Home run (Safe bet)
Take the Los Angeles Dodgers, on at 1.47, at home over the Cincinnati Reds.
It’s been a tough week for Reds’ hitter and it will not get better considering their facing Clayton Kershaw in this Wednesday matchup. On Sunday, Cincinnati was shutout by Adam Wainwright at home. The following day, Hyun-Jin Ryu threw a perfect game (no hits or walks) threw seven innings in Los Angeles. In other words, Cincinnati’s offence is not firing on all cylinders.
Now they have to face Clayton Kershaw. His overall numbers look mortal this year (3.49 ERA), but that’s really a reflection on one poor performance. You take away an ugly loss on May 17 against the Diamondbacks and Kershaw has allowed just four runs in 26 2/3 innings pitched. In his last outing (against the Philadelphia Phillies) he looked like his regular self, throwing six innings of two-hit, shutout baseball. Also, this is just his second start at home this year – a place where he thrives. In 97 career starts at Dodger Stadium he’s 42-23 with a 2.22 ERA.
The Reds’ pitcher Homer Bailey is off to a terrible start in 2014. He owns a 5.34 ERA. It’s also worth noting that key Dodger hitters Adrian Gonzalez (.476 batting average; five homers in 21 at bats), Carl Crawford (.571 batting average) and Matt Kemp (.286 batting average; .500 slugging percentage) all have strong track records versus Bailey.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
In Oakland, look for A’s and Detroit Tigers hitters to be held to fewer than 7 runs; consider taking it at 1.90
This game pits two excellent pitchers throwing at a ballpark that suppresses runs. Scott Kazmir gets the assignment for Oakland. He’s been having a great season (5-2 with a 2.56 ERA) and, like most pitchers on the A’s staff, he’s terrific at O.co Coliseum. In four starts there, he’s 2-1 with a 1.91 ERA. The Tigers are an excellent offensive team, but they lose a bit of their luster on the road. In away games they have a .262 batting average, .316 on base percentage and a .420 slugging percentage – all those numbers are lower than their splits at home (.287/.342./.436).
Every bit as good (if not better) than Kazmir is the Tigers’ choice to pitch in this game, Anibal Sanchez. He owns a 2.83 ERA and in his two starts since coming off the disabled list on May 18, he’s given up three earned runs in 12 innings of work. He’s only thrown once at O.co but it was an excellent performance. Last April 14, he when 7 innings there, giving up just three hits and one run while striking out eight. He did walk an uncharacteristically high four in the game, but the overall result suggests he can thrive in Oakland.
In addition, though, this fact shouldn’t be surprising, O.co ranks twenty-fourth out of thirty Major League stadiums in run production. This means even if these great pitchers weren’t going it’s is a hard place to score runs.