Free MLB Picks: Rays at Yankees and Padres at Dodgers Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/19/2010
Let’s take a night off from the NBA and NHL playoffs and look at two interesting intradivisional series that begin on Wednesday night.
Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m.
The line: Yankees -155/-1.5 on run line at +130 (9.5 total)
How they enter: Tampa Bay has a three-game lead over New York in the AL East and just swept a two-game series from Cleveland. The Rays have won six of seven overall. New York just finished a wild two-game set with Boston, where both teams blew a game in the ninth inning with their star closer on the mound.
Scouting report: If there is one pitcher who seems to be a lock tonight in baseball, it’s New York’s A.J. Burnett (4-1, 3.31) against the Rays. His 12 career wins against them are his most against any team, and he has a 2.76 ERA against Tampa Bay. He has won four straight starts against Tampa Bay and is 6-0 with a 1.76 ERA in his last seven – Burnett held the Rays to two runs in seven innings of a 7-3 win April 11. These two met in the season’s first week, with New York taking two of three in St. Pete. Tonight’s Tampa Bay starter, Wade Davis, lost on April 10 in that series, allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings. He has a 5.73 ERA in two career outings against the Yanks and enters with losses in his past two starts overall.
It will be interesting what New York does tonight if it holds a lead in the eighth inning and Burnett is out. Joba Chamberlain has been rocked in his past two outings as a set-up man. And closer Mariano Rivera has blown back-to-back saves. Both those guys pitched in Tuesday’s loss to Boston for their second outing in three games. So will they even be available tonight? Tampa Bay doesn’t much enjoy the new Yankee Stadium, having lost six in a row there by a combined score of 31-12. But last year’s Rays obviously were nowhere near as good as this year’s.
Key trends: The Yankees are a whopping 51-13 in their past 64 at home.
Tampa Bay is 4-11 in the past 15 meetings.
The ‘under’ is 13-2-2 in Tampa Bay’s past 15.
The pick: I don’t much like the -150 price for the Yanks straight up, although it’s rare they will be that low-priced at home. Your best bet might be taking the Yanks and giving up those 1.5 runs at +130. I think Burnett holds the Rays in check and that New York should get to Davis a bit. Something like a 6-2 final, so take the ‘under’ too.
Padres at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
The line: Dodgers -120/-1.5 on run line at +165 (8)
How they enter: The Padres finally lost to the Giants on Tuesday night for the first time in eight meetings this season. L.A. just swept two from Houston and is easily the hottest team in baseball, having won nine in a row.
Scouting report: If San Diego falls out of the race, the Padres definitely will have another nice trading chip in pitcher Jon Garland, who is 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA this season. He has allowed more than one earned run just once since his second start of the season. And that came when he allowed two to the Dodgers last week when he got a no-decision after pitching six innings.
He will be opposed by Ramon Ortiz (1-1, 5.40), who made his first major league start in almost three years against Garland last Friday. Ortiz lasted only four-plus innings in that game. The Dodgers held San Diego to a total of four runs in a three-game sweep of San Diego last weekend – San Diego is near the bottom of the NL average, runs and homers.
Star Adrian Gonzalez has four hits in his last 25 at-bats (.160) and never hits well at Dodger Stadium. Remember that L.A. doesn’t have Andre Ethier, who was only the NL Triple Crown leader until he injured his finger, and shortstop Rafael Furcal. L.A. can tie for first in the NL West tonight after being in last just 10 days ago.
Key trends: The Padres are 7-1 in their past eight road games.
L.A. is 11-1 in its past 12 vs. a right-handed starter.
The ‘under’ is 6-0 in the past six meetings.
The pick: I’m going to say jump all over this -1.5 on the run line and take L.A. at +165. Having Ortiz on the mound is a bit concerning, but no way Garland is this good – and he actually scuffled a bit in his past start against L.A., throwing 111 pitches in those six innings. I have no strong opinion on the total in this one in all honesty. I would lean toward ‘under’.
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