Five to Follow MLB Betting: Saturday September 13, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 9/12/2014
What a scary sight Thursday night at Miller Park in Milwaukee as Miami Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton was hit in the face with a pitch by the Brewers' Mike Fiers (I recommend not watching the video). Stanton was carted off on a stretcher, and that injury surely will end his season and officially hand the NL MVP Award to Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw. Stanton wasn't the only one plunked on Thursday. Here's a look at five interesting games on Saturday with two other injuries involving HBP.
Marlins at Phillies (-127, 8)
Stanton was diagnosed with multiple facial fractures as well as dental damage. One report said that Stanton "had a tooth lodged in his cheek and a hole in his lip so big the doctor's index finger could fit in it." Yikes. Stanton says he wants to return this season, but that seems impossible. He will still win the NL home-run crown (37) but likely lose out on the RBI title to the Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez. Stanton will finish with 105 knocked in. This injury doesn't affect the pennant race as the only playoff team the Marlins still play is Washington, and the Nats are going to win the NL East regardless. I expect the Marlins to go into a funk now after seeing that. They start lefty Brad Hand (3-6, 4.45) on Saturday night in Philly. He blanked the Braves over six innings last time out. He has pitched 5.2 innings vs. the Phillies, allowing four runs. Philadelphia's Kyle Kendrick (8-12, 4.83) is 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA in three starts against Miami.
Key trends: Miami is 3-8 in Hand's past 11 on the road. The Phillies are 5-1 in Kendrick's past six against teams with a losing record. The Phillies are 8-0 in Kendrick's past eight at home vs. Miami. The "over/under" has gone over in his past five overall against the Marlins.
Early lean: That Miami lineup is built around Stanton. I wouldn't recommend the Marlins much the rest of the year. Take Philly.
Yankees at Orioles (-139, 8)
New York third baseman Chase Headley, who has been pretty solid since coming over from the Padres, also was hit in the face on Thursday night. Tampa Bay's Jake McGee was the culprit this time (obviously not intentional). Headley will have X-rays on his jaw but even if negative I can't see him playing for a little while. He is hitting .253 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 45 games with the Yankees while playing fine defense. The Yanks start Shane Greene (4-3, 3.57) in Saturday afternoon's national TV game in Baltimore. His best start of the season was easily July 12 in Baltimore when he shut out the Orioles on four hits over 7.1 innings. However, New York has lost his past two. The Orioles' Miguel Gonzalez (9-7, 3.22) hasn't allowed a run in his past two starts, spanning 15.1 innings. He is 0-0 with a 3.21 ERA in two starts vs. the Yankees. Also, this came down just as I was sending this story in: Baltimore slugger Chris Davis was suspended 25 games after testing positive for an amphetamine. That will carry over into the preseason. Big blow for Birds, although Davis hasn't been half the player he was in 2013.
Key trends: The Yankees are 5-0 in Greene's past five on the road. Baltimore is 7-3 in Gonzalez's past 10 at home vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 8-2 in Gonzalez's past 10.
Early lean: Both pitchers have been solid, and each lineup is likely missing at least one key guy. Go under at +105. The day game after a night matchup also helps matters.
Nationals at Mets (+116, 7)
The HBP list continues with Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy as he was hit on the wrist Thursday. X-rays were negative, but he did have a lot of swelling. He shouldn't miss too much time but one would think a few games. It was rather curious that Murphy got hit after Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon had earlier plunked two Washington batters after they had homered. New York figured to struggle as it was on Saturday as it goes against the Nationals' Doug Fister (13-6, 2.53). After a bit of a rough three-start stretch, he shut out the Braves on two hits over seven innings last time out. Fister hasn't allowed an earned run in 14.1 innings vs. the Mets this year. He's opposed by Zack Wheeler (10-9, 3.38), who is 1-2 with a 4.34 ERA this year against Washington. Denard Span hits .444 off him.
Key trends: The Nats are 11-2 in their past 13 on Saturday. The Mets are 1-4 in Wheeler's past five at home vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 4-1-1 in Wheeler's past six against Washington.
Early lean: Washington is great value at +130 on the runline as the Mets clearly can't hit Fister.
A's at Mariners (-156, 6)
It's looking more and more like very solid Oakland catcher John Jaso won't be playing again this season. Jaso (.264, 9 HRs, 40 RBIs) has been out since Aug. 23 with a concussion and just had a setback after setting a specialist. It's really amazing how well things were going for the A's for so long and then it just totally flipped. The A's batters have their work cut out Saturday night against Seattle's Felix Hernandez, who is in a dogfight with the White Sox's Chris Sale for the AL ERA title. Hernandez (14-5, 2.12) is 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA in five starts this year against Oakland. Struggling Sonny Gray (13-8, 3.22) gets the call for the A's. The team has lost seven of his past eight. He is 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA in four starts vs. Seattle.
Key trends: The A's are 0-4 in Gray's past four on the road. The Mariners are 9-3 in Hernandez's past 12 vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 6-0-1 in Hernandez's past seven vs. the AL West.
Early lean: To no surprise, the lowest total on the board. Still take under at -125.
Dodgers at Giants (-102, 6.5)
Los Angeles seems to have turned Zach Greinke (14-8, 2.73) around as he was scuffling there for a little bit, but the Dodgers have been giving him extra rest ahead of each of his past four outings. He has allowed more than two earned runs just once in that stretch. Greinke has owned the Giants in 2014, going 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA. The Giants have lost the past two starts by Tim Hudson (9-10, 3.12). His only start this year against the Dodgers was on May 11 when he allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings. Adrian Gonzalez is a career .435 hitter off him with two homers and five RBIs. So he could take Stanton's NL RBI lead in this game.
Key trends: L.A. is 2-8 in Greinke's past 10 on the road. The Giants have won nine straight against right-handers. The under is 5-1 in Greinke's past six on the road.
Early lean: Take a Gonzalez hitting prop, but I like the Giants as a slight dog.
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