May 8 National League probable pitching matchup capsules
How is it possible to have an ERA under 1.00 as a starter and be winless this late in the season? Ask Ryan Dempster, as he pitches for the sad-sack Cubs and looks for win No. 1 Tuesday vs. the visiting Braves. Bet on Braves-Cubs and every game at WagerWeb.com.
NY Mets at Philadelphia – Mets RHP Miguel Batista (0-1, 6.92) vs. Phillies RHP Joe Blanton (3-3, 2.83): Unsatisfied with Chris Schwinden’s work in the rotation, the Mets ask Batista to plug the hole that the injured Mike Pelfrey left in his wake. The Giants hung six runs in 3 2/3 innings on Batista in his only spot start start this year. … Blanton allowed just three hits and struck out six in nine scoreless innings against Atlanta on Thursday. It was Blanton’s first shutout since June 2, 2007. He said he hasn’t felt this good since ’07 in Oakland. He has been pitching like it.
Washington at Pittsburgh – Nationals RHP Edwin Jackson (1-1, 3.69) vs. Pirates RHP A.J. Burnett (1-2, 8.04): Jackson allowed four earned runs in six innings against the D-backs on Wednesday. He allowed eight hits, walked two batters and struck out three in the game. Jackson picked up his third no-decison of the season. … Burnett is coming off the worst outing of his career. He gave up 12 earned runs in 2 2/3 innings in a 12-3 loss on Wednesday. He allowed just two earned runs over 13 innings during his first two starts this season.
Atlanta at Chicago – Braves RHP Randall Delgado (2-3, 5.14) vs. Cubs RHP Ryan Dempster (0-1, 0.95): Delgado bounced back from two rough outings with a career-best eight innings against the Phillies on Thursday. The 22-year-old pitcher had not completed more than six innings in 11 previous career starts. … Dempster leads the Majors with a 0.95 ERA, yet does not have a win in four starts. Actually, he doesn’t have a victory since Aug. 11, a span of 13 starts. He threw eight scoreless innings vs. the Reds in his last game, but did not get a decision.
Miami at Houston – Marlins RHP Anibal Sanchez (2-0, 2.43) vs. Astros RHP Aneury Rodriguez (first start): The last three starts have been impressive, as Sanchez has given up five earned runs in 21 innings. He has 38 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings on the year and limited San Francisco to one run in seven innings in his last start. … This will be Rodriguez’s first big league appearance this year. Rodriguez, who went 1-6 with a 5.27 ERA in 43 games (eight starts) for the Astros in ’11, was 1-3 with a 4.97 ERA at Triple-A. He’s replacing Kyle Weiland.
Cincinnati at Milwaukee – Reds RHP Homer Bailey (1-2, 3.77) vs. Brewers RHP Marco Estrada (0-1, 3.71): Bailey pitched well vs. the Cubs in a no-decision, with three solo homers accounting for all his runs allowed. Two of the home runs, he felt, came on mistake pitches. The three homers tied a career high. … Estrada starts for the first time since April 28, meaning that he’ll go nine days between starts instead of the usual four. This will be his third game in place of injured lefty Chris Narveson, who is out for the season.
St. Louis at Arizona – Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook (3-2, 2.12) vs. Diamondbacks (3-1, 3.23): Westbrook allowed as many earned runs in his last outing (four) as he had in his first four starts combined. That was largely due to elevated pitches and a so-so sinker. Westbrook is 3-0 this season against teams not from Pittsburgh. … Kennedy felt like he had his best stuff of the year his last time out, but wound up dropping his first regular-season decision since Aug. 18, 2011, a span of 12 starts. He allowed two runs on four hits over seven innings vs. the Nats in a 2-1 loss.
Colorado at San Diego – Rockies TBA vs. Padres RHP Jeff Suppan (1-0, 0.00): Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, the club’s opening-day starter, will not be coming off the disabled list to make his scheduled starter Tuesday night in San Diego. His right shoulder remains stiff and a little bit sore from his cycling accident. He played catch on Friday, but his session today to throw against live hitters was scratched. … Suppan picked up his first Major League win since Oct. 3, 2010, when he tossed five shutout innings against the Brewers in his last start as a fill-in for an injured Cory Luebke. The 37-year-old allowed four hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
San Francisco at LA Dodgers – Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong (0-2, 3.42) vs. Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 2.63): By pitching at least six innings in all four of his starts this season, Vogelsong has continued a trend he established last year. He reached or exceeded the six-inning mark in 19 of 28 starts in 2011. … Kershaw allowed three homers for the first time in his career in his most recent start against Colorado in Coors Field and let a lead get away in the eighth inning. He will try to rebound against the Giants, and he’s 6-1 lifetime against them.