Home run (Safe bet)
Go with the Cincinnati Reds at 1.72 at home versus the Boston Red Sox.
Boston’s weak work on the road will continue in this Tuesday clash. The Red Sox rank twenty-fourth (out of thirty times) in winning percentage in away games this year. In contrast, the Reds have been solid at Great American Ballpark, logging a 32-27 record there.
This game also features two teams with very different motivations. The Reds are currently in the middle of both the National League Central and NL Wild Card races. On the other hand, Boston sits in last in the American League East. Quite simply, the Reds need this game, whereas the Red Sox are probably just counting down the days until the season is over.
As for the pitching matchup, Cincinnati goes with Mat Latos, while the Red Sox counter with Joe Kelly. Latos, despite missing a large chunk of the season, has been solid, posting a 3.12 ERA in ten starts. Momentum has been building for him as well. In his past two starts he’s 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA.
After a promising 2013 campaign, Kelly has been a disappointment this year. He had a 4.37 ERA before being traded from the Cardinals to the Red Sox. While he threw well in his first Boston start, he didn’t win, which is reflective of where the Red Sox are right now – even good pitching performances aren’t enough for the club to be expected to win.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Pick the Chicago White Sox, on at 1.72, to win on the road against the San Francisco Giants.
These clubs have both performed poorly lately and neither are playing in their best environs in this game. The Giants have produced a below .500 winning percentage at home this year; the White Sox rank twenty-third amongst MLB clubs in road performance. In their past thirty games, San Francisco is 8-12, while the Chicago is 9-11.
When two teams are both in poor positions, a singular strong pitcher is well-placed to dominate. That’s what you should expect here with the White Sox’s Chris Sale. The left-hander is 10-2 with a 2.13 ERA. Despite his team’s road woes, Sale is 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA when he leaves the southside of Chicago.
The Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong has had such an up-and-down year. He’s actually on an upswing (2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his past two game). But the key statistic here is the difficulty he has winning at home. He’s 2-6 at AT&T Park. While win-loss usually isn’t a very good indicator of future performance (there are just so many factors out of a pitcher’s control in wins and losses), in this case the hard luck nature Vogelsong has faced should continue as it’s unlikely he’ll outpitch Sale.