A's v Red Sox
The successful return of Brett Anderson should assure the Oakland A’s a win at home against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. Anderson, who was shelved last year after reconstructive elbow surgery, has done what very few pitchers can – come back from the procedure and immediately produce. We’ve seen a number of pitchers (like, Adam Wainwright, for example) need some time to regain their command after the surgery, but in Anderson’s first two starts he’s 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA. Even before losing key players to trades and injuries, the Red Sox were not a good road hitting them by any metric (batting average: .253 on the road versus .305 at home; on base percentage: .305 road versus .343 at home; slugging percentage .467 road versus .398 at home). Admittedly, Fenway Park is a great place to hit, but that doesn’t fully account for such huge splits. Red Sox started Felix Doubront started the season promisingly, but then found his way onto the disabled list. Since returning, he’s had one start and it wasn’t a good one: six hits and four runs in five innings against the Kansas City Royals. Pick the A’s at 1.53 rather than Boston at 2.38.
Nationals v Cardinals
Even with two top pitchers getting the assignment look for the visiting St. Louis Cardinals to prevail against the Washington Nationals. Cardinals’ pitcher Kyle Lohse has quietly been one of the best in the National League this year. His 14-2 record leads the NL in winning percentage and his 2.64 ERA is equally impressive. Another key: he is incredibly consistent. He gone six innings or more in fifteen of his past sixteen games (the only reason he isn’t perfect on this account is a rain delay cut his night short his last time out). Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann overall statistics suggest he’s been a run preventing machine as well – after all his 2012 ERA is 2.63. But the 26-year-old Zimmermann is showing tremendous fatigue in August. After a sterling July in which he went 4-0 with a 0.97 ERA, he’s been very hittable going 1-2 with a 4.39 ERA in August. In his last two starts he’s posted a 6.30 ERA. Go with the Cardinals at 2.00 as Zimmermann’s recent fade makes Washington an iffy choice at 1.81.