Home run (Safe bet)
Choose the New York Yankees 1.52 to win at the New York Mets.
Quite simply, I intend to continue to ride Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka until he proves he’s not a good bet. In this Wednesday derby, Tanaka is facing a Mets team that will be relying on a pitcher, Rafael Montero, who will be making his Major League debut. No doubt, Montero has been very good in the minor leagues (in 72 appearances he owns a lifetime 2.63 ERA), but facing the Yankees is a whole different ballgame. Despite a slow offensive start, the Yankees have been hitting .299 over the past week.
Truth be told, Montero’s performance might not even matter if Tanaka continues to pitch to win the way he’s been doing so far this year. The Japanese import is 5-0 with a 2.57 ERA. In all seven of his appearances, he’s thrown a quality start (six or more innings pitched; three or fewer runs allowed). I expect more of the same here.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest Call)
Consider the Atlanta Braves, on at 2.05, to win on the road against the San Francisco Giants.
The Giants have been one of baseball’s best team, but they’re facing the Braves in the wrong situation in this game. Atlanta has rebounded nicely from a seven-game losing streak they suffered from the end of April into the start of this month. Since then, they’ve won four of five coming into this series. They’ve also been a solid road team, playing right around a .500 winning percentage.
In this game, they’re throwing Julio Teheran, who is emerging as a star. So far this year, he’s posted a terrific 1.71 ERA in eight starts. Being away from home shouldn’t hinder his performance. He has a 1.64 ERA in away games. Though he wasn’t dominating, he was solid in his one previous outing against the Giants.
On May 3, he pitched seven innings, allowing just four hits (and three runs), while striking out seven. In that game, he was stung by three solo home runs. That was an abnormal result as those homers represented nearly half the number he’s given up this year. Moreover, that game was at Turner Field, which, while not a great home run hitter’s park, is far better than AT&T Park. The Giants’ stadium is the second-best when it comes to giving up homers.
Teheran faces Madison Bumgarner. The Giants starter has also been very good overall this season. He owns a 2.83 ERA. He also pitched well against the Braves in his one start versus them this year, going six innings, while allowing three hits and one run. He struck out nine. But that game was in Atlanta, and Bumgarner has not done well at home in 2014. He has a 5.87 ERA in three starts at AT&T Park.