Home run (Safe bet)
Go with the Los Angeles Dodgers, on at 1.57, to win on the road against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Though the Dodgers have not performed up to expectations so far this year, this Saturday contest will be a successful one for the Los Angeles club. LA has been a much better road team this year, posting a 13-7 record in their first twenty away games (while being well under a .500 winning percentage at Dodger Stadium). They’ve also completely owned the lowly Diamondbacks this year. Coming into this series, the Dodgers are 7-1 against their National League West competitor.
But what makes this a relatively safe bet for Los Angeles is the presence of Clayton Kershaw on the pitcher’s mound. The reigning Cy Young Award winner is 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA so far this year. In a hefty sample size of 193 plate appearances, Arizona hitters own a terrible .197 batting average and a weak .275 slugging percentage against Kershaw. Finally, Kershaw has a solid 3.00 ERA in eight starts at Chase Field so he should be comfortable there.
Pitcher Josh Collementer lacks the same expectations. In ten appearances he has a respectable 3.89 ERA. But his fielding independent pitching, which is a better statistic to gauge performance, is a far less impressive 4.52. In two appearances against the Dodgers this year, he’s pitched seven innings and allowed eight hits and five runs.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
In Philadelphia look for the Cincinnati Reds and the Phillies to combine for fewer than 7.5 runs; take it at 1.90.
If you consider the overall statistics for this game’s two starting pitchers – Homer Bailey for the Reds and Cole Hamels for the Phillies – you’d think there would be no chance for a pitchers’ duel. But once you dig deeper, expect the hitters to be in trouble.
Bailey comes into this match-up with a 4.72 ERA, but he’s been steady as of late. In each of his past three outings he’s delivered a quality start (six innings or more pitched; three runs or less allowed). In that stretch he’s had a 2.95 ERA and has gone 2-0. The Phillies are a good team for his chances of keeping this form. In 144 career plate appearances, Philadelphia has a poor .215 batting average and .311 slugging percentage versus Bailey.
Hamels has a dismal 5.32 ERA but it’s misleading. His fielding independent pitching is a much better at 3.56. Moreover, he’s needed some time to get back in the groove as his season started late due to injury. His last outing against the New York Mets is likely more reflective of what to expect from the three-time All Star. In that game, he went seven innings, allowing one run and striking out 10. Finally, Hamels has owned Reds hitters. In 109 plate appearances, Cincinnati batters have a .175 batting average and a .309 slugging percentage.