At home, the St. Louis Cardinals (1.48) are rightly strong favorites against the Chicago Cubs (2.65) on Saturday. Though the Cubs showed some life when every starter registered a hit en route to an 8-0 win against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday, Chicago must now contend with Lance Lynn, a pitcher they’re pretty unfamiliar with.
As a reliever last year, Lynn pitched just two scoreless innings against Chicago. This year he’s getting the opportunity to start and in his opening effort against the Brewers he showed he was up to the task (6 2/3 innings pitched, one run, two hits, no walks and eight strikeouts). Typically, a pitcher has the advantage when a team has seen little of him. The Cubs starter Chris Volstad is also inexperienced as a starter (this will be just his fifth career Major League start), but isn’t as talented as Lynn. Go with the Cardinals.
If you want to take a bit more of a risk, consider the Tampa Bay Rays getting the better of the Red Sox at Boston’s Fenway Park. The result of this game revolves around Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.
A talented pitcher, he looked shaky in his first start giving up seven hits and eight runs over just four innings. While he might bounce back, he’ll have to do it against a tenacious Rays lineup that knows how to get on base (through Thursday they were third in the American league in on-base percentage).
Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson, who is the reigning American League Rookie of the Year, won’t make matters easy on Boston hitters. (He dominated the New York Yankees in his first start.) The odds are longer at 2.15 for the Rays compared to 1.70 for the Red Sox, but the opportunity is certainly there for Tampa Bay.