Home-road pitching splits will dictate the outcome of the contest between the Rays and the San Diego Padres in Tampa. Quite simply, Rays starter Alex Cobb is great at home and the Padres pitcher Edinson Volquez is horrible on the road. Cobb is an ace at Tropicana Field, where he owns a 3-0 record and a 1.17 ERA over three starts this season (compared to a 4.74 ERA on the road). Volquez hasn’t been as good overall as Cobb, but when he has thrown well it’s been in the friendly confines of Petco Park. When Volquez has been at home, he’s gone 2-1 with a 3.71 ERA, but he's 1-2 with a 6.97 ERA on th road. Add in the fact that Tampa are scoring at a healthy rate (they rank in the top-third of all Major League clubs in runs per game) compared to San Diego, who are in the bottom-third in run rates, and the Rays (1.55) are the clear pick in this match-up.
The Texas Rangers will come out on top against the Houston Astros in the Lone Star State derby. For Houston fans, the bad news is the Astros are giving Dallas Keuchel his first starting assignment this year. Keuchel got 16 starts last season and they didn’t go well: he went 3-8 with a 5.27 ERA. He thoroughly lacks the ability to get swings and misses (he struck out just 38 in 85 1/3 innings in 2012) and this year – in a relief role – he’s been giving up more hits per nine innings than during his poor 2012 campaign.
Keuchel will oppose Alexi Ogando, who has been on a roll of late. He’s thrown three straight quality starts (six-plus innings thrown; three or fewer earned runs allowed). The return is not great in this one as the Rangers are on at 1.48, but Texas is a strong safe bet.