Five to Follow MLB Betting: Tuesday August 26, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 8/25/2014
The Boston Red Sox clearly have given up at this point as they were just swept at home by the Seattle Mariners and have now lost eight straight games. And you know what? Management probably hopes the team continues to lose. It means a better draft pick and more slot money to sign those draft picks. Plus, if you finish with one of the 10 worst records in the league you don't have to cough up your first-round pick if you sign a top-tier free agent. Keep an eye on that moving forward with those teams around that bubble number. It behooves them to lose. Here's a look at five interesting games on Tuesday.
Red Sox at Blue Jays (-135, 8.5)
Boston won't have shortstop Xander Bogaerts at least the rest of this week as he was put on the seven-day concussion list Sunday. He was hit in the noggin by a Felix Hernandez pitch on Friday and hadn't played since. Yeah, I'm guessing I'd be concussed if King Felix drilled me in the head as well. David Ortiz (.265, 30 HRs, 93 RBIs) might take a game or two off as well. He left Sunday's game with a bruised left foot and was plunked on the elbow with a pitch Saturday. This is one of those series that the Blue Jays need to sweep if they are legitimate AL East or wild-card contenders. They are going the wrong direction, however, entering this week losing 14 of 20. R.A. Dickey gets the call for Toronto. Dickey (10-12, 4.08) is 3-0 with a 2.79 ERA against Boston this season. Ortiz will want to be in there if he can be as he hits .333 with two homers and six RBIs in 18 at-bats off the knuckleballer. It's Rubby De La Rosa (4-5, 3.69) for Boston. He's 0-2 with a 8.10 ERA vs. Toronto.
Key trends: Boston is 1-5 in De La Rosa's past six road starts vs. teams with a winning record. It is 1-7 in its past eight Tuesday games. Toronto has won five straight Dickey starts on Tuesday. The "over" is 5-1 in Dickey's past six.
Early lean: Take the Jays at +155 on the runline.
A's at Astros (+110, 8)
The A's had quite the busy weekend. They lost star closer Sean Doolittle to the disabled list with an intercostal strain, and he might miss three weeks. Eric O'Flaherty (1.35 ERA) will serve as the temporary closer. Catcher John Jaso (.264, nine HRs, 40 RBIs) went on seven-day concussion list, and the club acquired catcher Geovany Soto from Texas. Finally, Oakland claimed Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar off waivers, but it's not expected that the two teams will agree to a trade before Tuesday's deadline. The Rays aren't just going to let him go. Current A's shortstop Jed Lowrie is in the DL with a fractured right finger. Jason Hammel (9-10, 3.84) takes the mound Tuesday for Oakland. He hasn't been very good since coming over from the Cubs. His last start was skipped following a three-inning outing in a loss at Atlanta. The Astros pummeled him for eight runs over 4.1 innings on July 30. Houston starts lefty Dallas Keuchel (10-9, 3.12). He is 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA in two starts against Oakland.
Key trends: The A's have lost five straight against left-handers. Houston is 2-8 in Keuchel's past 10 Game 2 starts of a series. The under is 4-0 in his past four overall.
Early lean: I trust Keuchel way more than Hammel right now. Astros are good home dog value.
Indians at White Sox (-119, 8.5)
If I asked you to list the five best offensive catchers in baseball would you even consider Cleveland's Yan Gomes? You should. Gomes is batting .284 with 17 homers and 53 RBIs. Alas, the Tribe won't have him for a bit as he was placed on the seven-day concussion list on Saturday. The Indians are hanging around the fringes of the AL Central and wild-card races, so they need Gomes back ASAP. That's one less worry for White Sox lefty Jose Quintana (6-10, 3.25) on Tuesday as he looks to end Chicago's six-game skid. He is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts this season vs. Cleveland. Michael Brantley is a career .467 hitter off Quintana with a homer and four knocked in. Fellow southpaw T.J. House (2-3, 3.80) goes for the Indians. He has faced the Sox once, allowing a run over 6.1 innings back in late May.
Key trends: Cleveland is 5-1 in House's past six against teams with a losing record. Chicago is 0-6 in Quintana's past six home starts against teams with a winning record. The under is 7-1 in the past eight meetings.
Early lean: Sox end their skid.
Rays at Orioles (-105, 8)
Baltimore probably has enough of a cushion in the AL East that it won't matter in that regard, but I don't like the O's to win any playoff series now that Manny Machado (.278, 12 HRs, 32 RBIs) is done for the season. He is without peer defensively. It's the second straight season he has had his season end because of a torn ligament in his knee. Last year the left, this year the right. Now you have to question whether this guy can stay healthy. He should be good for spring training. The O's might try out Chris Davis at third if they don't make a waiver trade. Wei-Yin Chen (13-4, 3.76) starts this one for the Birds. He was hit hard on June 28 by the Rays, allowing five runs and three homers over 3.1 innings. Ben Zobrist is 11-for-30 with a homer off him. Alex Cobb (9-6) outdueled David Price in his last start for the Rays, blanking the Tigers over seven innings. He allowed three earned over five innings on June 29 vs. the Orioles.
Key trends: The Rays are 5-2 in Cobb's past seven on the road. The Orioles are 5-1 in Chen's past six at home. The under is 6-0 in Cobb's past six and 5-0 in Chen's past five.
Early lean: Favorite total pick of the day: under at -115.
Cubs at Reds (-210, 7)
Chicago, coming off a sweep of Baltimore, will get back All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro from the bereavement list Tuesday. He's hitting .284 with 13 dingers and 64 RBIs on the year. Castro is 7-for-33 with two extra-base hits in his career off Reds starter Johnny Cueto (15-7, 2.20). He beat the Cubs on July 8, allowing two runs over 6.1 innings. Cueto had won five straight starts before losing in St. Louis last time out, allowing five runs over five innings, one of his worst starts of the year. Cubs left-hander Travis Wood (7-11, 4.91) hasn't won since June 15. He pitched in Cincinnati on July 8 and took the loss, allowing four runs over 5.1 innings. Todd Frazier is a .300 hitter off him with two homers and six RBIs.
Key trends: The Cubs have won five straight Tuesday games. They are 6-1 in their past seven against right-handed starters. The Reds are a puzzling 1-10 in their past 11 series openers. The under is 5-0 in Wood's past five vs. Cincinnati. The Reds are 6-1 in Cueto's past seven vs. the Cubs.
Early lean: Cueto won't have back-to-back bad starts. Reds at -110 on the runline.
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