Welcome to the first look at interleague play in 2012 – where teams compete for a small window of time against clubs from the opposing league. As the American and National Leagues play by different rules (the AL uses a Designated Hitter and the NL does not), these match ups can lead to uncomfortable lineup shifts for certain squads.
This will be the case for the Boston Red Sox, who will be prohibited from using their DH when they visit the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday. The Red Sox’s leader in batting average, home runs and runs batted in? DH David Ortiz. As a result, Ortiz will likely sit on the bench, unless first baseman Adrian Gonzalez – another of the team’s top hitters – sits out. Either way, the Red Sox will be short-staffed, which is bad news as Boston will be facing Philadelphia’s most consistent starting pitcher in 2012: Cole Hamels. After suffering a loss in the first game of the season, Hamels has gone undefeated. In those six starts since the opener, he’s 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA. The upshot: Take the hometown Phillies at 1.67 and pass on the Red Sox at 2.20.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will travel down the freeway to San Diego for a match-up against the San Diego Padres. Starting for the Angels, Jered Weaver is coming off his worst performance of the season in which he gave up a career-tying-high of eight runs on ten hits in 3 1/3 innings against the Texas Rangers. But this shouldn’t cause worry. This season Weaver has allowed three or more runs in a game just three times and in each of the two previous instances he threw a shutout in his following appearance. He should have a shot at keeping that streak alive against the light hitting Padres, meaning his Angels at 1.52 are the right pick over the Padres at 2.55.