his ERA is a reflection of two poor outings in relief when he got a first taste of Major League action early in the season. Those miscues left his ERA at an astronomical 12.79. His work as a starter in his three starts is a much more impressive: 2-1 record with a 2.50 ERA. A former first-round draft pick, his starts are a true reflection of Stroman’s great talent.
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