Five to Follow MLB Betting: Thursday September 25, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 9/24/2014
So Thursday is the big night: The last game for the Captain, Derek Jeter, at Yankee Stadium. It's certainly the toughest ticket in baseball this year, maybe all of sports other than the Super Bowl and World Cup final. I'm not a huge Jeter guy, but he has been incredibly clutch and a great role model. No scandals for him. Plus, how can you not admire a guy who gives gift bags to his, um, lady friends after they leave his place? Most would agree he is one of the five best Yankees in history along with Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle. Here's a look at the Yankees' game and four other interesting matchups on Thursday.
Orioles at Yankees (-144, 8)
Presuming Wednesday's game isn't rained out -- Jeter will play every game the rest of the way, according to Joe Girardi -- this will be Jeter's 2,745th game, which is by far a Yankee record. Mantle is No. 2 with 2,401. It would be classic if Jeter homered in his final at-bat, and I'm sure the various books will have Jeter final at-bat props, among other props for No. 2. Jeter's first few at-bats will come against Orioles rookie Kevin Gausman (7-7, 3.57). Baltimore's only win in his past six starts was Sept. 12 at Camden Yards against the Yankees when he blanked them on seven hits over seven innings. Jeter is 1-for-3 with a strikeout in his career off him. The Yankees, who could be eliminated from the playoffs on Wednesday, start Hiroki Kuroda (11-9, 3.77). Could well be his final start in a Yankee uniform considering Kuroda will be 40 in February, although he clearly remains effective. He is 1-0 with a 2.39 ERA in four starts this year against the O's.
Key trends: The Orioles are 5-1 in Gausman's past six vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" has gone under in nine of Gausman's past 11 vs. the AL East. The under is 10-2 in Kuroda's past 12 at home vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 10-0-1 in his past 11 vs. Baltimore.
Early lean: The Orioles have squat to play for, and the Yankees will want to send Jeter out at home a winner. Love the Yankees here. Maybe even take them at +155 on the runline.
Twins at Tigers (-313, 7.5)
This almost surely will be the final regular-season start in a Tigers uniform for Max Scherzer as he already turned down $144 million from the team. It's a big one, too, as Detroit looks to hold off Kansas City for the AL Central title. Scherzer (17-5, 3.19) hasn't quite been as good as last year's Cy Young season, but he's going to get more than that $144 million from the Yankees or Cubs or Rangers or Red Sox or someone. The Twins have had his number a bit this year as while Scherzer is 2-0 against them, he has an ERA of 5.00 that's one of his highest against any team. Minnesota's Trevor May (3-5, 8.39) was smashed for seven runs in 4.2 innings last time out against Cleveland. His one start against the Tigers didn't go well as May allowed five runs and 11 hits in a loss Aug. 23.
Key trends: The Twins are 1-5 in May's past six against teams with a winning record. The over is 7-1 in his past eight. Detroit is 11-1 in Scherzer's past 12 vs. Minnesota.
Early lean: I think this is the biggest favorite I have seen all year. That's a ridiculous price, so go Tigers on the runline.
Rays at Red Sox (-104, 8.5)
Tampa Bay will likely shut down shortstop Yunel Escobar the rest of the way. He sprained his knee in Tuesday's game, and obviously there's no point in trying to rush him back. Escobar is hitting .258 with seven homers and 39 RBIs. The Rays, whom I think will be very good next season even without David Price, start Jeremy Hellickson (1-4, 3.96). Since getting his lone win Aug. 6 at Oakland, the Rays have dropped his past eight starts. He has pitched 4.2 innings this year against Boston and didn't allow an earned run. David Ortiz is a career .385 hitter with three homers off Hellickson. Boston has won three straight starts by Allen Webster (4-3, 5.54). The Sox's last loss in one of his outings was Aug. 30 at Tampa Bay when he allowed six runs in 4.0 innings.
Key trends: Tampa is 2-6 in Hellickson's past eight on the road against teams with a losing record. The over has hit in his past six overall. However, the under is 5-0 in his past five against Boston.
Early lean: Under at -125.
Mets at Nationals (-176, 7)
Washington could clinch the top seed in the National League potentially on Thursday against New York. The Nationals have won three straight starts by Doug Fister (15-6, 2.55). He hasn't allowed more than two earned in any of those. He has totally dominated the Mets this year, going 3-0 with a 0.89 ERA. One guy he won't have to worry about is New York center fielder Juan Lagares (.281, 47 RBIs, 13 steals), who is done for the final few games. Zack Wheeler (11-10, 3.49) will face the Nationals for the fifth time this season. He is 1-3 with a 5.96 ERA against them. Ryan Zimmerman is a .385 hitter off him with two solo homers. Denard Span is 8-for-20 against Wheeler and should return after sitting Wednesday. He scraped up his knees in Tuesday's game.
Key trends: Washington is 8-2 in Fister's past 10 at home. The over is 4-1 in his past five against teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Under at -120.
Padres at Giants (-139, 6.5)
San Francisco will be without its second-leading hitter, outfielder Angel Pagan, for the rest of the season and the playoffs, and that's a big loss as the Giants' record is much better with him in the lineup than not. Alas, he has been hurt a lot of the season. The team's leadoff hitter will undergo back surgery to fix a bulging disc. Pagan hit .300 in 96 games and will be replaced by Gregor Blanco in the lineup. The Giants start Yusmeiro Petit in Thursday's series opener. Petit (5-5, 3.63) has lost back-to-back starts. He is 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA in four appearances this season against the Padres. San Diego's Andrew Cashner (5-7, 2.21) has won three straight starts, not allowing more than two runs in any of them. That includes last time out when he gave up two runs and four hits to the Giants, beating Petit. Buster Posey hits .467 with two homers off him.
Key trends: San Diego is 2-5 in Cashner's past five on the road. The Giants have won six straight at home against teams below .500. The under is 8-1 in Cashner's past nine series openers.
Early lean: This feels like a letdown game for San Francisco after finishing a huge series on Wednesday at the Dodgers. Cashner is good underdog value.
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