On paper, the match between the New York Mets and the Miami Marlins should be a tense match-up of two young pitching stars, but it’ll ultimately be a one-sided affair. The Mets’ 24-year-old Matt Harvey and the Marlins’ 20-year-old Jose Fernandez have both received attention for their combination of youth and talent, but Harvey is the truly special pitcher of the two. With a fastball he can command throughout the strike zone at an average velocity of more than 94 miles per hour, plus an array of solid secondary pitches, it’s not surprising that Harvey is currently 4-0 with a 1.54 ERA.
Fernandez also has velocity (nearly 95 mph on average) and a great change-up, but he just isn’t as polished as Harvey. He makes more mistakes around the plate, as evidenced by his last performance against the Minnesota Twins, in which he gave up four runs in five innings pitched. Moreover, Fernandez hasn’t pitched deep into any game – he’s averaging just five innings per outing through four starts (in contrast, Harvey is averaging seven innings a start). This means that the Marlins bullpen will be a key in this game, which isn’t a good thing for Miami fans. The upshot: go with Harvey and the Mets to win at 1.58.
Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija’s tough luck should come to an end when the San Diego Padres come to visit Wrigley Field. Samardzija has a solid 3.03 ERA but is 1-4 this year because of a lack of offence. (It hasn’t helped that he’s had to pitch on the road in four of his five starts; Samardzija historically has pitched better at home.) But he should be able to dominate the Padres enough for his club to pull out a win here. Lifetime, Samardzija is 2-1 with a 2.20 ERA against San Diego, and he should thrive against this Padres line-up, which ranks 12th out of 15 National League teams in runs per game.
Padres pitcher Clayton Richard has looked ropey all season, as his 7.94 ERA suggests. He’s also coming off a shelling by the Milwaukee Brewers at pitcher-friendly Petco Park. Samardzija will rule the day and the Cubs, who can be had at 1.61, will prevail.