Nationals v Mets
The New York Mets will ride RA Dickey to victory on the road Thursday against the Washington Nationals. While Johan Santana has sucked up most of the attention among Mets pitchers following his no-hitter, it’s Dickey who is quietly making an early case for Cy Young consideration. He’s currently 8-1 with a 2.69 ERA and, more important, he’s just hitting his stride. In his past three outings he’s allowed just one run. Washington’s Chien-Ming Wang is not the pitcher he was years ago with the New York Yankees. After injuries that cost him his 2010 campaign and all but 11 games last year, he’s looked very rusty in his first two appearances this season. His command has been suspect as evidenced by his 6.43 ERA. He may bounce back, but I don’t see it happening in this contest. Pick the Mets at 1.77 instead of the Nationals at 2.05.
Marlins v Braves
The hometown Miami Marlins will be happy to greet the Atlanta Braves when the two National League East teams clash. The reason: the Braves’ Mike Minor is not a pitcher to be relied on right now. After a promising 15 starts in 2011, the former first-round draft pick has been terrible this season. He’s allowed the most earned runs (45) and home runs (13) of any pitcher in the NL. While the Marlins haven’t hit a ton of homers in 2012, they do have two serious power threats in Giancarlo Stanton and Hanley Ramirez – both of whom have put up double digits in home runs thus far – to take advantage of Minor. If Minor is unreliable, Miami’s starter Mark Buehrle has been quite the opposite. He nearly always puts his team in a position to win. Case in point: the Marlins have won five of the last six times Buehrle has taken the mound. This should make it six for seven – pick Miami at 1.70 and pass on the Braves at 2.15.