Five to Follow MLB Betting: Tuesday September 16, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 9/15/2014
It's that time of year where we have to start looking at magic numbers, and as many as three teams could clinch playoff berths this week with the Angels on the verge of clinching the AL West, the Orioles the same in the AL East and the Nationals in the NL East. How interesting would an Orioles-Nationals World Series be considering those two are still battling it out in court over a dispute about rights fees from the MASN TV network. Nats-Orioles is priced at +1000 as an exact World Series matchup at Sportsbook.ag. Here's a look at five interesting matchups on Tuesday.
Red Sox at Pirates (-165, 7.5)
Keep an eye here on whether Boston will have David Ortiz, although he might have sat regardless because the Red Sox won't have the designated hitter in this interleague matchup. Ortiz left the team Sunday to deal with a family emergency in the Dominican Republic. The Sox start Anthony Ranaudo (3-2, 5.40) in the series opener. Boston has lost his last two. He was hit around for four runs and six hits (three homers) in just 3.1 innings by Baltimore last time out. No Pirates have ever faced him. Pittsburgh will activate Charlie Morton off the disabled list as he's been out a month with a sports hernia. Pittsburgh lost his final five starts before landing on the DL. Only a few Red Sox have faced him. Allen Craig is 11-for-24 with two doubles and three RBIs.
Key trends: Boston is 5-1 in its past six after an off day. The Pirates have lost Morton's past five series openers. The "over/under" has gone over in Pittsburgh's past six interleague home starts vs. right-handers.
Early lean: I'm just about positive Big Papi doesn't play. Take the Bucs.
Blue Jays at Orioles (-115, 8.5)
Baltimore could clinch its first American League East title since 1997 on Tuesday depending on Monday's result as the Orioles' magic number is three over second-place Toronto. Struggling Ubaldo Jimenez (4-9, 4.96) will come in from the bullpen to start this one. His last start didn't go well as he was tagged for six runs in 4.1 innings at Cleveland. He is 0-2 with a 5.56 ERA in two starts vs. the Jays. Jose Bautista can't seem to solve Jimenez as he's just 2-for-24 off him. Drew Hutchison goes for Toronto, which might need to win out to have any shot at a wild-card spot. Hutchison (10-11, 4.36) has been great against the Birds this season, going 2-0 with a 0.98 ERA in four starts. Adam Jones is just 3-for-18 off him.
Key trends: The Jays are 4-0 in Hutchison's past four on Tuesday. Baltimore is 1-4 in Jimenez's past five vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 6-0 in Hutchison's past six on the road.
Early lean: Jimenez shouldn't be favored, home or not. Take Toronto.
Brewers at Cardinals (-148, 7.5)
St. Louis first baseman Matt Adams is iffy for Tuesday's series opener with the Brew Crew. He sat out Friday and then again Sunday with a lingering oblique injury. Adams is hitting .288 with 15 homers and 64 RBIs. He might have gotten Tuesday off regardless because Adams is only 2-for-14 career off Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta (16-10, 3.75). Peralta ended a three-start losing streak last time out, allowing a run over 6.2 innings vs. Miami. He is 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA this season against the Cards. Lance Lynn (15-9, 2.73) gets the call for St. Louis. He has allowed just one earned run in each of his past two starts. That includes Sept. 6 in Milwaukee. Gerardo Parra hits him well, going 7-for-14 with two doubles, two triples and a homer.
Key trends: The Brewers are 0-7 in their past seven on the road against righties. The Cards are 5-1 in Lynn's past six vs. teams with a winning record. Each team is 4-1 in its starting pitcher's past five vs. the opponent.
Early lean: Adams or no Adams, take the Cards.
Dodgers at Rockies (+128, 10)
Colorado is hoping to have first baseman Justin Morneau in the lineup Tuesday. He left Friday night's game against the Cardinals because of pain in his left lat area, and he didn't play Saturday or Sunday. Morneau is second in the National League with a .315 average. Third baseman Nolan Arenado left Sunday's game with a contusion on the right side of his chest, so he's questionable. He is batting .287 with 18 home runs and 61 RBIs this season. So it could be a depleted lineup that the Dodgers' Dan Haren will have to face. Haren (13-10, 3.99) has really been great of late, allowing just two runs in his past 26 innings over four starts. His only start vs. Colorado was July 5 at Coors Field, and he allowed eight runs in 5.1 innings. Lefty Tyler Matzek (5-10, 4.23) goes for the Rockies. He has had five straight quality starts. Matzek lost at Dodger Stadium on June 16, giving up three runs and 10 hits in five innings.
Key trends: L.A. is 1-5 in Haren's past six road starts vs. teams with a losing record. Colorado is 2-7 in Matzek's past nine vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-0 in Haren's past five on road.
Early lean: This total seems too high even at Coors Field with how good both pitchers have been of late. Under at -105.
Rangers at A's (-235, 7.5)
Oakland is by far the biggest favorite on the board Tuesday. This starts Oakland's final homestand of the year, a nine-gamer. Left-hander Scott Kazmir gets the call for the A's. Kazmir (14-8, 3.32) was outstanding last time out, giving up just a run and four hits to the White Sox but was a tough luck loser vs. Chris Sale. Kazmir is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts vs. Texas. Elvis Andrus is a career .346 hitter off him. Nick Tepesch (4-10, 4.47) is on the bump for the Rangers. Tepesch is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA in his last six starts. He is 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts vs. Oakland this season.
Key trends: Texas is 1-7 in Tepesch's past eight against teams with a winning record. The A's are 1-9 in their past 10 after allowing two runs or fewer in their previous game. The over is 5-2 in the past seven meetings in Oakland.
Early lean: Oakland at -115 on the runline.
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