Expect a scoring fiesta on Monday when the Atlanta Braves travel to Cincinnati to face the Reds. The Great American Ball Park has the highest rate of home runs for any Major League stadium in 2012 and the Braves’ starter Mike Minor leads the National League in home runs allowed. The Reds’ pitcher Mike Leake is also in the top-ten in home runs conceded.
Beyond their home run rates, both pitchers have generally struggled to contain opposing offences. Minor has a 7.09 ERA, while Leake’s is 6.21. Did I mention Atlanta is second in the National League in runs scored? All of this is a recipe for runs, runs, runs. Go with over 9.0 runs at 1.95 as it’s unlikely these pitchers will be able to keep under that total, which is on at 1.85.
A nice pitching matchup will take place in Seattle, where the Mariners host the Texas Rangers. Felix Hernandez is a former Cy Young Award winner and Yu Darvish has lived up to the hype thus far in his maiden MLB season after a fruitful career in Japan. Of the two, Darvish has the edge. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA over his past two starts and is averaging ten strikeouts per game for the season as a whole. Darvish has shown no nerves on the road, tallying a 2.16 ERA (compared to a 3.00 ERA at home).
In contrast, Hernandez has looked uneasy at times. For instance, in his last start he lasted just 3 2/3 innings, giving up eight runs, ten hits and three walks. The Rangers’ league-best run-producing lineup won’t give him much of a break. Go with Texas at 1.67, instead of the Mariners at 2.20.