Five to Follow MLB Betting: Saturday May 3, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 5/2/2014
We could have one of the greatest debates for the American League Rookie of the Year this season between the Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka and the White Sox's Jose Abreu. Perhaps MLB needs to change its standards for ROY, however. Both guys played professionally in other countries and aren't 20-year-olds just up from the minors. That leaves guys such as Kansas City's Yordano Ventura or Boston's Xander Bogaerts having no chance at the award. Here's a look at five interesting matchups on Saturday, including games involving Tanaka and Abreu.
Cardinals at Cubs (+156, TBA)
The Cubs aren't going anywhere this season, but they believe that pitcher Jake Arrieta might be a part of their future. The guy always had plus stuff but couldn't really put it together in Baltimore before Chicago acquired him in the Scott Feldman trade last season. Arrieta had some shoulder problems this spring and makes his 2014 debut against St. Louis, a game that will have live betting at Bovada. Arrieta went 4-2 with a 3.66 ERA in nine starts for the Cubs a year ago. He's a major upgrade over Carlos Villanueva, who is headed to the bullpen. He was arguably the worst pitcher in the NL, going 1-5 with a 10.42 ERA. Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta is 3-for-6 with two doubles off Arrieta. He has more at-bats against him than any other St. Louis player. The Cards start Michael Wacha (2-2, 2.48). He pitched against the Cubs on April 13 in St. Louis and allowed three runs and five hits over 6.1 innings, striking out eight. Anthony Rizzo is 2-for-6 with a home run off him. He has been slumping. As usual, no opening total at Wrigley.
Key trends: The Cardinals are 0-4 in Wacha's past four road starts. The "under" is 5-0-1 in his past six on the road. The under is 5-1 in Arrieta's past six home starts.
Early lean: That Wacha 0-4 road trend is a fluke as he's pitched well. Take the Cards.
Rays at Yankees (-184, 8)
I am still holding off judgment on Tanaka (3-0, 2.27) until he faces a team for the second time, and he has yet to face Tampa Bay. The right-hander has gone at least 6.1 innings in every start and hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in one yet. He had his third double-digit strikeout game last time out against the Angels with a season-high 11. It was the most for a Yankees rookie since "El Duque" Hernandez in 1998. Teams are hitting only .205 off him. His 46 strikeouts are the third-most of any rookie in his first five starts. The Rays start Jake Odorizzi (1-3, 6.85). The Rays have lost his past four starts, and he hasn't made it more than 4.1 innings in his past two. Odorizzi is 0-3 with an 8.79 in three road starts. New York is the biggest favorite on the board.
Key trends: The Rays are 4-0 in their past four Saturday games. New York is 2-7 in its past nine Game 2s of a series. The "over" is 9-1 in Tampa Bay's past 10 against righty starters.
Early lean: Tanaka is going to get roughed up in one start at some point. Just not here.
Mariners at Astros (+128, 8)
I doubt the Seattle Mariners will compete for a wild-card spot unless they add a bat, but the rotation gets a major boost on Saturday with the season debut of Hisashi Iwakuma, formerly the best pitcher in the majors from Japan. He has been sidelined by a finger injury. Iwakuma was 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA last year. He was 2-1 with a 1.38 ERA in four starts against Houston. Jose Altuve is 4-for-11 with a double and two RBIs off him. Houston starts lefty Dallas Keuchel (2-1, 3.56). He has had four straight quality starts, and the Astros have won three of them. One of those was April 21 in Seattle when he allowed two runs over six innings. Corey Hart is 3-for-9 with two home runs off Keuchel.
Key trends: The Mariners are 1-6 in their past seven Game 2s of a series. The Astros are 0-5 in Kucehel's past five Game 2s. The over is 4-0 in Keuchel's past four starts.
Early lean: Houston is good value here. Keuchel has been solid, and Iwakuma could be rusty.
White Sox at Indians (-162, 8)
There are a lot of reasons why the Cleveland Indians have been a major disappointment this season, but chief among them is that Justin Masterson (0-1, 4.84) hasn't pitched like the all-star ace he was a year ago. He may regret not agreeing to a contract extension with the team as Masterson's value is dropping with free agency approaching after this season. Masterson has had three starts, allowing six runs. That includes April 12 at the White Sox, who got him for six in 4.2 innings. The Indians actually won that game. Abreu was 0-for-2 with a walk. Alejandro De Aza is hitting .333 with a home run and four RBIs in 30 at-bats off Masterson. Chicago starts right-hander Scott Carroll (1-0, 1.23). He made his White Sox debut on April 27 and held the Rays to one earned run over 7.1 innings. No Indians have ever faced him.
Key trends: Cleveland is 1-7 in Masterson's past eight Game 2 starts. Cleveland is 7-0 in his past seven against the White Sox.
Early lean: The Sox know a struggling Masterson well, and the Tribe have no idea who Carroll is. Take Chicago.
Brewers at Reds (-153, 6.5)
Two key injuries to watch in this one: Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun and Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton. Braun might return this weekend from an oblique injury. He hasn't played since April 26. Hamilton might miss a few games with sprained knuckles -- can't say I've heard of that injury before. He hurt it while making a diving catch in Thursday's game. Hamilton is batting .245 with 11 steals. It's a matchup of aces in this one in Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo and Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto. Gallardo (2-0, 1.91) was 2-1 with a 3.18 ERA in five 2013 starts against Cincinnati. Ryan Ludwick (346, three HRs, 10 RBIs) and Jay Bruce (.349, two HRs, nine RBIs) both thrive off him. Cueto (2-2, 1.15) has allowed just one earned run over 26 innings in his past three starts. Aramis Ramirez has solved Cueto, going 13-for-39 with four doubles, four home runs and 10 RBIs. This is the smallest total on the board.
Key trends: Milwaukee is 7-1 in Gallardo's past eight road starts. The Reds are 9-0 in Cueto's past nine home starts vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-0 in Cueto's past five at home.
This looks like a 2-1 game, so go under even with that small total.
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