Five to Follow MLB Betting: Friday May 16, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 5/15/2014
Wednesday was one of the worst days in Texas Rangers history, and it likely means that they aren't going to win the AL West without trading for a pitcher like the Cubs' Jeff Samardzija or Rays' David Price. Texas may have lost both lefties Martin Perez and Matt Harrison for the year. Perez, it now appears, will need Tommy John surgery, putting the start of 2015 in jeopardy. Harrison might need spinal surgery that could end his career. The Rangers are +350 on Sportsbook.ag to win the division.
Blue Jays at Rangers (-165, 8.5)
Texas enters Friday's game having lost back-to-back series against Boston and in Houston, and this type of devastating news often can put a team in a slump for a little while. The Rangers start their ace, Yu Darvish (3-1, 2.33), in this series opener, but unfortunately he can't pitch every other day. He comes off his most dominant outing of the season, a near no-hitter against Boston in which Darvish struck out 12. Edwin Encarnacion has Darvish's number, going 5-for-12 with two home runs and three walks. Toronto starts Drew Hutchison (1-3, 4.37). He has been roughed up at home with a 7.24 ERA in 13.2 innings. Only a couple of Rangers have ever faced him.
Key trends: Toronto is 2-5 in Hutchison's past seven starts. The Rangers are 9-1 in Darvish's past 10 starts. The "under" is 4-1 in his past five starts against Toronto.
Early lean: Texas is the biggest opening favorite on the board. The offense is still fine, so have to back Darvish. He can put off any slump for a day.
White Sox at Astros (-108, 9)
Chicago is planning to give major-league home run leader and AL RBI leader Jose Abreu a rare day off on Friday. He has been battling some ankle problems and has been playing DH instead of first base for a week or so. With the White Sox off Thursday, that would give him a full two days to rest up. It's possible he pinch-hits. Abreu hit his 15th homer on Wednesday to beat the A's. Houston's Collin McHugh is probably not displeased to see Abreu on the bench. McHugh (2-1, 2.81) has been a huge surprise, although the team has lost his past two starts. The Pale Hose start lefty Jose Quintana (1-3, 3.67). Chicago has lost three of his past four starts even though they have all been quality. Houston's Jason Castro is 3-for-5 with two doubles off Quintana.
Key trends: Chicago is 1-6 in Quintana's past seven road starts against teams with a losing record. The "over" is 8-0 in the White Sox's past eight Friday games. The under is 5-2 in the past seven meetings.
Early lean: Houston isn't favored too often, but the Sox will badly miss Abreu. He makes their offense go. Take the Astros and under.
Tigers at Red Sox (-105, 8)
This is the pitching matchup of the night. The Tigers start Max Scherzer (5-1, 2.04). Detroit has won five straight of his starts, and he hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of them. However, the Red Sox for some reason have solved this guy as he has a career 7.02 ERA against them. David Ortiz is 7-for-15 with three home runs and six knocked in off him. Dustin Pedroia has gone yard twice in 17 at-bats against Scherzer. A.J. Pierzynski is a career .333 hitter with a homer and seven RBIs. Boston starts lefty Jon Lester (4-4, 2.75). He was very good in the ALCS against Detroit, going 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA. Torii Hunter is 11-for-23 in his career off Lester. Victor Martinez, among the AL batting leaders, is 6-for-13 with a home run.
Key trends: Detroit is 6-0 in its past six against lefty starters. It is 8-0 in its past eight road games. Boston is 6-2 in Lester's past eight against teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Shocked this total isn't a run lower. Jump on the under.
Padres at Rockies (-145, 10)
Colorado will be thrilled to return to the cozy confines of Coors Field after ending a week-long road trip losing five of its past six games. This is a totally different team at home, hitting nearly 100 points higher there than on the road. Troy Tulowitzki is batting an absurd .608 at home. Good luck to Padres starter Eric Stults (2-3, 5.03). As it is, he has a 6.62 ERA on the road this season. He faced the Rockies on April 14 in San Diego and allowed four runs and nine hits over five innings. Tulowitzki is 7-for-17 off him. The Rockies start Jorge De La Rosa (4-3, 4.81). His scheduled start Tuesday was pushed back/skipped due to a back issue, but he is on track to go. De La Rosa pitched April 16 in San Diego and allowed two earned runs in six innings.
Key trends: San Diego is 5-1 in Stults' past six starts. The Rockies are 12-3 in De La Rosa's past 15 against the NL West. They are 7-0 in De La Rosa's past seven at home against San Diego.
Early lean: As usual, a Rockies home game has easily the highest total on the board. Unless Colorado is facing a team's superstar ace, don't bet against the Rockies at home.
Rays at Angels (-138, 8)
Angels star Mike Trout was on the cover of Sports Illustrated recently calling him simply the best all-around player in the majors. That's probably true. But Trout is scuffling in May. Entering Thursday, he's hitting just .149 with 16 strikeouts in 12 games this month. He leads the American League with 50 strikeouts overall. This is why I think the Angels win the AL West. He hasn't gotten going yet and Josh Hamilton remains out, but just imagine when the Halos are whole. Trout looks to get it going against the Rays' Chris Archer (2-2, 5.16). He has a 6.35 ERA away from Tropicana Field. Trout is 4-for-6 career off him. L.A. starts Jered Weaver (4-2, 3.22). The Angels have won his past three starts in which he has allowed a combined four runs. Wil Myers is 2-for-3 with two home runs off him. Ben Zobrist is 6-for-18 with a homer, but he's headed to the disabled list.
Key trends: The Rays are 5-1 in Archer's past six against teams with a winning record. The over is 6-0-1 in Archer's past seven against teams with a winning record. L.A. is 0-4 in Weaver's past four against Tampa.
Early lean: Weaver has it going right now, so take L.A. on the runline at +150 as well.
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