The Detroit Tigers are in line for a home victory when they host the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday.
Tigers’ starter Justin Verlander has an ERA (3.41) that is below his standards over the past couple of years. Still, there is reason to believe he’s snapping back into form. Quite simply, in June he’s hit his stride.
Following a horrendous May (3-2 with a 6.41 ERA) he’s gone 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA this month. Throughout the season he’s been more comfortable at home, which bodes well for this contest. He’s 3-2 with a 3.12 ERA at home (compared with 5-2 with a 3.66 ERA on the road).
The biggest factor in Verlander’s favor is his work against the members of the Orioles offence. In 204 plate appearances, Orioles hitters have put up a weak .193 batting average and a .289 slugging percentage against him. The Orioles’ starting pitcher Jason Hammel may be 7-4 but that isn’t really reflective of how he’s pitched. His 5.24 ERA gives a better sense of his performance.
What is particularly troubling in this game for Hammel is just how well the Tigers have swung the bat against him. Lifetime, Tigers hitters have a .330 batting average with a robust .568 slugging percentage. This mismatch in pitching will dictate the result in this game, so go with the Tigers.
St. Louis Cardinals’ star Adam Wainwright will continue his winning ways against the Chicago Cubs at home. In five appearances, Wainwright has been incredibly tough to score runs against. He has a sterling 1.35 ERA at Busch Stadium. (It’s worth noting that Wainwright has always been good at home as evidenced by his lifetime 47-28 record with a 2.65 ERA there.)
The Chicago Cubs are countering with Jeff Samardzija. The right-hander’s overall ERA (3.46) and strikeout numbers (108 – which leads the National League) are strong, but there is reason for concern here. Historically, he hasn’t thrown well at Busch Stadium (he has a career 5.93 ERA in six appearances).
In addition, Cardinals hitters have a great track record against him. Combined, they’ve batted .295 with a .388 on base percentage. With the Cubs below the league average in runs scored per game, Sarmardzija will have a tough time keeping St. Louis enough in check for his club to gain the win.
Best bet: Pick the Cardinals (1.48) for the victory