Home run (Safe bet)
Go with the New York Mets at 1.68 to claim the win at home against the Miami Marlins.
Neither club is doing too well, but I like the pitching matchup for the Mets in this Tuesday contest. Jacob deGrom has been quite good in 2014 (3.38 ERA). But it’s his recent work that suggests that he could dominate here. Specifically, he’s coming off throwing seven innings of shutout baseball, in which he walked none and struck out eleven.
Admittedly, that performance came against a week hitting Atlanta Braves team, who are ranked second-to-last in run production in the National League. By comparison the Marlins are the third-best squad on the circuit for putting up runs. But so much of that firepower only occurs when Miami plays at home. On the road, the club averages 3.72 runs a game, which is about a run less than their work at Marlins Park (that might not seem like a lot but it’s statistically significant.)
New York will not only benefit from playing at home, but also from the Marlins starting pitcher. Brad Hand has not been good this year (5.09 ERA). Moreover, he’s primarily thrown as a reliever this year. As a result, don’t expect him to go deep in this game. This is bad news for their chances because the Marlins bullpen is third-worst in the league when it comes to conceding runs.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Pick the Oakland A’s, on at 1.63, to win on the road in Seattle against the Mariners.
Because playing at one’s home-field is typically a big benefit, visiting clubs always get a bit of an odds boost. In this instance, that advantage doesn’t exist. The Mariners have been a nice surprise this year. They’ll go into the All-Star break with a winning percentage well over .500. But they have not been great at Safeco Field, where they have a losing record. On the other hand Oakland, who are the American League’s best overall team, have found success in away games, putting up a top-three record on the road.
The pitching matchup further supports Oakland’s chances. Sonny Gray has been successful all season. He has a 9-3 record and a 2.97 ERA. Lately, he’s upped his performance – he’s 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his past two starts.
Superficially, the Mariners’ starter Chris Young has been nearly as good as Gray. Young has a very nice 3.05 ERA. But Young’s fielding independent pitching (FIP) shows another story. FIP is scaled like ERA but tends to be a better indicator of real performance. When there’s a big different between the two numbers it can reflect luck being a huge factor in success. In Young’s case, his FIP is a horrible 4.93. That means a correction in performance should be coming and, against a great hitting team like the A’s (they’re second in the American League), it’s likely.