Home field advantage will not be enough for the Philadelphia Phillies when they host the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.
Nationals’ starter Gio Gonzalez has been strong on the road. He’s 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA in away games (better than his 4-2 and 3.23 ERA at home). He even had a good track record at Citizens Bank Park, possessing a lifetime record of 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA. Gonzalez is also currently on a roll. He has thrown seven consecutive quality starts (six innings plus pitched; three runs or fewer allowed) and has earned a win in each of his last three outings.
Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee has been great overall this year (10-2 with a 2.73 ERA), but there are a couple of factors that suggest he’ll falter in this outing. The first is he hasn’t pitched quite as well at home as on the road. He owns a 2.09 ERA in away games but had a 3.81 ERA in Philadelphia. The second is that he hasn’t quite been on his game as of late. In his last two starts he has a 4.73 ERA. Choose Gonzalez and the Nationals (2.20) to prevail in this contest.
In a battle of two of baseball’s most surprising teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates will take the home win against the Oakland Athletics in interleague play.
You should always be cautious about labeling a player as a comeback story. After all, you never know if it’s just a brief run of good luck or an actual return to form.
In the case of Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano, enough of a sample size has been built up (11 starts) to indicate he might be the pitcher who looked so electrifying earlier in his career once again. Every major statistical ratio suggests his 2013 performance to date is dominating.
His hits per nine innings, home runs per nine innings, walks per nine innings and strikeouts per nine innings have all been excellent. What’s particularly important is how consistent Liriano has been. He’s thrown quality starts in six of his past seven starts. He won’t be hurt by the fact that he’s at PNC Park in this match-up. At home, he has a 2.05 ERA, which is slightly better than his 2.31 road ERA.
As for his history with A’s hitters, Liriano has held them cumulatively to a .194 batting average in 42 plate appearances. Pittsburgh will also benefit from facing Oakland starter Tommy Milone. While Milone is consistently solid at home (3.20 ERA), he is thoroughly hittable on the road (4.83 ERA).
Best bet: Pick the Pirates at 1.68 for the victory.