In an important National League Central division clash, expect the Cincinnati Reds to earn a home victory against the St Louis Cardinals on Saturday. A key factor in this contest is the venue: one pitcher is playing in an environment he’s very comfortable in while the other is in an inhospitable habitat. Reds starter Tony Cingrani is has registered a sturdy 2.63 ERA at home (which is stronger than his already impressive 2.90 ERA overall). In addition, Cingrani is currently riding some momentum: in his past five starts, he’s posted a 2.08 ERA.
While Cardinals pitcher Jake Westbrook is 5-0 with a 1.28 ERA in St. Louis, he’s a weak 2-5 with a 4.76 ERA everywhere else. He’s also begun to struggle after a strong start to 2013. In the first half of the season, he put up a 2.88 ERA in 12 starts; in three post-All Star Game starts he’s delivered a 4.42 ERA. As good as the Cardinals are overall, they’ve been a pretty average team on the road. Pick the Reds to win at home at 1.64.
Max Scherzer’s remarkable year won’t hit a speed bump when his Detroit Tigers host the Chicago White Sox. Scherzer is 15-1 so far in 2013. What’s particularly impressive is that he doesn’t appear to be wilting in the late summer sun; in the second half of the season he’s 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts. There’s no reason to believe he won’t throw just as well in this contest as Chicago hitters have never hit Scherzer well. In 207 lifetime plate appearances, White Sox batters have a .205 batting average against him.
At the same time, the Tigers line-up will be excited to face Chicago starter John Danks. Overall, Danks has a 2-8 record and a 4.57 ERA this year. Against the Tigers, he doesn’t have a successful history: Detroit batters own a .297 batting average against him. Prince Fielder, for example, has put up five hits in just seven at-bats against Danks lifetime. As a result, choose the Tigers, on at 1.38, to prevail.