Five to Follow MLB Betting: Wednesday August 27, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 8/26/2014
You really shouldn't have been backing the wretched Texas Rangers regardless, but now don't even think about it the rest of the season. Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is being shut down for the season, and while he's been a disappointment, he's still was one of the team's best healthy players left. In addition, ace Yu Darvish also likely will be shelved. I'd be somewhat surprised if Texas wins a single series from here on out. I do think the Rangers will be back in 2015, however. Here's a look at five interesting games on Wednesday's schedule.
Cardinals at Pirates (+108, 7.5)
This is a getaway day game, so you could see a few starters take a seat, although both St. Louis and Pittsburgh are off Thursday. I know Andrew McCutchen is still less than 100 percent, but the Pirates can't really afford to bench him. Normally you favor a low-scoring game in one of these scenarios regardless, and that certainly looks to be the case with the pitching matchup. Ace Adam Wainwright (15-8, 2.52) goes for the Cards. He actually has been a bit off with a 5.29 ERA this month, although that's somewhat stilted because of a seven-run outing Aug. 1 vs. Milwaukee. Wainwright has dominated Pittsburgh this season with a 0.82 ERA in three starts, although he's only 1-1. McCutchen is a career .333 hitter with a homer and five doubles in 38 at-bats off him. Neil Walker hits .308 with a homer and seven RBIs. Pittsburgh lefty Jeff Locke (5-3, 3.69) hasn't lost in his past four starts. Locke hasn't faced St. Louis in 2014. Matt Holliday is 4-for-8 career off him with three RBIs.
Key trends: St. Louis is 5-1 in Wainwright's past six vs. teams with a winning record. The Pirates are 6-0 in Locke's past six at home. St. Louis is 6-1 in Wainwright's past seven vs. Pittsburgh.
Early lean: I would have gone "under" 6.5, so most certainly will at 7.5.
Cubs at Reds (TBA)
It's actually starting to get exciting to be a Cubs backer, and you really couldn't say that for a few years. Top prospect Javier Baez has been up for a few weeks, and while he strikes out too much he has shown tape measure power. Now another of the Cubs' "Core Four" will debut on Wednesday in outfielder Jorge Soler. He hit .338 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs over 61 games in three levels of the minors this year. His only problem has been staying healthy. Soler will face off first against Reds right-hander Mat Latos (4-3, 2.99). The Reds have lost his past three although he has avoided a decision in them. He beat the Cubs on June 25, allowing a run over seven innings. Anthony Rizzo is just 2-for-15 off him. Jacob Turner (4-7, 5.77), a reclamation project whom the Cubs picked up from the Marlins, makes his first start with Chicago. He was formerly a top prospect for Detroit (traded to Marlins in Anibal Sanchez deal). Turner's last game with Miami he allowed five runs and nine hits in four innings against the Reds.
Key trends: The Cubs are 1-5 in their past six Wednesday games. The Reds are 3-9 in their past 12 against right-handers.
Early lean: This is TBA because Turner hasn't officially been announced, but he's going. The Reds figure to open around -170 with a total of 8. Latos seems to always handle the Cubs, so take Cincy on the runline.
Rays at Orioles (-120, 8)
Tampa Bay got skewered nationally for getting so little in trade for ace David Price, but if we have learned anything the past several years it has been to trust the Rays front office. Arguably the biggest piece they got back was young Tigers lefty pitcher Drew Smyly. He has been excellent in four starts with the Rays, posting a 1.55 ERA. Last time out he threw a complete-game two-hitter in Toronto. Smyly has pitched twice against the Orioles in 2014, once in relief, and has a 1-0 record and 1.00 ERA in nine innings. Adam Jones is 2-for-6 with a solo homer off him. Kevin Gausman (7-5, 3.81) is 2-2 with a 4.09 ERA for the O's this month. He is 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA in two starts against Tampa Bay this season. Ben Zobrist is 5-for-9 with two doubles and two RBIs off him.
Key trends: The Orioles are 5-1 in their past six against lefties. They are 5-1 in Gausman's past six against the AL East. The under is 8-1 in Baltimore's past nine in Game 3 of a series.
Early lean: Under at -110.
Marlins at Angels (-144, 8)
Do you realize how historically good that Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton has been at such a young age? On Monday night he hit career homer No. 150, becoming just the 12th player in history with at least that many in his age-24 season. No. 1 is Eddie Mathews, who had 190 dingers. Stanton obviously won't reach that number this year, but he could catch No. 8 Albert Pujols, who had 150 through his age-24 season. I could definitely see Stanton going yard on Wednesday off Halos lefty Hector Santiago (3-7, 3.38). He has allowed 10 homers in 101.1 innings. The Angels have lost his past four outings, but Santiago has pitched well. Henderson Alvarez (10-5, 2.57) goes for Miami. The Fish have won his past four starts, but his road ERA is nearly 2.5 points higher (3.82) than at home. Only a few Angels have faced him. Mike Trout is 0-for-7 with three strikeouts.
Key trends: Miami is 6-1 in its past seven road games vs. lefties. They are 7-1 in Alvarez's past eight on the road despite his much higher ERA there. L.A. is 1-6 in Santiago's past seven Game 3s of a series. The under is 9-1-1 in Miami's past 11 interleague games vs. left-handed starters.
Early lean: This is a trap game in some ways as L.A. has a huge series starting Thursday with Oakland. I'd take a flier on Miami.
A's at Astros (+140, 8.5)
The A's and Angels open another huge series Thursday night in Anaheim, so Oakland wants to have its top four starters of Sonny Gray, Jon Lester, Scott Kazmir and Jeff Samardzija available for that series. Thus, it will give lefty Drew Pomeranz (5-4, 2.91) a spot start in Wednesday's series finale in Houston. He hasn't pitched in the majors since mid-June. He threw two innings of scoreless relief vs. the Astros earlier this year. Houston goes with Brad Peacock (3-8, 5.30). His last win was July 8. The A's have crushed him this year as Peacock is 0-2 with a 7.90 ERA in two starts. Josh Donaldson and Coco Crisp both hit better than three .300 off him with a homer apiece.
Key trends: Oakland is 1-6 in his past seven Game 3s of a series. Houston is 1-4 in Peacock's past five at home. Houston is 1-5 in Peacock's past six vs. Oakland.
Early lean: Over at -110. Both starters are capable of giving up eight runs themselves. Houston might be a good play with the A's also looking ahead to the Angels series.
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