Quite frankly, I expect an ugly match-up when Hector Noesi and the Seattle Mariners face against Edinson Volquez and the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Both pitchers are unimpressive. Noesi is 2-8 with a 5.69 ERA and has lost his last five decisions in a row. Volquez is 3-7 with a slightly better 4.11 ER, but he’s earned just a single victory since May 12. Neither offence is strong: Seattle are just below average in runs scored and San Diego are dead last in the Major Leagues in this category.
So what’s going to determine this one? I’m going with Volquez. He’s already shown his ability against the Mariners this season, beating them earlier in the campaign (he went 6 2/3 innings allowing just one run and four hits while striking out four). He’s also more comfortable pitching at home (a 3.88 ERA at Petco versus a 4.46 ERA on the road). Noesi has been so ineffective that Seattle (on at 2.15) will struggle to outscore even the normally feeble lineup offered by the Padres, who can be had at 1.70.
The underdog Astros are well-positioned to steal a win from the front-running Cleveland Indians. The key? Home-field advantage. The Astros’ terrible season so far is primarily a reflection of what they do (or rather don’t do) on the road. Coming into the weekend they were 9-25 away from Houston but 19-16 at Minute Maid Park. Astros starter J.A. Happ has been pretty reliable on home turf in 2012: he’s 5-4 there with seven quality starts (six or more innings of work; three or fewer earned runs allowed).
As for Cleveland’s starter, Derek Lowe, the road has been one big headache this season. He has a 6.18 ERA when traveling compared to a 2.64 ERA when pitching in Cleveland. All told, Lowe has been in a funk lately having given up seven or more runs in three of his previous five starts. Astros fans (and others) should take them at 1.90 rather than the Indians at 1.90.