A big question when the Philadelphia Phillies visit the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday is at what point does an overachieving rookie pitcher get found out?
The pitcher in question in this game is Jonathan Pettibone. A former third-round pick, Pettibone is certainly a prospect (fangraphs.com listed him as Philadelphia’s fourth-best coming into this season).
Yet, he’s not an elite young pitcher like, say, the New York Mets’ Matt Harvey or even the Miami Marlins Jose Fernandez. He’s had success with an average fastball, a decent change-up and a pretty good slider.
Still, his performance so far – 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA – is better than what we should expect from a player of his talent this early on. As a result, he is primed to come back to reality in this game and get hit around a bit.
Even if Pettibone keeps it close, San Francisco’s starter, Barry Zito, is in a great position to have a very successful outing. The left-hander works masterfully at home as evidenced by his jaw-dropping 3-0 record with a 0.35 ERA in four 2013 starts are AT&T Park.
This dominance should continue against a line-up that struggles against lefty pitchers. The Phillies line-up is hitting just .218 against lefties in 272 plate appearances.
Equally as troubling is the fact that left-handed hitters in the Philadelphia line-up, which include important cogs like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Ben Revere, are batting a collective .180 versus left-handed pitchers. Pick the Giants, who can be had at 1.63, in this one.
The Tampa Bay Rays should easily dispatch of the Toronto Blue Jays at home. With an injury to Josh Johnson, the Blue Jays were force to bring Ricky Romero back up from the minor leagues to join the pitching rotation.
This was a bad move. No doubt, Romero was once a solid Major League pitcher. In fact, in 2011, he was an All Star and went 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA. But injuries and mechanical inconsistencies have left him just a shell of the player he once was.
In the second half of last season, he went 1-10 with a 6.62 ERA. In his one Big League start this year, he gave up three runs in just four innings of work. There’s no reason to expect he can perform in this match-up.
In contrast, Rays pitcher Matt Moore is showing elite stuff every time he goes to the mound. In six starts, he’s 5-0 with a 1.95 ERA. On the pitching match-up alone, there is a clear choice: go with the Rays (1.51) to win.
Best Bet: Back the San Francisco Giants at 1.63
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