Five to Follow MLB Betting: Tuesday September 23, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 9/22/2014
Could we actually not have a 40-homer guy in the majors this season (ahem, because cracking down on steroids and other drugs)? It's possible. Nelson Cruz is likely the only guy with a chance as he's sitting on 39. Houston's Chris Carter is two behind him, so he would need a big week to win the home-run crown. Miami's Giancarlo Stanton also has 37 and will win the NL crown, but he's done for the season. Here's a look at five interesting matchups on the schedule for Tuesday.
White Sox at Tigers (-260, 8)
Detroit is by far the biggest favorite on the board. The Tigers still have everything to play for -- the AL Central title -- while the White Sox are playing out the string. It's left-hander David Price (14-12, 3.37) for Detroit. He has been rather inconsistent with the Tigers, who have yet to win back-to-back starts by Price. He allowed five runs and eight hits in 5.2 innings last time out in a loss to Minnesota. Price was roughed up in a start at Chicago while with the Rays back on April 27. He gave up eight runs and nine hits in six innings. Paul Konerko, who will retire when the season ends, hits .435 career off Price with two homers and seven RBIs. Scott Carroll (5-10, 5.01) takes the mound for the Pale Hose. He lost at home to the Tigers three starts ago, giving up 10 hits and seven runs in five innings.
Key trends: The Sox are 1-6 in Carroll's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. Detroit is 8-0 in its past eight at home (entering Monday) against teams with a losing road record. The "over/under" has gone under in six of Carroll's past seven on the road. The over is 5-0 in Price's past five.
Early lean: Tigers on the runline and over at +100.
Mariners at Blue Jays (+161, 7)
This could be the final start of the season for Seattle ace Felix Hernandez and his final chance to sway Cy Young voters. King Felix is lined up to start again Sunday. However, if perhaps the Mariners have a wild-card spot locked up by then they obviously would save Hernandez for the playoff game. Hernandez (14-5, 2.07) beat Toronto back on Aug. 11, allowing just a run and three hits while striking out eight over seven innings. Colby Rasmus has Hernandez's number, going 7-for-10 with two walks. Thus, he might get a spot start. R.A. Dickey (13-12, 3.82) goes for Toronto, which could be eliminated from playoff contention in this one. He lost to Seattle on Aug. 13, giving up two runs over six innings and walking four. Kendrys Morales is 5-for-15 with a homer and three RBIs vs. Dickey.
Key trends: The Mariners are 6-1 in Hernandez's past seven on the road against teams with a winning record. Toronto is 2-5 in Dickey's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 8-1 in Hernandez's past nine on the road. The over is 4-0 in Dickey's past four at home.
Early lean: Mariners at -110 on the runline and under.
Phillies at Marlins (+108, 6.5)
The Phillies have to be kicking themselves for not trading outfielder Domonic Brown when his value was at its peak. That would have been after last season when he set career highs with a .272 average, 27 homers and 83 RBIs. That was clearly a fluke as he's hitting just .236 with 10 dingers this year. Brown should be in the starting lineup Tuesday. He injured his right wrist while making a diving catch on Thursday in San Diego and hasn't played since. Brown will face off against Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez (11-6, 2.82). He is 1-0 with a 1.87 ERA in five starts this year against the Phils. Brown hits him well, going 6-for-17 with two RBIs. Lefty Cole Hamels (9-7, 2.47) goes for Philadelphia. He is 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA in four starts against Miami. Marcell Ozuna has three homers in 21 at-bats off Hamels, but Ozuna has been shut down the rest of the way with an ankle injury.
Key trends: The Phillies are 6-1 in Hamels' past seven. Miami has lost six straight vs. lefties. The Marlins are 11-1 in Alvarez's past 12 at home. The under is 7-0-1 in Hamels' past eight at Miami.
Early lean: Under at -110.
Pirates at Braves (-104, 6.5)
Don't expect to see Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward in the lineup, and he could be done for the year. He hasn't played since Wednesday with a swollen thumb that doesn't even allow him to properly grip a bat. Heyward has been a bit of a disappointment this year, hitting .272 with 11 homers and 58 RBIs. The shakeup already has started in Atlanta after another late-season flop. GM Frank Wren was ousted, but Manager Fredi Gonzalez appears safe for some reason. Left-hander Alex Wood (11-10, 2.78) gets the call here. He hasn't allowed more than two earned in any of his past four starts. Wood took a no-decision on Aug. 20 in Pittsburgh, allowing two runs and four hits over seven innings. Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole (10-5, 3.85) has won three straight starts. He got a no-decision Aug. 20 vs. Atlanta, giving up two runs over seven.
Key trends: Pittsburgh is 6-1 in its past seven vs. lefties. The Pirates are 5-1 in Cole's past six on the road vs. teams with a losing record. Atlanta is 5-1 in Wood's past six at home vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Big fan of Wood's but Braves have face planted. Take Pittsburgh.
Giants at Dodgers (-127, 6)
Strong pitching matchup for this ESPN nightcap game that will feature live betting at Bovada. This has the lowest total on the board, and you might even see it drop to 5.5. Lefty Madison Bumgarner goes for the Giants, who could potentially clinch a playoff berth. It's pretty much a formality that San Francisco will be one of the wild cards. Bumgarner (18-9, 2.91) hasn't lost since Aug. 8. I would presume he would be the choice to start that wild-card game, so I'm guessing this may be his last start of the regular season. He is 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers. Yasiel Puig is 6-for-20 with two solo homers off him. The Dodgers' Zack Greinke (15-8, 2.76) hasn't lost since Aug. 9. He is 4-0 with a 1.38 ERA vs. the Giants. Hunter Pence has two homers off him in 21 at-bats.
Key trends: The Giants are 6-1 in Bumgarner's past seven on road. The Dodgers have won six straight Tuesday starts by Greinke. The Dodgers are 5-0 in Greinke's past five vs. San Francisco. The Giants are 5-1 in Bumgarner's past six in L.A.
Early lean: Go under before it drops to 5.5.
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