Five to Follow MLB Betting: Thursday June 12, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 6/11/2014
a team gets bitten in the "you know what" when it signs a very young player to a long-term extension to buy out a few of that player's free-agent years. Sometimes, however, it works out incredibly well for the team. It did for the White Sox and Chris Sale. He could potentially earn $57.5 million over a seven-year extension he signed in 2013. That's insanely good value for the guy who might be the best pitcher in the AL. By comparison, the guy he opposes on Thursday, Detroit's Max Scherzer, likely will sign an extension this winter paying him at least $25 million a year. Here's a look at that matchup and four others on the schedule.
Braves at Rockies (+111, 10)
Atlanta might choose to give Justin Upton a rest in this getaway game. He left Tuesday's game against Colorado with a strained left hamstring, and even if he plays Wednesday it's never good to play a day game after a night game with a nagging injury like that. Upton is hitting .295 with 14 homers and 36 RBIs. Colorado starter Jhoulys Chacin (0-4, 5.35) wouldn't mind if Upton sits out. The Rockies had lost his first six outings but did win his last one -- obviously he didn't get the decision -- when Chacin allowed three runs over six innings against the Dodgers. Freddie Freeman hits him hard, going 3-for-6 with two homers. Ervin Santana (5-2, 3.69) starts for Atlanta. The Braves have lost four of his past five. Two Rockies who hit him hard, Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzalez, are both on the DL.
Key trends: Colorado is 2-6 in Chacin's past eight against teams with a winning record. The "over" is 5-1 in Santana's past six road starts.
Early lean: Welcome to Coors Field, Mr. Santana. Go over.
Cubs at Pirates (-115, 7)
If you have been backing Chicago on a daily basis since mid-May, you are doing well financially as the Cubs are playing much better, but oddsmakers still don't give them much of a break. Even though the Cubs are competitive, they are still going to trade Jeff Samardzija, and he takes the mound on Thursday in the series finale at Pittsburgh. Samardzija (2-5, 2.54) bounced back from his worst start of the year by allowing two runs over seven innings last time out against the Marlins. He made his season debut in Pittsburgh and blanked the Pirates over seven innings. Andrew McCutchen is a career .385 hitter off him. The Pirates could be a sleeper team in the Samardzija sweepstakes as they badly need pitching right now, although the Cubs surely don't want to trade him in the division. Edinson Volquez (3-5, 4.27) goes for Pittsburgh. The team has alternated losses and wins in his past seven outings, meaning he's due a win here.
Key trends: The Cubs are 0-5 in Samardzija's past five against teams with a losing record. The "under" is 7-3 in his past 10 road starts. The under has hit in four of his past five in Pittsburgh.
Early lean: Samardzija as a dog against a so-so team? Yes please.
Indians at Red Sox (-167, 8.5)
I still don't know what to make of Cleveland, which has climbed to second in the AL Central behind Detroit. The Tribe have won nine of 11 entering Wednesday's series finale in Kansas City before flying to Boston. Cleveland swept the visiting Red Sox three games last week. Mike Tomlin (4-2, 3.12) gets the call for Cleveland in the opener. He hasn't allowed more than three earned runs yet this season. He missed Boston last week. Lefty Jon Lester goes for Boston. Lester (6-7, 3.52) also missed Cleveland in the last series. He has been hit hard in two of his past four starts. Red-hot Indians hitter Lonnie Chisenhall, he of the three-homer, nine-RBI game earlier this week, hasn't ever faced Lester.
Key trends: The Red Sox are 2-8 in their past 10 series openers. The over has hit in eight of the past 11 meetings between these teams.
Early lean: Lester is better at Fenway than on the road. Also go Sox at +130 on the runline.
Nationals at Giants (-144, 7.5)
If Washington visits San Francisco again this season after Thursday, it will be in the playoffs and I could easily see that happening. The Giants are +225 NL pennant favorites at Sportsbook.ag and the Nationals +450. San Francisco starts Tim Hudson (6-2, 1.97), and he loves facing Washington, going 16-5 all-time against the Nats. Jayson Werth is a rare Washington player to hit him hard, going 15-for-39 with three home runs and 11 RBIs. Hudson has yet to lose at home this season, going 4-0 with a 2.51 ERA. Blake Treinen (0-2, 1.78) goes for Washington. He has never faced the Giants.
Key trends: The Nationals are 7-1 in their past eight Game 4s of a series. The Giants are 8-0 in their past eight Game 4s.
Early lean: Giants continue that odd Game 4 success.
Yankees at Mariners (-106, 7.5)
Seattle has to be mostly pleased with how second baseman Robinson Cano has been playing this season in the first year of his $240 million contract. Cano is second in the AL in hitting at .333, although his power (two home runs) has disappeared in the vastness of Safeco Field. This will be Cano's last shot at his former Yankees teammates this season. New York starts Chase Whitley (1-0, 2.42). He recorded his first big-league win last time out, holding the Royals to two runs over seven innings. Whitley has never faced Seattle. Another rookie, Roenis Elias, starts for the M's. Elias (5-4, 3.64) had one of his best outings of the year on May 1 at the Yankees, allowing two runs over seven innings and striking out a season-high 10.
Key trends: Seattle is 4-1 in Elias' past five against teams with a winning record. New York is 11-3 in its past 14 on the road against lefties.
Early lean: Go Yanks. They at least know Elias while the M's have never seen Whitley.
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