The San Diego Padres will ride Eric Stults to a home win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Stults has been consistently strong this season: overall, he’s 5-2 with a 2.38 ERA. The left-hander uses his curveball effectively and has made the most out of pitching at Petco Park, where he’s 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA in 10 appearances. He’s also improved as the season has progressed. In the first half he was 1-2 with a 3.19 ERA, but since the break he’s 4-0 with a 1.81 ERA.
Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia has suffered on the road since coming off an extended stay on the disabled list. In two away starts he has given up 16 hits and 10 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings pitched. Take the Padres, who have played vastly better at home (.500 record) than on the road (.431 winning percentage), for the win at 2.00. The Cardinals are a pass at 1.81.
Struggling pitchers portend good things for the hitters when the Chicago Cubs visit the Houston Astros. While Cubs starter Chris Volstad finally picked up a couple of wins after starting the season 0-9, he still is not a safe bet. In his last start he gave up five runs on nine hits over five innings of work. Houston’s Dallas Keuchel has also pitched poorly in 2012 (1-7 with a 5.54 ERA). The last time he won at the Major League Level was June 23. While both teams have struggled offensively (they rank last and second-to-last in runs per game), this is an instance where the pitching will make them look good. Go with over 8.5 runs at 1.95 instead of the under at 1.85.