The Pittsburgh Pirates are a good-looking pick when they play the Houston Astros at home tonight. The reason: Pirates starter James McDonald, who has put up an All-Star caliber first half in 2012. He’s 7-3 with a 2.44 ERA and has shown the ability to battle to earn a victory. In his last outing, for instance, he gave up two home runs in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies, yet was able to bounce back to capture the win.
The Astros road woes should also help his cause. Their winning percentage on the road is below .300, which is a key reason they’re bottom feeding in the National League Central. Choose the Pirates at 1.55 and pass on the Astros at 2.45.
Ricky Romero has a great opportunity to bounce back when his Toronto Blue Jays host the Kansas City Royals. Romero endured his worst performance of the campaign last time out, giving up nine runs on seven hits and six walks in just three innings on the road against the Boston Red Sox. But pitching at home will be just the salve he needs. This year he’s 5-0 with a 3.83 ERA at the Rogers Centre (as opposed to a 3-2 record with a 5.96 away ERA). Moreover, he typically throws well against the Royals – he’s 2-1 with a 3.41 ERA lifetime versus Kansas City.
His pitching opponent is Everett Teaford, who has yet to show he can stick in the Major Leagues as a starter. He was recently called up from the minors and holds a 0-1 record with a 5.06 ERA in 2012. Go with the Jays at 1.57 as the Royals at 2.40 will be hard-pressed to prevail.