A return home for the Cleveland Indians will be just the tonic they need against the Detroit Tigers. This contest is the Indians’ first on home soil after an long 11-game road trip. While Cleveland played well overall on the away swing (7-4), they lost their last two of the stretch. But they’ll turn their fortunes around behind Justin Masterson. The right-handed pitcher has been an ace at home in 2013. He is 6-1 with a 2.29 ERA in nine starts at Progressive Field (as opposed to a road record of 4-5 with a 4.72, which includes a mediocre start against the Tigers earlier in the year). Beyond Masterson’s work at home, the club as a whole has been a far different team when in Cleveland: at their own ballpark, the Indians are 24-15 (.615 winning percentage) versus 21-25 (.457) elsewhere.
While the Tigers have a potent line-up, their starting pitcher is a weak link for the club in this contest. Rick Porcello is 4-6 with a 5.21 ERA. Moreover, matters have not gotten better for Porcello recently – in his last two starts he’s 0-2 with an 8.71 ERA. Bottom line: take the Indians at home at 1.70.
Home field advantage will also help the Philadelphia Phillies to victory over the Atlanta Braves. Phillies starter Cliff Lee has been great this year, registering a 9-2 record and a 2.59 ERA. While he’s actually pitched a bit better on the road than at home, he has a couple of factors working for him in this one. The first is that he has a good track record against the Braves hitters. In a large sample set (221 plate appearances), members of the Braves offence have a weak .229 lifetime batting average (and a .273 lifetime on base percentage) against him.
Another factor is how awful Atlanta starter Tim Hudson has been on the road. In away games, he’s 1-7 with a 5.71 ERA (compared to 3-0 with a 2.68 ERA at home). The combination should give the Phillies, who are on at 1.70, the win over the high-flying Braves.