Two good pitchers face off in Tampa when the Rays host the Texas Rangers Saturday, but Tampa’s David Price should prevail over Yu Darvish of Texas. Price is a top candidate for the American League Cy Young Award. He leads the circuit in wins and is in the top ten in such other key categories as strikeouts (sixth), walks and hits per inning pitched (seventh), and wins above replacement for pitchers (fifth). He’s gotten stronger as the season has progressed (6-1 with a 2.09 ERA in the second half compared to 11-4 with a 2.82 ERA in the first) and has done great work at home (7.20 with a 1.66 ERA).
Darvish is currently on a nice run, going 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA in his past four starts. But that in-form pitching came after he was given some extra rest. Before that he was struggling. In fact, even if you include his recent performance, he’s 4-4 with a 5.49 ERA in the second half. And, since he’s recently been pitching on regular rest again, he won’t be quite as refreshed as he was during his recent streak. Take the Rays at 2.12 not the Rangers at 1.72.
Trust in one of baseball’s hottest pitchers when the Atlanta Braves visit the New York Mets. Atlanta’s Kris Medlen has two complete games in his last four starts and hasn’t conceded an earned run in 37 1/3 straight innings. In fact, the Braves have been victorious in each of his past 18 starts. There’s no reason to believe he’ll slow down against a New York Mets team that isn’t in the race for the playoffs. As for Medlen’s pitching opposition, Jeremy Hefner is an uninspiring 2-5 with a 4.52 ERA. Bet on Medlen and Atlanta at 1.57 instead of the Mets at 2.40.