MLB Betting and Handicapping: Scouting The Week Ahead
by Alan Matthews - 9/10/2012
There were three key injuries in MLB last week that seem likely to affect the American League playoff chase – and one of them unfortunately will probably cost me on the 2012 MLB home-run king prop.
Let’s start in New York with Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira. The Yanks should be feeling somewhat good today after routing Baltimore 13-3 on Sunday to take a one-game lead over the Birds in the AL East. However, Saturday night’s loss at Camden Yards could prove monstrously costly as Teixeira re-aggravated a calf injury trying to beat out a game-ending double-play throw at first – actually, he did beat it out but the umpire called Teixeira out.
Teixeira (.255, 23 homers, 81 RBI) had missed 10 games with the calf injury before starting Saturday. Now his regular season could be over depending on what an MRI shows on Monday but for sure you can all but count him out for the rest of this week as New York attempts to hold off the Orioles and Rays.
New York starts a three-game set in Boston on Tuesday night and then has a big three-game home series with Tampa Bay this weekend. Entering this week, the Yankees haven’t won consecutive games since taking the first three games of a series against the Rangers Aug. 13-15. And the starting pitching is becoming a problem. CC Sabathia just looks off and might be hurting – he’s been on the DL twice this year. Freddy Garcia hasn’t gone more than 5.1 innings in his past four starts. David Phelps has failed to go five innings in his last two starts. Ivan Nova is likely to return from the DL this week – probably replacing Garcia or Phelps -- but in eight starts in the second half of the season, Nova is just 1-4 with a 7.28 ERA. Andy Pettitte can’t heal fast enough and is still unlikely to return until Sept. 24.
The Yankees remain the second-favorite at +250 on Sportsbook.ag to win the AL pennant, but I’m not sure they even win the division at this point.
Meanwhile, the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers begin a huge series on Monday night at U.S. Cellular and the Sox aren’t expected to have slugger Adam Dunn for the four-game set, the final regular-season meeting of the season between the AL Central rivals. Dunn missed this past weekend’s series vs. Kansas City with an oblique injury and won’t rush himself back and risk re-injuring it as he did early last week. Dunn leads the White Sox with 38 homers and 88 RBI.
Back at the all-star break, I liked Dunn to lead MLB in homers this season, but now that’s probably not going to happen as he is two behind leader Josh Hamilton of the Rangers. Hamilton and Dunn are currently +150 favorites, with Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun and Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion (both 38 homers) at +200. Go with Hamilton.
Also take the “over” in each game of the Tigers series despite some good pitching matchups. Why? The Sox are hitting .301 with 28 home runs and 84 runs scored in their last 15 home games. Yes, Dunn’s power will be missed but not his .208 average or 194 strikeouts. Chicago is a -120 series favorite at Bovada for the first three games vs. Detroit. That means from an MLB betting perspective White Sox backers will avoid Justin Verlander as he goes in the series finale vs. Chris Sale on Thursday. The Tigers won 4-2 when Sale and Verlander faced off on Sept. 2.
Finally, one of the scariest injuries you will ever see in baseball happened last week when Oakland pitcher Brandon McCarthy was hit in the head by a line drive. McCarthy had to have emergency brain surgery after the shot off the bat of Angels batter Erick Aybar hit him in the head and fractured his skull.
It appears that McCarthy is finally out of a life-threatening situation but there’s obviously little chance he will return this season. That’s a huge loss for Oakland, which enters this week leading the AL wild-card race and just 3.5 games behind Texas in the AL West. McCarthy 8-6 with a 3.24 ERA this season. Dan Straily, one of the team’s top pitching prospects, will replace McCarthy in the rotation. Straily was 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts in August during his first-career call-up. Oakland starts a big series at the L.A. Angels on Monday and Straily will start in Tuesday night’s game.
L.A., which has won six straight and 11 of its past 12 games, is a -250 favorite for the series. Oakland has won nine consecutive on the road after completing a sweep of the Mariners on Sunday. The Halos are hoping that ace Jered Weaver will go in Wednesday’s game after he was scratched from Friday’s start with biceps tendinitis.
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