Home-road splits are what to look at when picking the Pittsburgh Pirates to prevail at home against the San Francisco Giants on Saturday. Both teams rank near the bottom of the National League in offence, so the performance of the starting pitchers will be particularly important.
The Pirates’ James McDonald is a beast when he pitches at PNC Park. He’s 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA in his friendly home confines. The Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong has also been a stud at home (1.29 ERA), but this game is on the road for him where he’s been merely mortal with a 3.54 ERA. Believe in McDonald and pick the Pirates at 1.81 instead of the Giants at 2.00.
The Washington Nationals are a very good choice at home against the Colorado Rockies. The Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez has rightly been named to the All Star team in his first season in the National League. He’s 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA and has won three straight. The Rockies’ Jeff Francis has not been so good: the left-hander is 2-1 with a 5.16 ERA. But the bigger issue with Francis is his inability to go deep into games. He’s only gone as many as six innings once in his six starts this year.
That means a lot is expected of the bullpen, which is not good news as no NL relief corps has given up more runs per game this season than the Rockies. (In contrast, no bullpen has given up fewer runs than the Nationals). The upshot: Go with Washington at 1.48 rather than Colorado at 2.65.