Home run (Safe bet)
Take the New York Mets (1.95) to win on the road versus the Chicago Cubs.
Mets starter Jacob deGrom is vastly overdue for a win and the Cubs are the team to give it to him in this Thursday contest. The young right-hander has thrown a quality start (six innings or more pitched; three runs or fewer allowed) in all four of his Major League starts this season. In his last outing, he struck out an impressive eleven Philadelphia Phillies in 6 1/3 innings pitched. He should be primed for another great performance as the Cubs rank twelfth out of fifteen teams in the National League in run production.
On the other hand, 2014 has been a trying season for Chicago starter Travis Wood. An All-Star last year, Wood has a 5.15 ERA this season. He’s been particularly bad of late. In his past two starts he has an 8.10 ERA in 10 innings of work. He’ll be facing a Mets team that has been above league average in run production this year.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Consider going with the Oakland A’s, on at 2.23, in an away game at the New York Yankees.
I’m swallowing hard here as this pick represents going against Masahiro Tanaka. The Japanese import has been pretty breathtaking this year en route to an 8-1 record and a 2.06 ERA. But the A’s present a legitimate obstacle to Tanaka’s great run. They are the best hitting team in the American League in terms of run production. Moreover, they are the top road team in the American League, sporting a 19-10 record in those contests.
Adding to Oakland’s chances is the fact that Drew Pomeranze will be their pitching in this match up. The longtime prospect is living up to his hype this season. He’s 5-2 with a 2.37 ERE. He’s been nearly as good on the road (2.41 ERA) has he’s thrown at home (2.33). He also draws a New York Yankees club that is struggling mightily on offence.
Overall, they’re below the league average in run production and, during the past two weeks, they sport a weak .225 batting average, .288 on base percentage and .303 slugging percentage.