When the Miami Marlins visit the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday it could be dubbed “the battle of the rookie phenom pitchers!” Indeed, the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez and the Reds’ Tony Cingrani are two of baseball’s most promising young men of the mound.
Fernandez, who in two minor league seasons posted a 14-2 record, has continued his impressive ways in the Big Leagues, giving up just one run in eleven innings over two Major League starts so far this year.
Cingrani, who only got the call to the Majors when ace Johnny Cueto hit the disabled list, has an equally impressive CV.
In a brief Major League cameo in 2012, he had a 1.80 ERA in three appearances. In three minor league starts this year, he’s registered a perfect 0.00 ERA.
So who wins this contest? I’d take Fernandez and the Marlins. Here’s why: Cingrani will be making his first Big League appearance of the year so I expect him to be a bit jittery.
Although the Marlins have been horrible this season, their lineup has been better under two circumstances – when they’re on the road and against left-handed pitchers (Cingrani is a lefty and this game is in Cincinnati).
As for the Reds, they’ve struggled against righties (.246 batting average; .311 on base percentage) and Fernandez is a pretty strong right-hander. No doubt this is a value pick as the terrible Marlins are on at 2.50 compared to the Reds at 1.55. That said it’s one worth taking if you’re okay stretching a bit.
The Tampa Bay Rays are a strong choice when they travel to face the Baltimore Orioles. Although Rays starter David Price’s overall ERA is a poor looking 5.82, it’s skewed by one bad performance out of three appearances.
In the other two, he threw like the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner that he is (twelve innings pitched; three runs allowed). Moreover, Camden Yards has always been a venue Price has thrived at.
In his career, he’s a perfect 3-0 with a 2.54 ERA in six starts when pitching in Baltimore. The Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez isn’t overpowering, as he generally succeeds on guile.
So while Gonzalez had a strong start against the Rays to start the season (6 2/3 innings pitched; two runs allowed), Tampa Bay hitter will have benefited from seeing his pitching arsenal.
Also, Gonzalez, who beat the Rays on the road, hasn’t thrown well in his career when in Baltimore (2.77 ERA away; 4.08 ERA at home). Pick the Rays at 1.77 rather than the Orioles at 2.08.
Best Bet: Back the Miami Marlins at 2.5 against the Cincinatti Reds
Follow Josh Chetwynd's MLB betting tips every day