Five to Follow MLB Betting: Thursday, June 19, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 6/19/2014
One of the best pitching prospects in baseball -- and considered the top lefty prospect in the minors -- will make his big-league debut on Thursday. That would be the Marlins' Andrew Heaney, the team's first-round pick in the 2012 draft. Could Heaney have an effect on Miami the way rookie Wil Myers did last season with the Tampa Bay Rays? Myers also debuted nearly a year to the day and was key in leading Tampa to the playoffs. It's obviously a bit easier for a position player to do so. Here's a look at Thursday's Marlins matchup and four others.
Mets at Marlins (-110, 7)
The Marlins continue to hang around the top of the NL East despite losing phenom Jose Fernandez for the season back in early May. Miami dumped veteran Randy Wolf to open a spot for Heaney, who almost surely will be a major upgrade from Wolf. Heaney was 3-0 with a 2.74 ERA in four starts in Triple-A and 4-2 with a 2.35 ERA in Double-A this season. The Marlins are really going to be something perhaps as early as next year if Fernandez comes back 100 percent. Zack Wheeler (2-7, 4.38) goes for the Mets. They have lost Wheeler's past three starts. He has owned the Marlins this year despite a 0-0 record as he has a 0.75 ERA in two starts. Giancarlo Stanton is 1-for-7 with two strikeouts off him. Stanton left Wednesday's game with wrist contusion and might have to sit out this one.
Key trends: The Mets are 1-6 in Wheeler's past seven road starts against teams with a winning record. New York has lost five straight in Miami, and they have all gone "under."
Early lean: The Mets have been lousy in June, and Heaney sure looks like the real deal. Take the Marlins.
Braves at Nationals (-145, 7.5)
Perhaps the series of the weekend opens Thursday night in D.C. as the Nationals host Atlanta. This series will be the last time the NL East rivals play until mid-August. The Braves lead the season series 5-1 and start Gavin Floyd (1-2, 2.98). Floyd is 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA this month. He hasn't faced Washington yet. Denard Span will be happy about the matchup as he's 17-for-38 with four doubles and four RBIs off Floyd in his career. Jordan Zimmermann (5-3, 2.98) gets the call for Washington. He has been great his past three starts, allowing just one run over 25 innings. That run was a solo homer and led to a 1-0 loss in St. Louis last time out. He opened the season against Atlanta and allowed a run over five innings.
Key trends: Atlanta is 1-6 in its past seven Thursday games. Washington is 5-1 in its past six series openers. The Braves have won 10 of their past 13 at Washington. The "over" is 5-2 in Zimmermann's past seven vs. Atlanta.
Early lean: Take Washington at +155 on the runline.
Phillies at Cardinals (-188, 8)
St. Louis is by far the biggest favorite on the board Thursday. The Cardinals are playing well despite a loss Wednesday and perhaps ready to make their move to unseat Milwaukee atop the NL Central. Shelby Miller (7-5, 3.42) goes for the Cards. They have won his past two starts, in which Miller has allowed a total of one run and seven hits over 15.2 innings. He is 3-3 with a 3.74 ERA at home. Rookie David Buchanan takes the hill for Philly. Buchanan (2-3, 5.97) is 0-2 with an 8.25 ERA in two road starts. Thus, you can see why the Phillies are the top 'dogs.
Key trends: The Cardinals have won six straight against right-handers. They are 8-2 in Miller's past 10 at home against teams with a losing record. The "under" is 10-1 in Miller's past 11 vs. the NL East.
Early lean: "Under" at +100.
Royals at Tigers (-149, 8)
How about those Royals? They go for a shocking four-game sweep in Detroit on Thursday. Kansas City has won 10 straight for the first time since winning 14 in a row July 23-Aug. 5, 1994. The team is in first place this late in the season for the first time since 2003. Left-hander Danny Duffy (4-5, 2.83) takes the mound for the Royals. The team has won his past three outings, two of which Duffy didn't allow a run in. Duffy pitched four innings May 3 against Detroit, allowing a run over four innings but walking four. Anibal Sanchez looks to stop the bleeding for the Tigers. Sanchez (3-2, 2.44) hasn't personally lost in his six starts since returning from the DL in mid-May, but Detroit eventually lost four of those six. He hasn't faced the Royals this year.
Key trends: Kansas City is 8-0 in its past eight road games. The Tigers are 1-4 in Sanchez's past five home starts against teams with a winning record. The "under" is 4-1 in Sanchez's past five against K.C.
Early lean: Go Detroit at +135 on the runline. The Tigers are not going to want to be embarrassed at home and win in a rout.
White Sox at Twins (-103, 8.5)
Minnesota starts journeyman Yohan Pino for this game, with him taking the rotation spot of a struggling Samuel Deduno. You have to root for a guy like Pino, a 30-year-old who will be making his big-league debut after more than 1,200 innings pitched in the minors. He deserves the call up, going 9-1 with a 1.92 ERA at Triple-A this season. Opponents have hit just .187 off the right-hander from Venezuela. The White Sox go with Colombian lefty Jose Quintana (3-7, 3.98). He hasn't been good of late, allowing 15 runs over 16.1 innings in his past three, all White Sox losses. He opened the season against the Twins, allowing two earned over six innings. Joe Mauer is 7-for-15 career with two homers off Quintana.
Key trends: The White Sox are 2-5 in Quintana's past seven road starts. Minnesota is 1-4 in its past five series openers. Chicago has won seven of the past nine meetings.
Early lean: It's too good of a story for Pino not to win. Go Twins.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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