Five to Follow MLB Betting: Friday May 9, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 5/8/2014
I will stop focusing so much on Masahiro Tanaka when the Yankees' Japanese import finally loses a regular-season game, which he hasn't since 2012. Still really looking forward to when a team sees Tanaka for the second time this season and then how he fares. That won't happen on Friday when the Yankees visit Milwaukee in interleague action. You never know, this could be a World Series preview. It is +6500 as a Fall Classic matchupon Sportsbook.ag. Here is a look at that and four other interesting matchups Friday.
Rockies at Reds (-170, 7.5)
If Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto (3-2, 1.31) was getting any run support, he'd likely be your NL Cy Young favorite right now. He leads the NL in ERA, WHIP (0.73) and innings pitched (55.0). Batters are hitting just .132 off the guy. Cueto has pitched at least seven innings in all seven starts, the first Red to do that to begin a season in 1944. He has gone at least eight in his past four, the first Red to do that in four straight since 1990. Cueto hasn't faced the Rockies and their No. 1 offense this year. Carlos Gonzalez hits him well, going 4-for-10 with a homer and six knocked in. Colorado starts Jhoulys Chacin. He made his season debut off the DL Monday and allowed four runs and walked five in five innings of a loss to the Mets. He was clearly a bit rusty. Chacin hasn't faced Cincinnati since 2011.
Key trends: Colorado has won six straight series openers. The Reds are 10-1 in Cueto's past 11 at home against teams with a winning record. The "over" is 5-0 in the past five meetings.
Early lean: Can't bet against Cueto right now.
Yankees at Brewers (+107, 7.5)
Tanaka (4-0. 2.53) looked probably his most mortal so far last time out. He allowed a season-high eight hits and struck out a season-low five over seven innings in a win against Tampa Bay. He has not lost in his past 40 regular-season starts, which is impressive in Little League, much less Japan and the U.S. The Brewers will be the best team Tanaka has faced so far, although not the best lineup, especially missing the injured Ryan Braun. Milwaukee starts Yovani Gallardo (2-1, 2.47), so this will be like the World Baseball Classic: Japan (Tanaka) vs. Mexico (Gallardo). The Brewers' ace won his first two starts of the year but hasn't gotten a W since. He allowed a season-high four runs last time out in Cincinnati. Look for Alfonso Soriano to get the day off, and the Yankees lose the DH anyway. Soriano is 4-for-25 career with 11 strikeouts off Gallardo.
Key trends: The Yankees have lost four straight series openers. Milwaukee is won six straight on Friday. The "under" is 10-2 in Milwaukee's past 12 against teams with a winning record.
Early lean: I'd probably lean Brewers if Braun were healthy but am wishy-washy on the side. Take the under.
Diamondbacks at White Sox (-105, 9)
Is Arizona finally showing some signs of being competitive? The Snakes have won back-to-back series in May, at San Diego and Milwaukee, after winning a single series in a 9-22 April. The pitching staff has been significantly better in May with an ERA of around 3.30 after it was 5.11 last month, the majors' worst. One of those resurgent pitchers so far has been Brandon McCarthy (1-5, 4.67). He used to be one of the White Sox's top young pitchers but was dealt before the 2007 season to Texas in the John Danks deal. McCarthy blanked San Diego on three hits over seven innings in his last start for his first win. Needless to say, the Chicago lineup is much better than San Diego's. The White Sox start MLB's first-ever Brazilian pitcher, Andre Rienzo (2-0, 4.50). Chicago has won all four times he has taken the mound this year. No Diamondbacks have ever faced him.
Key trends: The Snakes are 5-1 in their past six road games against teams with a winning home record. The White Sox are 2-5 in their past seven at home against teams with a winning road record (yes, Arizona has one).
Early lean: Tied for highest total on board, but still go over.
Nationals at A's (-129, 7.5)
That Washington Nationals' trade for Detroit pitcher Doug Fister isn't looking like quite the heist for the Nats right now as it did when the teams made the deal this offseason. For one, Fister hasn't pitched yet for Washington. Second, the main player Detroit got in that deal, young pitcher Robbie Ray, looked great in his big-league debut Tuesday. Washington finally gets to see Fister on Friday in Oakland as he comes off his only minor-league rehab start due to a strained lat suffered late in the spring. Fister allowed two runs and struck out five in 3.2 innings in Double-A. Fister was excellent last year for Detroit but rocked in his one start vs. Oakland, allowing seven runs and 13 hits in five innings. Alberto Callaspo is 6-for-17 with a home run off Fister. The A's start lefty Tommy Milone (0-3, 5.86). He has gotten progressively worse in his past three starts. Expect A's outfielder Coco Crisp (.260, three HRs, 11 RBIs) to sit out after he crashed into the wall earlier this week.
Key trends: The Nationals are 6-0 in their past six interleague road games against lefty starters. Oakland is 6-1 in Milone's past seven interleague starts. The under is 6-1 in Oakland's past seven interleague games.
Early lean: Fister is better than Milone, so I like the Nats as good value at +119.
Marlins at Padres (+121, 6)
It has been well established that you are simply throwing money away if you bet against Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez (4-1, 1.74) when he's pitching in Miami. The guy is simply unbeatable there. So is it worth it to go against him Friday night in San Diego? He is just 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA away from Miami, although his last road start was a 14-strikeout masterpiece in Atlanta. He pitched April 5 at home against the Padres and blanked them on three hits over 6.2 innings. No current Padre has done anything off him. San Diego starts Tyson Ross (3-3, 3.30). He is a stellar 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts at Petco this year. Few Marlins have ever seen him.
Key trends: The Marlins are 7-1 in Fernandez's past eight against teams with a losing record. San Diego is 1-6 in its past seven against righty starters. The under is 8-1 in Ross' past nine against teams with a winning record. The under is 6-1 in Fernandez's past seven against teams with a losing record.
This is by far the lowest total on the board and a rare time I've seen one at six this year. Amazingly, the under is still a -115 favorite. And I'd still
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