Home run (Safe bet)
The Los Angeles Dodgers, at 1.58, will win at home against the San Francisco Giants.
It’s always valuable to look for a particularly shaky pitcher in a matchup, and this game on Friday has it.
The Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong was such a good story back in 2011. He returned from a stint in Japan that year to emerge as a frontline pitcher and was nearly just as sharp the following campaign. But he fell apart last year, posting a 4-6 record and a 5.73 ERA. His fastball velocity dropped, he gave up more walks per nine innings, struck out fewer batters and, not surprisingly, became incredibly hittable.
Throughout this year’s spring training, he continued to appear sub-par. When it comes to this contest, Vogelsong faces a particularly stiff test. In this game he must compete against a Dodgers team that torched him for 10 runs in 10 2/3 innings over two games in 2013.
The likely results are also tipped by the Dodgers’ choice of pitchers.
For the third time already this season, Hyun-jin Ryu is a pitcher worth betting on. In two starts (over 12 innings), he’s yet to give up a run and has conceded just five hits. His club as a whole has been sharp. They’ve won each of their first two series (against the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres) and in their first five contests, they’ve scored at least three runs in all but one clash. In other words, they should certainly score enough to back Ryu.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Pick the Seattle Mariners to score first (2.00) on the road versus the Oakland A’s.
One of the biggest surprises of this early season is how well the Mariners lineup has been hitting the ball. While new acquisition Robinson Cano was expected to swing the bat expertly, the likes of Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, and Brad Miller have all unexpectedly gotten off the mark quickly. While you shouldn’t expect this to last all season, it does have a good chance of continuing into the weekend.
A big reason for this is they’re facing A’s pitcher Dan Straily. A right-hander, Straily is a solid pitcher, but he’s been hit much harder by left-handed batters than righties in his career. In fact, lefties have hit 30 points better in batting average, put up an on base percentage 57 points higher and a slugging percentage 67 points higher than right-handers have against the pitcher.
As a result, the Mariners’ very left-handed heavy lineup should cause problems for Straily from the get go. Of Seattle’s typical starting nine hitters, seven can bat left-handed.