When combing the fixtures for a potential low scoring affair, you typically look for match-ups that feature frontline ace pitchers. But when the Chicago Cubs visit the Miami Marlins on Thursday, neither team will throw a dominator – in fact, the two starters are a combined 0-5.
Still, expect few runs to be scored. The Cubs’ Edwin Jackson and the Marlins’ Kevin Slowey are both a lot better than the line-ups they’ll face. Jackson is coming off a strong performance against the Milwaukee Brewers in which he gave up just one earned run in six innings. He’s pitched well on the road this year (2.45 ERA) and, most importantly, the Marlins line-up is the worst in the National League when it comes to run production per game.
Slowey has been a hard luck loser this year as Miami have scored a grand total of three runs in his four starts. Nevertheless, the former Minnesota Twin has been masterful every time out. He’s yet to allow more than two runs in a game.
As for the Cubs hitters, they rank twelfth out of fifteen in runs scored per game. Opt for under 7.5 runs at 1.87 in this matchup.
If you’re looking for the safest of bets (albeit with relatively little yield) take the Boston Red Sox to win at home versus the Houston Astros.
This is one of the biggest mismatches you’ll see. Houston are plain terrible and its starter in this one, Philip Humber, has certainly not helped that cause.
With the exception of the perfect game he threw last year, Humber has been shockingly hittable over the past two campaigns. In 2012, he registered a 6.44 ERA and through four starts this season he has a 6.63 ERA. Quite simply, his slider, which can be effective when has a feel for it, has generally abandoned him.
In contrast, Boston pitcher Clay Buccholz put up excellent results. He is 4-0 with a 0.90 ERA and his cutter looks sharp. Boston hitters will be happy to see the right-handed Humber; against righties the Red Sox are hitting .267 with a .444 slugging percentage (compared to .201 with a .272 slugging against lefties).
As for Houston, it doesn’t really matter who they face – they’re just not hitting as evidenced by the team’s well-below average run-scoring rates. Pick the Red Sox at 1.35.
Best Bet: Back under 7.5 runs between the Miami Marlins and the Chicago Cubs
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