The Los Angeles Dodgers might be sending their ace to the pitcher’s mound on Friday, but they won't have enough to trouble the Colorado Rockies. The key here is the disparity between the two batting line-ups. Colorado are third in the National League in runs per game and Los Angeles are third-to-last. So while Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw is by far the better starter in this game (compared to the Rockies’ Jon Garland), the offenses are mismatched.
It’s worth noting that while Kershaw’s lifetime ERA at Coors Field (3.82) is better than Garland’s (4.86), it’s well below his lifetime 2.71 ERA. In other words, Kershaw does tend to struggle in Colorado. Plus a number of Rockies regulars – Dexter Fowler, Michael Cuddyer, DJ LeMahieu and Wilin Rosario – have good track records against Kershaw. Combined, that group has hit .381 against the Dodgers’ ace in a total of 42 at-bats. Colorado have also been excellent at home this year: they have a winning percentage over .600 when in Denver (as opposed to an under .500 record on the road). Take the Rockies, who can be had at 2.27, to prevail in this one.
One big-name pitcher facing a lesser-known starter will keep score low when the Washington Nationals visit the Atlanta Braves. The Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg is the marquee pitcher in this contest. While he has a 3-5 record, his 2.49 ERA is more reflective of his excellent pitching this year. As far as this game goes, it helps that he has previously owned a number of hitters in the Braves line-up: B.J. Upton, Justin Upton and Andrelton Simmons are a combined 2 for 25 lifetime against Strasburg.
Braves pitcher Julio Teheran isn’t as established as Strasburg at Major League level, but he has gbeen viewed as a prospect for some time. Though he struggled in brief Big League auditions in 2011 and 2012, he appears to have turned a corner. After a middling start to this season, he’s logged four straight quality starters (six innings-plus of work; three runs or less yielded). He should be able to keep that streak alive against a Washington line-up that ranks 12th out of 15 NL teams in runs scored per game. Expect a well-pitched contest and go with under 7 runs at 1.91.