Home run (Safe bet)
Pick the New York Yankees, on at 1.51, to win at home against the Chicago White Sox.
It hasn’t been a great year for the Yankees brand, but they face the right pitcher on Saturday to return a little bit of luster – at least for one day.
The White Sox’s Scott Carroll is struggling mightily over his past five games. During that stretch, which spas 28 2/3 innings pitched, the right-hander has a 6.91 ERA. August has been a particular nightmare for Carroll, who owns an 8.15 ERA in the month so far. He’ll square off against a Yankees lineup that, like the team’s overall record, has been mediocre, but has at least hit better at home than on the road.
As for the Yankees’ pitching, the club’s one top-shelf healthy starter gets the call. After injuries to Masahiro Tanaka and C.C. Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda is the final consistent starter standing in the Yankees’ rotation. As has been the case throughout his Major League career, Kuroda has been ever reliable. In seven years, he’s always posted an ERA under 4.00. From game-to-game, he is also a good lock to give his team a chance to win. Kuroda has thrown a quality start (six innings or more pitched; three runs or less allowed) in eight of his last eleven appearances.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Go with the Seattle Mariners at 1.91 on the road to prevail over the Boston Red Sox.
I have been a naysayer all season when it comes to Seattle starting pitcher Chris Young. He has an ERA of 3.07, but his fielding independent pitching (FIP), which is scaled like ERA but is a better indicator of performance is a terrible 4.58. This is usually a strong suggestion that a pitcher – and his success – is on borrowed time and an implosion is due. But, after seeing Young throw in his most recent game, I don’t think this match up will be his downfall. On August 17, against a solid Detroit Tigers lineup, Young threw six innings of four-hit, no-run baseball. It wasn’t just the outcome that was so good, but he just appeared so dominating.
He’ll face a beleaguered Boston club that currently ranks dead last in run production this year. If that’s not enough to give Young and his Mariners the edge, then consider the Red Sox’s starter Brandon Workman. The right-hander has a 1-7 record and, over his past four outings, is 0-4 with a 4.67 ERA.