Five to Follow MLB Betting: Tuesday September 2, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 9/1/2014
I said that it was possible for either the Angels or A's to sweep their four-game series over the weekend and take total control of the AL West race. I just didn't think either team would sweep. Proves what I know. The Angels indeed did and now have a five-game lead in the division -- big enough that Sportsbook.ag has taken down AL West futures. Alas, I could see the Halos know getting caught in a trap series -- yes, there are trap series -- to start this week in Houston. Here's look at that matchup and four others on Tuesday's schedule.
Angels at Astros (+180, 9)
If the Angels can keep their focus they could put the AL West to rest. Twelve of the Angels' next 13 games are against the Astros, Twins and Rangers, while the A's will have two series against the Mariners. Left-hander C.J. Wilson will try to keep the Angels from falling into a rut on Tuesday. Wilson (10-8, 4.46) has allowed three runs or fewer in four straight starts, three of which the Angels have won. However, Wilson has a 7.50 ERA in three starts this year against Houston. Chris Carter is 8-for-22 with two doubles and two homers off him in his career. He might be the August AL Player of the Month. Right-hander Brad Peacock (3-8, 5.13) has pitched eight innings against the Angels this season, allowing seven runs and 11 hits. Mike Trout is 3-for-8 off him with a double and triple. This will be Houston's first game without Manager Bo Porter, who was fired on Monday.
Key trends: The Angels are 1-8 in Wilson's past nine road starts. Houston is 0-4 in Peacock's past four at home. The "over/under" has gone under in nine of the Angels' past 10 vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: A manager firing often gets a team's attention. Houston is good underdog value here.
Mariners at A's (-147, 7)
Oakland finished August at 12-17, the team's first losing month since May 2012. Everyone points to the Yoenis Cespedes/Jon Lester trade as why the A's aren't scoring much, but it's like the whole team suddenly went into a slump at the plate. The A's didn't score for 29 straight innings in one stretch vs. L.A. I'm quite sure the trade for the White Sox's Adam Dunn won't fix that. Manager Bob Melvin said "They should be embarrassed" after the Angels series. Now the A's are potentially staring at the one-game wild-card playoff where you might have to face someone like the Tigers' Max Scherzer or Mariners' Felix Hernandez. Oakland has to face someone with a better ERA than either of those guys Tuesday in lefty James Paxton (4-1, 1.83). In his brief career, Paxton has a 1.71 ERA , the lowest of any big-league pitcher in his first 11 starts since 1990. He has never faced Oakland. Sonny Gray (13-7, 3.03) gets the call for Oakland. He is 1-3 with a 5.06 ERA in his past five starts. Gray is 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA against Seattle this year.
Key trends: Seattle has won five straight on Tuesdays. The A's are 4-1 in Gray's past five at home against teams with a winning record. Oakland is 4-0 in Gray's past four vs. Seattle.
Early lean: Under at -120.
Brewers at Cubs (+105, TBA)
Milwaukee thinks that outfielder Carlos Gomez will be back in the lineup Tuesday after he didn't start Monday's game at Wrigley Field due to a minor left wrist injury. He's hitting .282 with 21 home runs and 65 RBIs on the year. Gomez is 2-for-7 with a home run in his career off Tuesday Cubs starter Jake Arrieta (7-5, 2.88). He was lit up last time out by the Reds for six runs in four innings. He last faced Milwaukee on Aug. 11, also at Wrigley, allowing two runs and five hits over 7.1 innings. Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo (8-7, 3.26) threw six shutout innings against the Padres in his last start. He also pitched on Aug. 11 vs. Arrieta, allowing a run over seven innings. Gallardo is 9-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 18 career starts against the Cubs.
Key trends: Milwaukee is 0-5 in Gallardo's past five on Tuesday. The Cubs have won six straight on Tuesday. The Brewers are 5-0 in Gallardo's past five in Chicago.
Early lean: Arrieta hasn't had back-to-back lousy starts all year, so take the Cubs.
Red Sox at Yankees (-145, 8.5)
Don't look for Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia to play at least until this weekend as he's dealing with a concussion suffered on Saturday when he took a forearm to the head. Brock Holt likely will start all week at second. Pedroia is hitting .280 with seven home runs and 51 RBIs. The Sox start Joe Kelly (2-3, 4.14), who has never faced the Yankees. He may or may not have to face Jacoby Ellsbury. He was scheduled for an MRI on Monday. Ellsbury was only able to pinch-hit on Sunday due to an ankle problem. Shane Greene (4-1, 3.09) takes the mound for New York, and it has won his past five starts. His worst in that stretch was Aug. 2 at Boston when Greene allowed three runs over 4.2 innings. Mike Napoli hit a two-run dinger off him.
Key trends: The Sox are 5-2 in their past seven series openers. New York has lost four straight after an off day. The under is 6-2 in the past eight meetings at Yankee Stadium.
Early lean: Boston had to play Monday night in St. Petersburg and then travel out, while the Yanks were off. That plus no Pedroia is enough for me to lean New York.
Giants at Rockies (+138, 10)
Well, I certainly don't pretend to get every single game right, and I was way off last week on the Giants when reliever Yusmeiro Petit (4-3, 3.44) got a spot start He held the Rockies to a run on four hits over six innings. During that outing Petit set a big-league record by retiring his 46th straight batter after putting down the first eight hitters in a row. Mark Buehrle held the previous mark with 45 straight in 2009 with the White Sox. That stat somewhat surprises me. Petit has pitched 15.1 innings against the Rockies overall this year and allowed three runs. Colorado's Jordan Lyles (6-2, 4.08) was opposite Petit in his last start and allowed three runs over six innings. Gregor Blanco hit a two-run homer off him.
Key trends: The Giants are 6-1 in Petit's past seven on the road. Colorado has lost six straight Tuesday games. The under has hit in 10 of the past 12 meetings in Colorado.
Early lean: Petit has won me over, and the Giants are rolling.
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