The Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price gets a very favorable match-up when his club hosts the Houston Astros. Price returned from the disabled list with vengeance on 2 July, giving up just one run in 16 innings over two appearances. Equally telling is that his first contest back was against the Astros. Price went seven innings, allowing three hits, no walks and struck out ten.
Beyond their likely offensive difficulties against Price, Houston will hold their breath when it comes to their starting pitcher, Jarred Cosart. The right-hander, who will be making his Major League debut, has been considered one of baseball’s best prospects for some time, but he hasn’t been dominant in his minor league career: he has a lifetime 3.58 ERA at that level. Most troubling is the fact that he has a very high walk rate. Minor league hitters tend to be free swingers so if he’s walking a lot at that level it could portend bad things at baseball’s highest plateau, where batters are more disciplined. Go with the Rays, who are on at 1.30.
Clayton Kershaw should have no problem leading his Los Angeles Dodgers to a win at home against the Colorado Rockies. Kershaw is truly in his element at Dodger Stadium: this year he has a 1.60 ERA in ten starts there and is 39-20 with a 2.27 ERA at home over his career. He’s also been really effective against the Rockies this year, going 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in two starts. In a large sample size (166 plate appearances) Rockies hitters have a weak .200 lifetime batting average (and .310 slugging percentage) against him.
Colorado counter with Juan Nicasio, who has a 5.31 ERA and has spent time in the minor leagues. Final point: the Rockies are a terrible road team (their winning percentage is .400 in away games). Pick the streaking Dodgers (1.38) to win this one.