Five to Follow MLB Betting: Friday April 11, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 4/10/2014
What's unique about Friday's full schedule? It's the first day of the 2014 season where there are no matinees when there has been a full slate. In my opinion there should be at least one matinee every day so MLB could have the spotlight to itself for those who work odd hours and want to watch live sports at a pub or something during the day, but what do I know? Here's a look at five interesting matchups to kickoff the weekend.
Rays at Reds (-105, 6.5)
Let the countdown begin for David Price's final starts in a Rays uniform. I think it became assured that Price will be traded by the July 31 deadline with the news that Tampa Bay No. 2 Matt Moore is likely going to need Tommy John surgery. I don't think the Rays can survive that, and the sooner they trade Price the more money they save this season. It's a shame because this might have been the Rays' best team ever. Not that the fans in the Tampa area show up much to see it (blame the stadium). Price (1-0, 4.05) starts Friday's interleague series opener in Cincinnati. He has been good but not overpowering yet. He'll land the Rays a nice haul as he can't become a free agent until after next season. Only a few Reds have faced Price, none having homered. Cincinnati starts Johnny Cueto (0-1, 1.93). The Reds haven't looked good overall this season. The team's window may have closed. Of course, the Rays lose the DH in this series.
Key trends: The Rays are 0-5 in their past five interleague road games. Cincinnati is 1-7 in its past eight home games but has won seven of their past nine interleague home games.
Early lean: You won't get the Rays' Price at -105 often, so take it.
Dodgers at Diamondbacks (+108, 9)
Is there such a thing as a letdown game in baseball? If so, this may well be one for the Dodgers. They just finished a five-game homestand against their biggest rivals (the Giants) and the American League favorites (Tigers). Those two Detroit games were terrific, each ending in 10 innings. While the Dodgers have a monster payroll, they aren't deep except for the outfield, and now they are without catcher A.J. Ellis for 4-6 weeks after knee surgery. That timetable probably means L.A. won't be out acquiring a catcher, but it's a loss. The team will use a platoon of Drew Butera and Tim Federowicz, neither of whom can hit a lick. L.A. starts lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-1, 3.86) in this series opener. He was shelled last time out by the Giants. Ryu pitched against Arizona in Australia and blanked the Snakes over five innings. Paul Goldschmidt is a career .500 hitter (8-for-16) with a homer against him. Arizona goes with Brandon McCarthy (0-1, 7.82), who may not be long for the rotation if he keeps this up. Yasiel Puig, who has been hampered by a thumb injury and not started four of the past five games, is 2-for-3 with a homer off McCarthy.
Key trends: Arizona is 1-7 in McCarthy's past eight starts against teams with a winning record. The Dodgers are 12-2 in Ryu's past 14 starts against teams with a losing record.
Early lean: If the Dodgers didn't have Thursday off I might suspect a letdown game, but they did so I can't ignore those trends above.
Mets at Angels (-143, 8.5)
Terrible news for the Halos in that Josh Hamilton is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a torn ligament in his thumb. When will people learn not to slide headfirst into first base???!!! It has been statistically proven that sliding is not as fast as running through a base. Hamilton was off to a great start, hitting .444 with two homers. Some combination of J.B. Shuck and Colin Cowgill will try to replace Hamilton. In reality the Halos need Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, who have both been just OK so far, to raise their games. Might the Angels bring back free agent Kendrys Morales? Lefty Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 0.00) starts this interleague opener against the Mets. He was excellent in his first start, but that was against the punchless Astros. No Mets have faced Skaggs. They will add the DH for this series and will likely determine who that is on matchups or maybe give a regular a day off from the field like a struggling David Wright. New York starts Dillon Gee (0-0, 4.50). Few Angels have seen him.
Key trends: New York is 3-13 in its past 16 against southpaw starters. The "over" is 11-1 in the Angels' past 12 series openers.
Early lean: The Mets had to fly across country late Thursday night after finishing up in Atlanta. That's never a good thing. Take L.A. for its first home victory of the year.
A's at Mariners (-172, 6.5)
It has been proven over and over not to give pitchers huge, long extensions because they are so apt to hurt their arm. Seattle's Felix Hernandez appears to be the exception to the rule as he is simply a workhorse. Hernandez (2-0, 1.88) looks as if he will be in the Cy Young conversation again, and this will be his 2014 home debut. He pitched in Oakland on April 5 and held the A's to a run while striking out eight over 8.1 innings. Hernandez is 16-7 with a 2.59 career ERA against Oakland. Brandon Moss has had some success against him, going 7-for-22 with a home run. The A's start lefty Tommy Milone. It will be his season debut after Milone was skipped the first time through the rotation. He was 1-2 with a 4.34 ERA against the M's a year ago. The question is what happens if Oakland has a lead in the bottom of the eighth. Will Jim Johnson (0-2, 18.90 ERA) get the save opportunity? The closer has been awful. Entering Thursday, Johnson has faced 26 batters so far and 16 of them have reached base. Batters are hitting .529 off him. Early Thursday afternoon before Oakland's finale in Minnesota it was announced Johnson has been removed from the role. It will be a committee thing for now.
Key trends: Seattle is 1-10 in Hernandez's past 11 Friday starts (what's with that?). The A's are 4-0 in Milone's past four road starts.
Early lean: King Felix and the under (A's don't score).
Rockies at Giants (-175, 6.5)
You knew it was going to happen sooner or later: Rockies star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is hurt. The all-star is dealing with a minor strain of his right quad that probably lands him on the disabled list eventually. It's a broken record in Tulo's career, and it's a shame because he's so good when healthy. It's really time for the Rockies to try and trade his massive contract. Reportedly they turned down a nice offer from the Cardinals this winter. Tulowitzki will try to play through it, and he's 6-for-18 in his career off Giants starter Madison Bumgarner (1-0, 1.74). Carlos Gonzalez kills Bumgarner, batting .367 with four homers and seven RBIs in 30 at-bats. Bumgarner was 2-2 with a 5.16 ERA vs. Colorado in 2013. The Rockies go with Jorge De La Rosa (0-1, 8.31). Pablo Sandoval is a career. 323 hitter off De La Rosa with a homer in 31 at-bats. Hunter Pence has two hits in 13 at-bats off De La Rosa, both dingers.
Key trends: Colorado is 10-1 in De La Rosa's past 11 starts against the NL West. The Giants are 8-2 in Bumgarner's past 10 vs. Colorado. The "under" has hit in his past six at home vs. the Rockies.
Early lean: Bumgarner is generally excellent at home, and this is his 2014 debut there. Take the Giants on the runline as well. Like the over.
Doc's Sports is offering $60 worth of member MLB picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people, no credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please on any of our top MLB handicappers. Get your free baseball picks now.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping
- 2020 World Series Predictions with Expert Analysis
- Free MLB Picks Thursday 10/1/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Wednesday 9/30/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Tuesday 9/29/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Saturday 9/26/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Friday 9/25/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Thursday 9/24/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Wednesday 9/23/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Tuesday 9/22/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free MLB Picks Saturday 9/19/2020 and Opening Line Report