Pitching will take centre stage when the Philadelphia Phillies clash with the Mets in New York on Monday. Early Cy Young Award candidate Cole Hamels has the assignment for Philadelphia. He’s 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA and hasn’t lost a game since the season opener.
The Mets’ Jon Niese hasn’t been nearly as consistent, with a 3-2 record and 4.29 ERA, but two factors favour him in this contest. First, he’s coming off a great performance in which he allowed just one run in 7 2/3 innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Second, he’s 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA in two games against Philadelphia this season. He may not get the win here, but he does know how to keep the Phillies in check. One final reason to expect a low-scoring game: Citi Field has been one of baseball’s least offence-friendly stadiums in 2012. Consider under 7.0 runs at 1.95 a good bet as the over at 1.85 is unlikely.
The Chicago Cubs are poised to pull off a rare win against the San Diego Padres. The Cubs’ starting pitcher Travis Wood has thrown well in his first two starts of 2012, posting a 3.86 ERA. In three lifetime outings against the Padres he’s delivered a solid 2.45 ERA and Wood has always felt more comfortable at home, putting up a 3.57 ERA there in contrast to a 5.24 ERA on the road.
His opposition is Jeff Suppan, who at 37 years old is nearing the end of his career, as evidenced by his last start: 4 2/3 innings pitched, five runs allowed on eight hits and four walks. Both of these teams have been horrible in 2012, but San Diego’s horrific road record gives Chicago the edge.