Five to Follow MLB Betting: Wednesday September 3, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 9/2/2014
Was Monday's combined no-hitter by the Phillies the last no-no we will see this season? It was only the fourth of 2014. Don't know about you, but they don't overly excite me any longer. All four have come in the National League -- in fact, the last AL no-hitter was Aug. 15, 2012, by Seattle's Felix Hernandez. Cincinnati's Homer Bailey and San Francisco's Tim Lincecum each have two since then. Just shows how random they are. Here's a look at five interesting matchups on Wednesday.
Phillies at Braves (-173, 7.5)
Definitely the potential for a few starters on each side to sit this one out as it's a 12:10 Eastern start after the teams played Tuesday night. Plus, it gets a bit hot and sticky in Atlanta that time of day. The Phillies start David Buchanan (6-7, 4.03), who has become a pretty effective pitcher after a bit of a rough start. Unfortunately, he hasn't gotten much run support and the Phils have lost his past four. Buchanan lost to Atlanta on June 29, giving up three runs over five innings and walking five. Ervin Santana (13-7, 3.53) is 3-1 with a 3.26 ERA over his past five starts. He has faced the Phillies four times and is 2-1 with a 3.28 ERA. Ryan Howard is 4-for-12 with two homers and six RBIs career off him.
Key trends: The Phillies are 2-5 in Buchanan's past seven on the road. Atlanta is 7-0 in Santana's past seven at home. The "over/under" has gone over in just one of Santana's past six at home vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Tough conditions for the hitters. Go under at -120.
Mariners at A's (-118, 6.5)
It's very possible that Seattle and Oakland face off in a one-game wild-card playoff, and if that's the case and the teams can set their rotations as they want, it would no doubt be Felix Hernandez against Jon Lester, and they match up Wednesday. Bovada released updated Cy Young odds, and King Felix is the heavy -300 favorite to win his second. Hernandez (13-5, 2.23) had easily his worst start of the season last time out, allowing five runs and 10 hits (career-high four homers) in a loss to Washington. Hernandez is 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA in four starts against the A's in 2014. Lester (13-9, 2.55) suffered his second loss in six starts with the A's in his last start, allowing two earned over six innings at the Angels. He hasn't faced Seattle this year.
Key trends: Seattle is 4-1 in Hernandez's past five road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 6-1 his past seven on the road. The Mariners are 13-3 in Hernandez's past 16 road starts vs. Oakland.
Early lean: I don't care where the game is or the opponent. If Hernandez is a dog, I'm taking him. I'd go under too. I'd guess that total drops to 6.
Brewers at Cubs (-105, TBA)
I figured it was simply a matter of time that Milwaukee would cough up the NL Central lead, and that has happened with the Brewers having lost six straight entering Tuesday. Thus, they will be thrilled to get back starting pitcher Matt Garza for Wednesday's series finale at Wrigley. Garza (7-7, 3.58) has been out since Aug. 3, when he strained a left rib-cage muscle. He will be on a pitch count. Garza is 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA in two starts against the Cubs this season. Chicago may be without slugging first baseman Anthony Rizzo yet again, and he may need an MRI on his back. The Cubs start their impressive rookie, Kyle Hendricks (5-1, 1.91). He was 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA in six August starts. He beat the Brewers on Aug. 12, shutting them out over 7.1 innings on six hits.
Key trends: The Brewers are 1-4 in Garza's past five road starts. The under is 4-1 in his past five on the road.
Early lean: Who knows what kind of stuff Garza will have or how long he goes? Take the Cubs.
Nationals at Dodgers (+120, 8)
A big star who is thrilled the calendar turned to September is the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig. In August, he hit .217 with no home runs and four RBIs. He was hitless in Monday's series opener in L.A. as well. Jordan Zimmermann (10-5, 2.93) looks to keep Puig's slump going in Wednesday's getaway day game. The Nats have won Zimmermann's past six starts. He pitched four shutout innings earlier this year against the Dodgers. Puig has never faced him. Matt Kemp is 6-for-14 with two homers and seven RBIs against Zimmermann. The Dodgers pushed back Dan Haren a few extra days to get him rest, so they will call up Carlos Frias from Triple-A for this one. He has pitched 14.1 big-league innings this year with a 5.65 ERA but has never made a start in the majors. One guy he likely won't have to worry about is Adam LaRoche (.257, 19 HRs, 70 RBIs). He is dealing with some lower back stiffness. No chance, I'm sure, he plays in a day game after a night one.
Key trends: Washington is 5-0 in Zimmermann's past five Game 3 starts of a series. The over is 8-1 in Zimmermann's past nine starts.
Early lean: Dodgers as home dogs? I see why considering the pitching matchup, but I'm still taking L.A. The Nats don't know this Frias guy.
Giants at Rockies (+130, 10)
The Giants will be holding their breath on Tuesday as outfielder/first baseman Michael Morse (.280, 16 HRs, 61 RBIs) is undergoing an MRI on his hip. He felt something in there on Monday and took a seat. Morse hasn't gone yard since Aug. 15. This is a getaway day game, so I'd be surprised if he plays even if the MRI is clean. Ryan Vogelsong takes the mound for San Francisco. Vogelsong (8-9, 3.73) has allowed three runs or fewer in six straight starts. Like most pitchers, he doesn't enjoy Coors Field with a devilish 6.66 ERA in eight appearances career there. Christian Bergman opposes Vogelsong. Bergman (1-2, 5.74) made a start in San Francisco back in mid-June, allowing three runs and eight hits over six innings in a no-decision. Hunter Pence and Buster Posey homered off him.
Key trends: The Giants are 5-1 in Vogelsong's past six road starts vs. teams with a losing record. San Francisco is 0-4 in his past four vs. Colorado.
Early lean: Like the under as the hitters will be gassed with the quick turnaround start.
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