Five to Follow MLB Betting: Friday August 15, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 8/14/2014
To no surprise, the Colorado Rockies have ruled out Troy Tulowitzki for the rest of the season. It's a shame because Tulo might have been the NL MVP had he stayed healthy, and this move also will cost him the NL batting title. He leads the league by far in average at .340, but a player needs 502 plate appearances to qualify. Tulo will end his season with 375. Here's a look at five interesting matchups Friday around MLB.
Yankees at Rays (-136, 7)
New York had to be encouraged by what it saw from Michael Pineda on Wednesday night, but it's about time to write off the Yankees' playoff hopes in 2014. They have lost four straight games -- currently the longest streak in AL -- and the East Division hopes are gone. Yes, the Bombers are 3.5 games out of the second wild-card spot entering Thursday, but only the second one is available because the Angels will grab the first. There are four other teams ahead of New York. It's not happening. Brandon McCarthy (7-11, 4.31) starts Friday's opener in St. Petersburg. He's 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA in six starts since being dealt from Arizona. This will be his first start this year vs. the Rays. Tampa Bay's Alex Cobb (7-6, 3.41) has managed to avoid the Yankees this season. He hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in a start since June 23.
Key trends: New York is 4-12 in its past 16 against the AL East. Tampa Bay is 1-4 in Cobb's past five at home. The Rays are 4-1 in Cobb's past five vs. New York. The "under" is 5-1 in his past six against the Yankees.
Early lean: I'm a big Cobb fan -- the Rays are going to be just fine pitching-wise next year when Matt Moore returns. Take them and the under here.
Orioles at Indians (-161, 7)
Not that it really matters at this point as the Tribe remain without injured Nick Swisher and Daniel Murphy, but the team will get back outfielder Michael Bourn on Friday. He hasn't played since July 5 due to a hamstring injury and has largely been an injury-plagued bust since the Tribe gave him a big free-agent contract before the 2013 season. He probably won't be much of a stolen base threat the rest of the season to ensure that hamstring doesn't get worse. The Indians aren't totally out of it yet but teetering on the edge. They start one of the best pitchers in the AL, to the surprise of many, in Corey Kluber (13-6, 2.46). He is 6-0 with a 1.33 ERA in his past seven outings. He shut out the Orioles on May 24 at Camden Yards over seven innings. Lefty Wei-Yin Chen (12-4, 3.90) goes for Baltimore. He had a five-start winning streak snapped last time out, allowing four runs in five innings at Toronto. He allowed five runs over 6.2 innings on May 22 vs. Cleveland.
Key trends: The Orioles have won 10 of their past 11 series openers. The Indians are 5-0 in Kluber's past five against teams with a winning record. The under is 7-1 in Cleveland's past eight against lefties. The under is 9-2 in Baltimore's past 11 road games.
Early lean: How can you not go under here? Surprised it's a +100 dog.
Pirates at Nationals (-160, 7)
Pittsburgh is playing pretty well without Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker, but it looks like Walker might have to join McCutchen on the DL. The second baseman (.277, 16 HRs, 50 RBIs) hasn't played since Aug. 9 due to a back injury. Washington's surprising Tanner Roark (11-7, 2.86) could dominate that depleted lineup on Friday. He is 5-5 with a 2.40 ERA in 11 home starts but has never faced Pittsburgh. Charlie Morton (5-11, 3.62) gets the call for Pittsburgh, which has lost his past four outings. He got his first win of the season on May 23 vs. the Nationals, allowing a run over 5.2 innings. Adam LaRoche is 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs against Morton.
Key trends: The Pirates are 1-5 in Morton's past six on the road. The Nats are 6-1 in Roark's past seven against teams with a winning record. The over is 5-0-1 in Washington's past six series openers.
Early lean: Nats at +140 on the runline.
Padres at Cardinals (-128, 7.5)
San Diego entered Thursday with the longest winning streak in baseball (five games) but is going to lose first baseman Yonder Alonso (.240, 7 HRs, 27 RBIs) to the disabled list with a right forearm strain. Too bad, as he's been part of the reason the Padres are playing so much better lately. He was hitting .522 with two homers and five RBIs this month. That's one less guy for Lance Lynn to worry about. Lynn (12-8, 2.97) allowed three runs last time out in a win over Baltimore, which was notable because he hadn't allowed that many since June 28. He lost in San Diego on July 29, allowing just one earned run over six innings. Red-hot Jedd Gyorko is 2-for-5 with two RBIs off him. San Diego's Tyson Ross (11-10, 2.60) would probably have 15 wins if he played on a better offensive team. He has tied a Padres record with 10 straight starts of six or more innings while allowing two or fewer earned runs. That includes beating the Cardinals opposite Lynn on July 29, allowing a run over six innings.
Key trends: San Diego is 5-0 in Ross' past five against the NL Central. The under is 9-2 in Ross' past 11 on the road against teams with a winning record. The under is 7-0 in Lynn's past seven at home.
Early lean: Ross has been great, but it seems Cards should be bigger favorites at home. They are the pick with another under.
Brewers at Dodgers (-171, 7)
Milwaukee rested Ryan Braun for Thursday's game in Chicago as his hand/thumb has flared up lately, but don't read anything into that. It was just a getaway day game with the Brewers flying to L.A. afterward. He'll no doubt be in there Friday night. The Brewers haven't scored more than three runs in their past four games entering Thursday's finale. It will be tough exceeding three on Friday against the Dodgers' Zack Greinke (12-8, 2.84). He will be looking for a little payback after the Brewers beat him last week in Milwaukee, hitting Greinke for four runs and eight hits over six innings. Lyle Overbay is a career .346 hitter with three home runs and eight RBIs in 26 at-bats vs. Greinke. Milwaukee's Jimmy Nelson (2-3, 4.00) lost to L.A. last week, giving up two runs and eight hits over six innings. This will be his first road start since May 25.
Key trends: Milwaukee has won four straight series openers. The Dodgers are 7-1 in Greinke's past eight at home against teams with a winning record. The under is 4-0 in Nelson's past four. It is 6-1 in Greinke's past seven.
Early lean: Dodgers at +125 on the runline and under again as Greinke shuts down the Brew Crew.
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