The Boston Red Sox will earn an important victory in an American League clash on the road Saturday versus the Baltimore Orioles. Key in this contest are the starting pitchers’ track records against opposing hitters in this game. While Baltimore’s starter Scott Feldman has renewed life since being traded from the woeful Chicago Cubs to the playoff-contending Orioles, he will not be happy to see many of the Boston hitters. Combined, the Red Sox batters own a lofty .410 batting average against Feldman in 65 plate appearances. Boston’s Mike Napoli has a lifetime .478 batting average in 23 at-bats; Dustin Pedroia is five for nine against him; and David Ortiz has two hits in six at-bats – but both hits were home runs.
In contrast, Boston’s Ryan Dempster has owned Orioles hitters. In 120 plate appearances, Baltimore batters have a cumulative .183 batting average. J.J. Hardy has just two hits in 30 at-bats; Matt Wieters owns just a .125 batting average in eight at-bats; and slugging sensation Chris Davis is just one for eight against Dempster. The relative historical pitching dominance will determine this result so take the Red Sox at 2.10.
A couple of factors suggest that runs aplenty will be scored when the Oakland A’s host the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. While Tommy Milone tends to pitch well at home (he has a 3.20 ERA there this year), the Angels have owned him throughout his career. The team has a combined .366 batting average in 97 lifetime plate appearances. Key starters Josh Hamilton, Howie Kendrick and Albert Pujols all have batting averages well in excess of .400 against the left-hander.
Still, that advantage doesn’t necessarily mean the Angels will win, because their starter also offers reasons for concern. Garrett Richards hasn’t started a big league game since April, but gets the spot here. This is not a good thing. As a reliever, he’s been okay, posting a 4.10 ERA, but as a starter he’s been crushed, registering a 5.54 ERA. No doubt A’s hitters will be ready to tee off: they have a very good .297 batting average against Richards. Throw in the fact that both these teams are generally above-league-average line-ups when it comes to runs scored per game and the odds favor the combined score to exceed 8.5 runs. That over is worth taking at 1.97.