Pirates v Twins
The Pirates are the team to pick when they play the Minnesota Twins in Pittsburgh on Thursday. Pirates pitcher James McDonald has quietly put together a fine season. He’s 5-3 with a 2.32 ERA. He’s struck out nearly a batter per inning and his peripheral statistics (like walks plus hits per inning pitched – also known as WHIP) prove that his results have not been a fluke. Pittsburgh as a team has been very good at home with a winning percentage of .645 going into yesterday (20-11). This all bodes well against a Twins pitcher in Liam Hendriks who has been awful this season. He has an 0-3 record and a 7.83 ERA. This will be his first start since May 2. Go with the Pirates at 1.57 and pass on the Twins at 2.40
Red Sox v Marlins
While two established pitchers will be on the mound at Fenway Park expect a high scoring affair between the Miami Marlins and the Boston Red Sox. The Marlins starter Carlos Zambrano is struggling. In his last two outings he’s allowed a total of 11 runs in 4 1/3 innings. The big problem: base on balls. He’s allowed nine walks in that stretch. Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka has actually pitched a bit better than his 0-2 record and 5.73 ERA suggests, but he has been prone to the big inning and is still shaking off the rust. This will be just his eleventh start over the past two seasons. Boston has the second-best scoring offence in the American League. The Marlins have been an underperforming offence all season, but Fenway Park remains one of the best run-scoring stadiums (ninth out of thirty) in the Majors. Consider over 10.5 runs at 1.85 rather than the under at 1.95.