Five to Follow MLB Betting: Friday July 11, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 7/10/2014
You know that bet you placed on the New York Yankees to win the American League East? Throw away that ticket, it's not happening. Not after the news Wednesday night that ace Masahiro Tanaka is headed to the DL and for an MRI due to elbow inflammation. This is a well below-.500 team when Tanaka doesn't start. If it needs Tommy John surgery, the Yanks are up the creek for half of next year, too. Currently the team's ace is 39-year-old Hiroki Kuroda. Here's a look at his start and four other matchups Friday
Yankees at Orioles (-125, 9)
Kuroda is the only member of the Opening Day rotation not injured. Ivan Nova won't be back, and it doesn't look like CC Sabathia will be, either. Michael Pineda? Who knows. Here's New York's rotation now, which frankly isn't as good as some in Triple-A: Kuroda, David Phelps, new addition Brandon McCarthy, Shane Greene and Chase Whitley. Wow. Kuroda (6-6, 4.20) doesn't exactly have ace numbers, and at his age he's going to likely wear down -- he did last year in a big way. Kuroda has faced the Orioles twice this year and has been successful, going 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA in two starts. Chris Davis is 7-for-24 with two homers and five RBIs off Kuroda. Ubaldo Jimenez (3-8, 4.52) gets the call for Baltimore. He hasn't been very good, but the O's have won his past three starts. Jimenez is 0-1 with a 4.35 ERA in two starts against the Yankees this season. Carlos Beltran is 6-for-15 career with two doubles, two home runs and three RBIs off Jimenez. There's a chance that Miguel Gonzalez (4-5, 4.22) will go for Baltimore instead, but I don't see the numbers changing.
Key trends: The Yankees have won five straight Friday games. The Orioles are 6-1 in their past seven against righty starters. The "under" is 8-0-1 in Kuroda's past nine against Baltimore. The Yanks are 1-4 in the past five meetings.
Early lean: I think mental state matters, and that the Yanks are a bit shellshocked about Tanaka. Go Orioles regardless of starter and also over no matter who it is.
Marlins at Mets (-105, 7)
This stat caught me by surprise, but if you are looking for the best bet in baseball right now from a pitching standpoint it's not Clayton Kershaw, but the Marlins' Henderson Alvarez (6-2, 2.27). The Marlins have won 10 straight games in which Alvarez has started, a team record. He hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of the past nine. One of those was June 20 at home against the Mets when he blanked them over 6.1 innings. David Wright is a career .375 hitter off Alvarez with three RBIs. Zack Wheeler starts for New York. Wheeler (4-8, 4.07) has had back-to-back starts of 6.1 innings while allowing just an earned run. His best game of the season was June 19 in Miami, a complete-game, three-hit shutout. He pitched to only one batter over the minimum. Giancarlo Stanton hasn't figured Wheeler out yet, going 1-for-10 with three strikeouts.
Key trends: The Marlins are 2-6 in their past eight series openers. Miami is 4-1 in Alvarez's past five against the Mets. The under has hit in four of those.
Early lean: I'm staying on the Alvarez bandwagon.
Cardinals at Brewers (-129, 8)
St. Louis is rumored to be interested in trading for Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy if you believe a few sources. That's because Jaime Garcia is out for the season and Michael Wacha's return is still indefinite from an unusual shoulder fracture. How hot and heavy the Cards look for a starter could depend on what Joe Kelly (1-1, 0.59) does Friday and in his next start or two. He is expected to be activated off the 60-day disabled list and make his first start since April 16. Kelly is taking the spot of touted prospect Marco Gonzales, who was sent down to Triple-A earlier this week. Kelly was a very solid pitcher last year, going 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA in 37 appearances (15 starts). The team needs him to hold down the fort until Wacha returns. Yovani Gallardo goes for Milwaukee. Gallardo (5-5, 3.45) has been great his past six starts if you don't count an eight-run outing against the Rockies on June 29. He pitched in St. Louis on April 28 and allowed three runs in six innings. Matt Holliday is a career .303 hitter with four home runs and 10 RBIs against him.
Key trends: The Cardinals have won five straight vs. the NL Central. Milwaukee is 1-4 in Gallardo's past five against teams with a winning record. St. Louis is 10-3 in its past 13 in Milwaukee. The Brewers are 0-7 in Gallardo's past seven at home vs. the Cards.
Early lean: Apparently oddsmakers don't know Gallardo's history against the Cards. Take them.
Red Sox at Astros (+112, 8.5)
Red Sox pitcher John Lackey caused a bit of a stir after his last start when he was lit up during a loss to Baltimore by Nelson Cruz. Lackey subtly jabbed at Cruz's PED suspension past, which led O's Manager Buck Showalter to say "everybody needs to make sure that their own backyard is clean." That was a jab at Boston's David Ortiz, and then he blew up in an interview about PEDs and getting a free pass, etc. Lackey (9-6, 3.84) might be trade bait as it appears the Red Sox are punting on 2014, but he hasn't been good of late, allowing 17 runs and 23 hits over 14 innings in his past three starts. Lackey, a Texas native, hasn't faced Houston this year. Scott Feldman goes for the Astros. Feldman (4-5, 3.86) has allowed three runs or less in five straight starts. He hasn't faced the Sox in 2014. Mike Napoli is 12-for-29 career with two dingers and seven RBIs off him. Big Papi has two dingers and seven RBIs in 12 at-bats vs. Feldman.
Key trends: The Sox are 0-7 in their past seven road games against teams with a losing record and have same record in Lackey's past seven road starts vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 5-1 in Houston's past six. Boston is 5-1 in the past six meetings.
Early lean: Houston is good home value as it had Thursday off while the Sox played at home and had to travel.
A's at Mariners (-125, 6)
Because this is the biggest series for the Mariners in years, they pushed back ace Felix Hernandez's start from Thursday against the Twins, which probably would have been a win, to this matchup against fellow all-star Jeff Samardzija. Hernandez (10-2, 2.11) looks like he will be the AL starter Tuesday in the All-Star Game, and he's now the Cy Young favorite as well with Tanaka's regression/injury. Hernandez is 2-0 with a 2.49 ERA in three starts this year against Oakland, with 19 strikeouts in 21.2 innings. Brandon Moss is a rare Athletic with some success off him career, going 9-for-29 with two doubles, a homer and four RBIs. Samardzija (3-7, 2.74) was named to the NL All-Star team but can't pitch there after the Cubs trade. He will be announced with the NL but sit in the AL dugout. "Shark" was excellent in his AL debut, beating the Jays by allowing just a run and four hits over four innings. A few Mariners have history against him. Logan Morrison is 3-for-9 with a home run, three RBIs and four walks.
Key trends: The Mariners are 1-5 in their past six at home against teams with a winning road record. The under is 7-1 in Seattle's past eight at home vs. teams with a winning road record. The over is 7-2 in the past nine meetings in Seattle.
Early lean: Clearly the lowest total on the board, but I'm still going under at -120. I have to lean King Felix at home.
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