In a battle of the bad Sunday, the Chicago Cubs should prove a little better than the home team Minnesota Twins. Pitching should prove the deciding factor between these cellar-dwelling clubs. Ryan Dempster may be 1-3 but he’s thrown incredibly well throughout the season as evidenced by his 2.59 ERA. He’s also coming off a confidence boosting first win of the season; he gave up no runs on three hits in five innings against the Milwaukee Brewers.
In contrast, inexperienced Twins starter Cole De Vries was very shaky in his last outing, giving up five runs and six hits in just five innings. If De Vries can’t go deep in the game, the Twins face the additional problem of having the worst bullpen in the American League (and second-worst in all of Major League Baseball) based on runs allowed per contest. Chalk this one up to the otherwise lousy Cubs at 2.12. The Twins shouldn’t come in at 1.72.
The pitching match-up when the Philadelphia Phillies visit the Baltimore Orioles should guarantee a low-scoring affair. Despite being 0-3, Cliff Lee has certainly kept runs off the scoreboard in his nine starts, posting a 2.92 ERA. In particular, he’s felt very comfortable pitching on the road in 2012 where he has a 2.17 ERA in four stars compared to a 3.53 ERA at home.
The Orioles’ Jason Hammel has been one of the primary reasons Baltimore has been a contender so far this season. He’s 6-2 with a 2.97 ERA. The location of this contest will also suit him: he’s 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA in four games at Camden Yards. While it’s too close to call to put money on Lee getting his first win, the pedigree for both starters suggests going under 8.0 runs at 1.90 is the right move compared to the over at 1.90.