Five to Follow MLB Betting: Friday August 22, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 8/21/2014
Well, so much for my belief that the Los Angeles Angels would win not just the AL West but also the pennant. Now I see neither as happening barring an unlikely waiver trade after the major knee injury suffered by ace pitcher Garrett Richards on Wednesday night in Boston. If you haven't seen the video, well, it's not quite Paul George disturbing but close. It totally devastates the Angels, who should still win a wild-card spot but now don't have the pitching to win a series against the Tigers or A's. L.A. was -110 on Sportsbook.ag to win the West and +350 to win the pennant. I suppose on the bright side, at least it wasn't an arm injury, Richards should be good to go next spring. Here are five interesting matchups on Friday's schedule.
Orioles at Cubs (-113, TBA)
Chicago won't have All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro for a little while as he has been placed on the bereavement list. This season Castro is hitting .284 with 13 home runs and 64 RBIs and had played every game before sitting Wednesday. The Cubs will slide Javier Baez over to short, which was his normal position in the minors, and use a mix of guys likely at second, where Baez had been playing in the majors. This is an interesting game because Chicago starts Jake Arrieta, whom it stole from Baltimore in July 2013 in the Scott Feldman trade. Arrieta (6-4, 2.61) never lived up to promise with the O's but has been a No. 1 guy with the Cubs. One guy the Cubs had asked for in that deal and the Orioles said no to was Kevin Gausman (7-4, 3.70), and he gets the call for Baltimore. The Orioles have won four of his past five, and he hasn't allowed more than three runs in any. He has never faced the Cubs.
Key trends: Baltimore has won nine of its past 10 series openers. It is 6-0 in Gausman's past six with four days of rest. The Cubs are 4-0 in Arrieta's past four Friday starts. The "under" is 10-1 in Baltimore's past 11 road games against righty starters.
Early lean: Orioles were off Thursday, while Cubs had to play at least 1.5 games (see Giants below). Take Baltimore.
White Sox at Yankees (-177, 9)
The last thing the sliding Yankees need is to lose one of their regulars, but they will be without outfielder/DH Carlos Beltran perhaps for a few games. He's dealing with right elbow pain, and a bone spur in the elbow put him on the disabled list for a month earlier this summer. Beltran is hoping a cortisone shot gets him in there Friday, but that's far from a sure thing. He didn't play Wednesday or Thursday. Beltran is hitting .233 with 14 homers and 45 RBIs. The Bombers start Shane Greene (3-1, 2.91) in Friday's series opener. He struck out a career-high 10 last time out in beating the Rays, the Yankees' third straight win in his starts. Lefty John Danks (9-8, 4.94) goes for the Pale Hose, and he was somewhat close to becoming a Yankee at the July 31 trade deadline. Danks' best start of the season was May 24 vs. the Yankees, shutting them out on three hits over eight innings. Mark Teixeira is a career .533 hitter off him with two doubles, a homer and five RBIs in 15 at-bats.
Key trends: The White Sox have won five straight after an off day. New York is 1-5 in its past six against lefties. The over is 8-1 in Danks' past nine following a team loss in its previous game. The "over" is 6-2 in the past eight between these teams.
Early lean: Over at -105.
Giants at Nationals (-140, 7)
This would be a tough test for San Francisco as it is because Washington is the hottest team in the National League at the moment but even more so now because San Francisco had to play a mini-doubleheader Thursday. The Giants' appeal of Tuesday's game was upheld, so they got a chance to wipe off a 2-0 loss to the Cubs with the game resuming in the bottom of the fifth and Chicago leading by that score. Then the teams will play their regularly scheduled game at night, with San Francisco traveling late to D.C. Thus, the Giants' bullpen could be blown by Friday, and the team could need a long effort from Tim Hudson (8-9, 3.03). He has been coming back to earth with a 6.00 ERA this month. Jayson Werth is a career .366 hitter off him with three homers and 11 RBIs in 41 at-bats. Doug Fister (12-3, 2.20) is now Washington's best pitcher. His ERA this month is 0.64, going at least seven innings in all four starts.
Key trends: The Giants are 0-4 in Hudson's past four against teams with a winning record. The Nationals are 7-1 in Fister's past eight at home. The under is 5-1 in his past six against teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Washington is stellar value at +160 on the runline.
Angels at A's (-165, 7.5)
I wonder if this Richards injury will give the Halos a bit of a hangover and they go into a funk? If Mike Trout was the player L.A. could least afford to lose, Richards was No. 2. It's a shame that injury overshadows the opening of this huge series in Oakland. The A's already had a nice advantage in that they were off Thursday, while the Angels had to play a night game in Boston and then fly back across country. Lefty Hector Santiago (3-7, 3.46) goes for the Angels. He has dominated Oakland this year with a 0.69 ERA in two starts, although he hasn't gotten a decision in either. Oakland's young star Sonny Gray (12-7, 2.99) appears to have hit the wall. The A's have lost his past four, and his ERA this month is 4.94. He beat the Angels on June 1, allowing three runs over 6.2 innings.
Key trends: The Angels are 1-5 in Santiago's past six road starts against teams with a winning record. Oakland is 10-1 in Gray's past 11 vs. the AL West. The under is 4-0 in Gray's past four series-opening starts.
Early lean: Everything seems to point against L.A,. so Oakland it is. Go over at +100.
Marlins at Rockies (+108, 10)
Colorado is expected to get back outfielder Michael Cuddyer on Friday. He hasn't played since Aug. 17, when he had the only cycle in the majors this year, due to a hamstring injury. Cuddyer is about all the Rockies have left. He's hitting .331 but won't get near enough plate appearances to defend his batting title. Cuddyer is 0-for-2 in his career against Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez (9-5, 2.43). He returned from the disabled list on Aug. 16 and showed no rust, holding Arizona to a run over seven innings. Alvarez faced the Rockies way back on April 2 and allowed six runs in three innings. Those Rockies were good. These aren't. Colorado southpaw Franklin Morales (5-6, 5.04) hasn't won since July 8 but has bounced between the rotation and bullpen.
Key trends: Miami is 5-0 in its past five series openers. It is 8-1 in Alvarez's past nine against teams with a losing record. The Rockies are 1-6 in their past seven after a win. The under is 7-0 in Morales' past seven pitching on four days of rest.
Early lean: Most times I can understand a total of 10 in Colorado home games. Not here. Go under at -115.
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