Cliff Lee is going to continue his strong run of form when his Philadelphia Phillies visit the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday. Lee has been hot, winning his last four and allowing just five runs in 39 innings pitched. Lee has been especially good on the road, where he’s 5-1 with a 1.53 ERA in 2013 (in contrast, he’s 2-1 with a 3.82 ERA at home). As for Miller Park, he’s pitched back-to-back quality starts (six innings plus pitched; three or fewer runs conceded), allowing just four runs in 14 2/3 innings in that stretch. While Ryan Braun has gotten the better of Lee throughout his career (.474 batting average in 19 at bats), a number of starters – Norichika Aoki, Jonathan Lucroy, Rickie Weeks and Jean Segura – all have lifetime batting averages under .200 against him.
The Brewers are countering with Alfredo Figaro, who is shackled with a lifetime 5.05 ERA. He’s only started one Major League game this year, giving up four runs in five innings against the Minnesota Twins. Lee will dominate and the Phillies, who can be had at 1.68, will win.
Bank on a high-scoring affair when the Baltimore Orioles visit the Tampa Bay Rays. Both clubs boast impressive run-producing line-ups: Baltimore rank third and the Rays fourth in runs per game among the 15 American League teams. Both starting pitchers – Chris Archer (Rays) and Jason Hammel (Orioles) – certainly have their weaknesses. Archer was shelled in his only Big League start this year: five runs and seven hits allowed in just four innings pitched against the Cleveland Indians.
Hammel may be 7-3, but his 5.43 ERA is more indicative of how he’s thrown this season. And, if his last outing against the Rays is any indication, Tampa Bay have his number. On 17 May, Tampa Bay scored seven runs on ten hits in just 4 2/3 innings against Hammel. Expect the hitters to have a field day and opt for over 8.5 runs at 1.82.