Five to Follow MLB Betting: Saturday June 7, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 6/6/2014
Something is likely to happen this weekend that could boost a team's playoff hopes: the signing of free-agent first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales. He has been sitting at home after turning down Seattle's $14.1 million qualifying offer after last season. How does his agent still have a job? Now that the MLB draft is finished, Morales can sign with anyone and that team wouldn't have to forfeit a 2015 draft pick. The top contenders for Morales: Yankees, Brewers, Royals and, yes, Mariners. Morales will be lucky to get $3 million for the rest of the season, but he's a solid hitter. Here is a look at five interesting matchups on the diamond Saturday.
Cardinals at Blue Jays (-133, 9)
You can get +3500 at Sportsbook.ag for a Cardinals-Blue Jays World Series matchup. Should Toronto get Jeff Samardzija, it might be the AL favorite. The Jays start their current ace in Mark Buehrle on Saturday against his hometown team. Buehrle (10-1, 2.10) blanked Kansas City over eight innings last time out. He has allowed more than two runs in just two starts all year. He deserves to start the All-Star Game. Masahiro Tanaka will have other chances. Buehrle has only faced a few Cardinals. Jhonny Peralta is a career .298 hitter with two home runs and 10 RBIs against him. Shelby Miller (6-5, 4.06) starts for the Cardinals, and he's been off his past three, all of which St. Louis has lost. He has never faced Toronto. This is the only interleague series of the weekend.
Key trends: St. Louis is 1-8 in its past nine against a southpaw. Toronto is 8-2 in Buehrle's past 10 at home against teams with a winning record. The "under" has hit in eight of his past nine Saturday starts.
Early lean: The Cards aren't all that great right now, so take Buehrle, who will be excited to pitch against the team he rooted for as a kid.
Red Sox at Tigers (-152, 7.5)
If I'm the Tigers, I am starting to worry. Justin Verlander has been hit hard in four of his past five starts. Meanwhile, Max Scherzer, he of the turned down $144 million extension, has been roughed up his past three starts, allowing 16 runs and 29 hits over 19.2 innings. Maybe Detroit isn't a lock in the AL Central. The good news for Scherzer (6-2, 3.20) is he is 4-0 with a 1.54 ERA at home this season, and his last good outing was against these Red Sox on May 16 at Fenway. He blanked them over six innings, striking out seven. Big Papi is a career. 471 hitter with three home runs off Scherzer. Jon Lester (6-6, 3.15) starts for Boston. He was opposite Scherzer on May 16 and gave up one run over five innings. Torii Hunter is 13-for-25 career off him.
Key trends: Boston is 5-0 in Lester's past five road starts against teams with a winning record. Detroit has lost four straight against lefties. The "over" is 4-1 in the Tigers' past five at home against southpaws.
Early lean: Scherzer's issues aside go under. Either of these starters could throw a shutout even if the other is a bit off.
Marlins at Cubs (-149, TBA)
You never know when Jeff Samardzija's final start in a Cubs uniform will be. Chicago might regret not dealing him sooner if he has another bad start. Samardzija (1-5, 2.54) led the majors in ERA before getting bombed in Milwaukee his last outing, allowing eight runs and eight hits in 3.0 innings. I actually think it was a fluke because Samardzija had won his previous start, his first victory since last August. Maybe that threw him off a bit. He has a 1.49 ERA at home this year but of course is 0-3. Back-from-the-dead Randy Wolf goes for the Marlins. Wolf (1-1, 3.38) He held the Rays to one run on three hits over six innings last time out. Starlin Castro is 8-for-24 with a home run off him.
Key trends: The Cubs have lost their last six of Samardzija's past six at home against teams with a winning record. The under is 4-0 in his past four Saturday starts.
Early lean: Samardzija gets win No. 2
White Sox at Angels (+116, 7.5)
Make an argument for whom you want, but right now Pale Hose lefty Chris Sale (5-0, 1.59) is the most unhittable pitcher in the majors. Since returning from about a month on the DL, he has allowed three hits and one run -- a solo homer -- over 18 innings, with the White Sox winning all three. Here's an amazing stat: left-handed hitters are 0-for-32 against him this season. L.A.'s Josh Hamilton is 1-for-11 career off him. Albert Pujols 1-for-9. Mike Trout 1-for-8. Matt Shoemaker (3-1, 4.03) takes the bump for L.A. He has a 3.38 ERA in four starts this year. No White Sox have ever faced him.
Key trends: Chicago is 1-5 in Sale's past six road starts against teams with a winning record. The Angels have won five of their past six against lefties.
Early lean: I know what I said above, but I like the Halos here as good value home dogs. They will win a low-scoring game via the bullpens.
Braves at Diamondbacks (+100, 8)
I don't want to say I told you so, but I told you that Ervin Santana was pitching way above his head earlier this season. He had a 1.99 ERA in his first six starts but is 1-2 with a 7.83 ERA in his past four. Atlanta has lost three of them. Eric Chavez could get a spot start for Arizona as he's 11-for-33 with three doubles career off Santana. Lefty Wade Miley (3-6, 4.85) looks to end a string where the Diamondbacks have lost his past four starts. He allowed four solo home runs last time out against the Reds. Chris Johnson is 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs off Miley. Former Diamondback Justin Upton is 2-for-3 with a homer.
Key trends: Arizona is 0-5 in Miley's past five at home. The over is 5-0 in Santana's past five road starts.
Snakes keep Santana's struggles going.
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