The New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs should produce a low-scoring affair on Friday. Mets starter Johan Santana has made a remarkable comeback in 2012 after missing all of last season following shoulder surgery. While his overall numbers have been great (6-4 with a 2.76 ERA), his performances at Citi Field have been particularly breathtaking. In eight home starts that span 54 1/3 innings, Santana has a minuscule 1.16 ERA and is 4-1.
As for the Cubs, Travis Wood has been fantastic of late. He’s won his last three starts and is on an 18 2/3 innings scoreless streak. Historically, he’s thrown well against the Mets: 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two appearances. Admittedly, it’s a small sample size, but between the two hot pitchers and Citi Field being 27th out of 30 parks in run scoring, take under 7.5 at 1.81 instead of the over at 2.00.
I’m picking Clayton Kershaw to carry the Los Angeles Dodgers when they travel to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks. Kershaw is in the midst of another fine season – he’s 6-4 with a 2.65 ERA. He’s coming off a strong seven-inning performance against the New York Mets wherein he allowed just one earned run. In his past ten starts he’s been dominant, striking out an average of more than seven per game. He’s also been very comfortable in Arizona’s Chase Field over his career – in five starts there he has an impressive 2.59 ERA and has struck out 41 in 31 1/3 innings.
Throw in the fact that the Diamondbacks’ line-up has hit a mediocre .255 (with a .312 on base percentage) over the past week and Los Angeles at 1.85 are the team to pick. Pass on Arizona at 1.95.