Home run (Safe bet)
Pick the San Francisco Giants, on at 1.53, to reign victorious at home over the San Diego Padres.
Both starting pitchers in this tilt have histories against the opposing club – and the results are very different. San Francisco’s Tim Hudson squared up against the Padres on April 19 and pitched an excellent game going seven innings while giving up just two runs. Historically, Padres hitters have a weak .234 batting average and .292 on base percentage versus Hudson.
On the other hand, in San Diego pitcher Robbie Erlin’s his one appearance this year against San Francisco, which occurred on April 20, he was beat up for four runs in six innings. More troubling with Erlin is that after a strong start to the season, he’s been torched for 12 runs in his past 11 1/3 innings pitched.
Even if we didn’t look at the pitching match-up, the Padres would be at an obvious disadvantage from an offensive perspective. The Giants rank fourth in the National League in run production, while the Padres are dead last in fifteenth.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Look for the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Rays to combine for more than 8.5 runs at Fenway Park and take it at 1.85.
Going for the over can be a pretty tricky proposition because the choice can fail if one pitcher brings his “A” game to the contest. The bet here is that won’t happen. Both pitchers have sufficient warts to overcome the fact that these two lineups are both surprisingly below the league average in runs scored per game.
Let’s start with the Rays Chris Archer. His been mediocre this season (4.11 ERA) and doesn’t have a good track record versus the Red Sox. In his one start last year at Fenway Park he gave up seven hits and five runs in 4 2/3 innings. In general, he’s been a far shakier pitcher on the road than at home. In his career, he has a strong 3.00 ERA at home but a 4.22 ERA on the road.
His counterpart, Felix Doubront has been flat out awful in 2014. In five starts, he has a 6.00 ERA and has looked most uncomfortable at Fenway Park. In three starts at home he has a woeful 7.50 ERA.
While both teams may be hitting below expectations, it’s worth noting that Boston is a much better hitting team at home than on the road this year. In their first 13 home games, the team has a .257 batting average, .335 on base percentage and a .394 slugging percentage. On the road over the same number of contests, those number are .225, .322 and .364, respectively.