An emerging star and a dependable starter should mean that few runs are scored when the New York Mets visit the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday. The Pirates’ James McDonald has quietly broken out in 2012 as a top-notch pitcher. In his last five starts, he’s flirted with no-hitters twice and struck out 44 in 32 2/3 innings. Despite his dominance, he only has a 3-2 record because of his team’s sub-par offence.
That lineup will face RA Dickey, who despite throwing one of baseball’s most unreliable pitches (the knuckleball), has been among the most reliable pitchers in the game recently. Including the final portion of 2011, Dickey has thrown 19 quality starts (six-plus innings pitched; three or fewer runs allowed) in twenty starts. The Dickey-McDonald tandem should go deep into the game and keep scoring down. As a result, take under 7.0 runs at 1.88 because short of a surprise meltdown, the over at 1.92 won’t be reached.
I’ve bet against the St. Louis Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright with some success so far this season. However, I’ve always said that at some point he will start to regain the form that made him a perennial Cy Young Award candidate before needing elbow surgery last year. He may finally be getting there and a visit to the San Diego Padres is just the confidence builder he needs. The sample size at Petco Park is small, but Wainwright’s record in San Diego is nevertheless encouraging – a 2.25 ERA over two appearances. He’s had two shaky starts in his last two games, but he surely gained some belief from a win in his last outing. He’s also aided by a bullpen which has given up fewer runs than the National League average.
His opposition, Edinson Volquez, has been good at home, posting a 2.76 ERA in seven starts. But he’s yet to face an offence as potent as that of St. Louis, who lead the National League in runs scored. Both pitchers may throw well, but expect to the Cardinals – on at 1.60 – to come out on top instead of the Padres, who can be had at 2.35.