Home run (Safe bet)
Take the Oakland A’s - on at 1.40 - at home versus the Texas Rangers
This Tuesday’s clash features a renewed Scott Kazmir. To paraphrase “The Godfather – Part III” – just when I thought Kazmir was out, he pulls me back in. At the end of August, it appeared that the left-hander had run out of gas. In back-to-back games he allowed a total of thirteen runs in 4 1/3 innings. He has an uneven past record of success so it was reasonable to think he was returning to his weak ways. But all of sudden he’s regained form.
In his last two outings he’s thrown a pair of quality starts (six innings or more thrown; three runs for fewer allowed). In particular, he threw 8 innings of four-hit, one-run baseball against the White Sox the last time he pitched. With Texas currently ranked thirteenth out of fifteen clubs in American League run scoring, he’s well-positioned to keep his momentum going.
On the other hand, very little can be expected of Rangers’ pitcher Nick Tepesch. He’s 4-10 with a 4.47 ERA on the year, but in his past four outings he’s gone 0-3 with a 5.73 ERA.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
In Colorado, look for the Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers to combine for more than 10 runs; take it at 1.77
The simple way to describe this match-up is it’s a battle of two teams that score easily in a venue that is a run-making haven. The Rockies rank first in the National League in run scoring and, to be quite honest, that’s nearly a 100 percent reflection on the team’s work at home. (Consider the club has a .318 batting average at Coors Field and a .227 batting average anywhere else).
As for the Dodgers, despite playing its home games at pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium, the club is fourth in the NL in run production. The Dodgers have played seven games at Coors and boast a .309 batting average so they’ll be poised to keep the scoreboard operator busy as well.
As for the pitching, Los Angeles Dan Haren may have put up pretty solid numbers this year (13-10 with a 3.99 ERA), but this is not the venue for him. The three-time All Star has a lot of experience in Denver and very little of it has yielded good pitching. In 63 innings over ten starts he has a woeful 5.29 ERA in Colorado.
The Rockies Tyler Matzek has solid numbers (4.23 ERA) considering he’s thrown nearly half his starts at Coors Field. But he has a tendency to walk too many batters and in his one appearance against the Dodgers earlier this season he was tagged for ten hits and three runs in five innings of work – and that was on the road in Los Angeles. He’ll have a hard time containing the NL West leaders at home.