The two teams with the best records in the NL start a 3-game set on Tuesday night when the San Francisco Giants visit the Washington Nationals.
We start with a look at Monday night with the Los Angeles Angels 135 road favorites at Cleveland. The total is 8½ on the Don Best odds screen and shaded to the ‘under.’
Jered Weaver (8-1, 2.31 ERA) is the main reason for the Los Angeles optimism. He’s won both starts since coming off the DL, allowing one earned run over 12 2/3 innings. One of those great starts was at Baltimore, but his ERA is much higher on the road overall (3.77).
Note the ‘over’ is 6-2 in Weaver’s last eight starts with strong run support a big reason.
Ubaldo Jimenez (7-6, 4.69 ERA) pitches for Cleveland. He was much better in five June starts (2.78 ERA), but control continues to be an issue with 5.40 walks per nine innings, and his strikeout rate (6.62) is down vs. prior years.
Jimenez does pitch better at home (3.79 ERA) and this is his first appearance against the Angels since becoming an Indian last year.
Getting back to the Giants and Nationals, this is an interesting pitching duel between Tim Lincecum and Jordan Zimmermann. San Francisco had Monday off after flying from the West Coast. Washington is in a traditional fade spot in the first game back after a long 10-game trip.
Lincecum (3-8, 5.60 ERA) has been a train wreck overall this year. He is on a streak of 12 scoreless innings, but Don Best MLB analyst Kenny White isn’t too excited with the foes being anemic Oakland and the struggling Dodgers.
White also points out that Lincecum’s velocity is way down to 90 mph and the former Cy Young winner has a 7.59 road ERA.
Zimmermann (4-6, 2.77 ERA) hasn’t gotten a lot run support and the bullpen has let him down as well. He has a 94 mph fastball and an 86 mph slider, but his strikeout rate is only 6.01 per nine innings, relying a lot on control. Zimmermann allowed just one earned run over seven innings at Colorado last start, his first win since May 22.
There’s an ‘over’ trend for both pitchers, 8-3 in Lincecum’s last 11 starts and 6-2 in Zimmermann’s last eight.
Don Best is sending out a line of Washington -130 with a total of 7½.
Also on Tuesday is an AL affair of Texas at the Chicago White Sox, two more division leaders. The Pale Hose are a 130 favorite behind Chris Sale (9-2, 2.27 ERA) with a total of 8½. They have surprisingly struggled at home at 19-21 (-7.4 units).
Texas’ Roy Oswalt is 2-0 with a 4.26 ERA in two starts since coming out of quasi-retirement. He has benefited from great run support after allowing 22 hits in 12 2/3 innings, but is a veteran pitcher who will keep his team in games.
Sale has seen Chicago go 6-2 in his last eight starts, not getting a loss personally since May 12. He’s been more accurate after converting to a starter this season, throwing 92 mph with more movement. He would overthrow a lot as a reliever in the mid-90s.
Note that Texas is an impressive 23-15 away, which couples with the Sox’ mediocre home play as mentioned above. White likes Chicago’s lineup against Oswalt in this contest, with Sale’s 1.69 home ERA another factor.