Five to Follow MLB Betting: Saturday, April 26, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 4/25/2014
Take advantage of this busy time of season and try a baseball-NHL playoffs-NBA playoffs three-way parlay on Saturday. There's plenty of action to choose from in each sport. Here is a look at five interesting games on the baseball schedule, with Angels at Yankees featuring live betting.
Padres at Nationals (-118, 7.5)
It has been a rough week for San Diego, a team I thought could compete for a wild-card spot. Maybe it still will, but one guy they were counting on was pitcher Josh Johnson, and he will officially undergo a second Tommy John surgery. He's career is probably over. Of more immediate concern, the Padres will be without third baseman Chase Headley for 2-3 weeks after straining his right calf in Thursday's game. He's really going to regret not taking the extension the Padres offered him this spring. Headley (.186, two homers, seven RBIs) hasn't been good or healthy since his breakout 2012 season. Outfielder Seth Smith (.277, two HRs, seven RBIs) strained his groin Thursday and at best is out a few games. Thus, Washington's Tanner Roark (1-0, 3.80) will face a depleted lineup. No Padres have faced him. San Diego starts its ace in Andrew Cashner (2-2, 2.10). He had been brilliant before allowing four runs in six innings last time out in Milwaukee.
Key trends: The Padres are 2-5 in Cashner's past seven road starts. Washington is 1-4 in its past five Saturday games. The "under" is 11-1 in Cashner's past 12 starts overall.
Early lean: I like Cashner as a dog. Helps that Ryan Zimmerman remains out for Washington.
Angels at Yankees (-121, 9)
The New York Yankees probably are going to be in the market for a starting pitcher with the loss of Ivan Nova to season-ending Tommy John surgery, a problem that is becoming an epidemic around the league. Well, the Yankees will need to trade for someone -- Cliff Lee already has been mentioned -- if Vidal Nuno (0-0, 6.75) isn't a decent fill-in. The lefty makes his second straight start for Nova, and the first one was pretty good: no runs allowed over five innings in Tampa Bay. Still, the guy has only four career starts, and it's unlikely the Yankees can count on him. Nuno has never faced the Angels. L.A. starts Hector Santiago (0-3, 3.68). While he hasn't won yet in an Angels uniform, he has gotten consistently better. Last time out he allowed no earned runs over 5.2 innings in Detroit, striking out a season-high seven. Alfonso Soriano generally hits lefties well, and that's the case here as he is 3-for-7 with two home runs off Santiago.
Key trends: The Yankees are 6-1 in their past seven against lefty starters. The "over" is 8-3-1 in L.A.'s past 12 road games against southpaws. The over is 4-1 in New York's past five against lefties.
Early lean: Over, even though it's the highest total on the board.
Red Sox at Blue Jays (-104, 8.5)
The Red Sox appear as if they finally will be whole this weekend with both outfielder Shane Victorino and third baseman Will Middlebrooks being activated off the disabled list in the past couple of days. The Sox need them as they rank 21st in runs entering the weekend. Now the worry for Boston is the performance thus far of Clay Buchholz (0-2, 7.71). You have to wonder if the guy is healthy as batters are hitting a whopping .375 off him. He has allowed at least six earned runs in two of his four starts and his velocity is down. If he gets knocked around here, it wouldn't shock me if Buchholz lands on the DL. He was 1-1 with a 1.71 ERA in three 2013 starts against Toronto. Jose Bautista is 9-for-31 with a home run off him. Edwin Encarnacion struggles in a big way against Buchholz, going 1-for-21. The Jays start righty Brandon Morrow (1-1, 5.03). He made one start last year against Boston, allowing three runs in five innings. Put down some money on David Ortiz (.412, three HRs, seven RBIs) and Dustin Pedroia (.522, two HRs, six RBIs) against Morrow.
Key trends: The Red Sox are 4-0 in their past four Game 2s of a series. The Blue Jays are 7-1 in their past eight Saturday games. The over is 6-0 in Morrow's past six home starts. The Sox are 8-0 in Buchholz's past eight starts in Toronto.
Early lean: A bit surprised that Buchholz is a slight opening favorite (-106), but Morrow hasn't been great. Take Boston.
Cubs at Brewers (-156, 7.5)
As bad as the Chicago Cubs are, maybe they should use Travis Wood (1-2, 2.52) as a designated hitter when they play in AL parks or as a pinch-hitter when he's not pitching. In his last start, Wood not only beat the Diamondbacks by allowing a run over seven innings and striking out nine, he was 2-for-3 with an RBI double and three-run homer. He joins Claude Hendrix, Pat Malone and Dontrelle Willis as the only four pitchers in MLB history to homer in each of their first five big-league seasons. Wood hit .222 with three home runs last year. He pitched once against the Brewers in 2013, allowing two earned runs over 6.1 innings. Ryan Braun is a .368 hitter with a home run and five RBIs off him. Milwaukee starts righty Marco Estrada (1-1, 2.66). He has had three straight quality starts. Estrada was 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA in three 2013 starts vs. the Cubs. Starlin Castro is a career .389 hitter off him in 18 at-bats.
Key trends: The Cubs are 2-8 in Wood's past 10 road games vs. teams with a winning record. Milwaukee is 1-4 in Estrada's past five at home. The Brewers are 5-0 in Estrada's past five vs. Chicago.
Early lean: I have more faith in Wood than Estrada, so the Cubs are good value.
A's at Astros (+142, 8.5)
Don't expect to see A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes for this game or perhaps a few more. He left Thursday's game in the seventh inning with a left hamstring strain suffered as he was beating out an infield hit. Cespedes was hitting .238 with four home runs and 14 RBIs. He was batting .400 this season against Houston with a home run and three knocked in. Cespedes is 5-for-6 in his career off Houston's starter on Saturday, lefty Dallas Keuchel (2-1, 3.38). Keuchel hasn't faced Oakland this season and was 0-2 with a 5.48 ERA in 21.1 innings against the A's in 2013. Josh Donaldson, who had two homers Thursday, is 4-for-10 off Keuchel. Oakland starts right-hander Dan Straily (1-1, 5.40). He was 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA in two 2013 starts vs. Houston.
Key trends: The A's are 5-1 in Straily's past six against teams with a losing record. Houston is 1-7 in Keuchel's past eight home starts. The over is 4-1 in Keuchel's past five starts.
Early lean: For once the Astros aren't the biggest home dogs on the board (barely). I'd take them at -120 on the runline here.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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