Five to Follow MLB Betting: Saturday June 14, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 6/13/2014
Apparently you can already crown the San Francisco Giants as NL West champions, and they are the big -600 favorites on Sportsbook.ag. Interesting stat from ESPN: One of their statisticians compiled the standings from every season in the divisional era on June 13. A total of 27 teams had a division lead of six games or greater, and of those 27 teams only three ended up losing that lead. The Giants are up 8.5 games as of Friday the 13th. Here's a look at their game and four other matchups Saturday on one of the best non-football sports weekends of the year (U.S. Open, World Cup, NBA Finals, maybe another Stanley Cup Finals game).
Rockies at Giants (-166, 7.5)
Colorado's rotation is decimated, so it called up Christian Bergman for his major-league debut last time out, and he was pretty good, allowing two runs and six hits over six innings in a loss to Atlanta. Obviously no Giants have faced him. Ryan Vogelsong (4-3, 3.84) starts for San Francisco. The team had won four straight of his starts before he was roughed up for six runs over six innings last time out against Washington. His worst start of the season was April 21 at Colorado, allowing five runs -- three homers -- in 1.1 innings. Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario is 4-for-12 with three homers off him. Troy Tulowitzki is 0-for-10.
Key trends: The Giants are 4-1 in Vogelsong's past four home starts against Colorado. The "under" has hit in four of those five.
Early lean: Colorado can't hit on the road. Take the Giants +130 on the runline.
Rays at Astros (-102, 8)
Don't expect to see one of Houston's best players, second baseman Jose Altuve, in the lineup for this game. He was hit on the hand with a pitch on Thursday and left the game. The good news is that X-rays were negative, but Altuve is likely to miss a few days. He's hitting .319 on the season. Chris Archer starts for the disappointing Rays. Archer (3-3, 3.42) blanked the Mariners over 6.1 innings last time out but the Rays lost the game because they aren't scoring lately. They have lost Archer's past three even though he has pitched well. Jarred Cosart starts for Houston. Cosart (5-5, 4.19) has allowed three runs or less in nine straight starts.
Key trends: The Rays are 2-5 in Archer's past seven against teams with a losing record. Houston is 2-5 in Cosart's past five at home. The "under" is 5-0 in Archer's past five.
Early lean: Go "under" at -115.
Cubs at Phillies (-129, 8.5)
The Cubs lost Emilio Bonifacio to a rib cage injury Thursday. He's unlikely to play here and in fact may need a DL stint. You might be asking: Why are you telling me about Emilio Bonifacio? He actually has been one of Chicago's better players, hitting .266 with 13 stolen bases. The Cubs are offensively challenged as it is. Edwin Jackson starts for Chicago on Saturday. Jackson (4-6, 4.70) seems to alternate between terrible and pretty good. He allowed four runs over seven innings in a loss at Pittsburgh last time out and has a 6.10 ERA on the road. Jimmy Rollins is 5-for-9 with two homers off Jackson career. David Buchanan (1-3, 6.08) starts for the Phillies. They have lost his past three outings. He has never faced the Cubs.
Key trends: The Cubs are 1-5 in Jackson's past six road starts against teams with a losing record. The "over" has hit in five of those six.
Early lean: Phillies rough up Jackson. Go with a Rollins hitting prop.
Diamondbacks at Dodgers (-136, 7)
L.A. might have to put shortstop Hanley Ramirez on the DL as he just had to get a cortisone shot in his troublesome shoulder. Now you see why the team didn't give him a long-term extension. Ramirez is a good player but injury prone. That Dodger lineup faces arguably Arizona's best pitcher right now, Josh Collmenter (4-3, 3.65). He is 1-1 with a 5.84 ERA in two starts against L.A. this year. Adrian Gonzalez is 4-for-7 with a homer off him. Dan Haren (6-4, 3.49) starts for the Dodgers. He has faced Arizona three times already this year, going 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA. Aaron Hill is a career .321 hitter off him with a home run and six RBIs in 28 at-bats.
Key trends: L.A. is 1-5 in Haren's past six against teams with a losing record. The over is 6-0 in Collmenter's past six in Game 2 of a series.
Early lean: Arizona is good value at +126.
Yankees at A's (-148, 7)
Being as this is my last story of the weekend I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Yankees visiting Oakland. I believe Derek Jeter is quite overrated. Clutch guy in the playoffs, no doubt, and a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But because he plays shortstop for the Yankees he's a bit overhyped. That said, perhaps the best defensive play I ever saw was his immortal flip throw to catcher Jorge Posada in the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS at Oakland. The Yankees led that game 1-0 but were down 2-0 in the series. Without that shocking play, which caught Jeremy Giambi at the plate, the A's tie the game and maybe sweep. Instead the Yankees won 1-0 and took the series in five. This weekend will be his final trip to Oakland unless they meet in the playoffs. Jeter hasn't had much career success off A's starter Scott Kazmir, going 6-for-45 career, with two of those six knocks being home runs. Kazmir (7-2, 2.20) has allowed just three runs over 22.1 innings in his past three starts, all Oakland wins. New York goes with Hiroki Kuroda (4-4, 4.12). He faced Oakland on June 3 and allowed a run over 6.2 innings.
Key trends: The Yankees are 2-10 in Kuroda's past 12 road starts. The "under" is 4-1 in Kazmir's past five at home.
Early lean: Kazmir has been terrific. Go Oakland.
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