The Cincinnati Reds will go into Pittsburgh and earn a victory against the Pirates on Saturday. Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano’s overall numbers are great: he’s 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA. But what the numbers don’t tell you is just how much of his success has come against weak clubs. Liriano’s wins came against the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets, who have a combined 29 games under .500 coming into this weekend. Against the one good team he faced – the Detroit Tigers – he struggled allowing four runs in five innings of work. The Reds are a top-notch offensive club currently ranked second in the National League in runs per game. They also happen to swing the bat a bit better against left-handers than against right-handed pitchers (Liriano is a lefty).
Reds starter Mike Leake enters this contest on a roll. He’s allowed just one earned run in his past 21 innings pitched. His recent record on the road is even more impressive: he currently owns a 13 2/3 innings scoreless streak in away games. Take the Reds at 2.10.
Madison Bumgarner’s recent struggles on the road will be the San Francisco Giants’ undoing when they visit the St. Louis Cardinals. Bumgarner is coming off of two disastrous away appearances. In his last outing he gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings and walked five against Oakland. In his previous road start, he gave up nine runs in 4 2/3 in Denver against the Colorado Rockies. In addition, Cardinals’ hitters own a healthy .279 combined career batting average against Bumgarner.
St. Louis pitcher Adam Wainwright has been stellar this season with a 2.48 ERA. His best work has come in St. Louis where he’s delivered a 1.45 ERA in four starts. While Giants hitters have a solid track record against Wainwright (.275 overall lifetime), the home field advantage for St. Louis, who entered the weekend with a .625 winning percentage at Busch Stadium, will be the difference maker. Go with the Cardinals to win.