Five to Follow MLB Betting: Thursday May 29, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 5/28/2014
So what would be more unlikely to happen the rest of this season: Another Dodger pitching a no-hitter, like Josh Beckett did Sunday, or Philadelphia's Ben Revere hitting a second home run? After 384 games and 1,466 at-bats, Revere finally hit his first major-league home run Tuesday night. It was the longest homerless streak to start a career since Frank Tavares of the Pirates went 1,594 at-bats without a homer from 1972-77. "When I got to second base, I didn't know what to do," Revere said of his dinger. Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa didn't get his first homer until his 1,745th plate appearance, and it was an inside-the-park homer. Here's a look at five interesting matchups on Thursday.
Tigers at Athletics (-133, 8)
Detroit has been in a bit of a funk after sweeping the Red Sox at Fenway Park on May 18. Maybe the team got too amped up for that series and payback for the ALCS and is still trying to regain its equilibrium. This will be the Tigers' final game in Oakland until possibly a playoff matchup, which has happened the past two years and looks quite likely again this fall. The Tigers start Rick Porcello (7-2, 3.88) in the series finale. He comes off by far his worst outing of the year, allowing eight runs and 12 hits in 5.1 innings against Texas. Last year, Porcello only faced Oakland in relief and threw two perfect innings. Oakland starts Jesse Chavez (4-2, 2.61). He might be coming back to earth with a 3.75 ERA in May. Miguel Cabrera is 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs off him.
Key trends: Detroit is 4-0 in Porcello's past four road starts. The "over" is 4-0 in his past four starts at Oakland.
Early lean: The league is figuring Chavez out. The Tigers are great value here at that price.
Mets at Phillies (-115, 8)
I just had to check: Revere has never faced Mets starter Zack Wheeler (1-5, 4.63) in his career, and Wheeler gets the call in this series opener. Wheeler, a big part of the Mets' future, was great in April but hasn't been in May. New York has lost four of his five starts, and he has a 5.33 ERA. He made two starts in 2013 against the Phillies and was 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA. Philadelphia starts one of its top young pitchers in David Buchanan, who continues to take the spot of the injured Cliff Lee. Buchanan made his big-league debut on May 24 and was solid, holding the Dodgers to two runs over five innings.
Key trends: The Mets are 2-5 in Wheeler's past seven road starts. The over has hit in six of his past eight away starts. The Mets are 5-0 in their past five in Philly.
Early lean: New York has never seen Buchanan, so the Phillies end that home skid in the series.
Braves at Red Sox (-114, 8)
Keep an eye on the Atlanta lineup for this series finale as two regulars, shortstop Andrelton Simmons and catcher Evan Gattis, may have to sit. Both are being called day-to-day, Simmons with right ankle inflammation that has bothered him for a while and Gattis with wrist trouble. Simmons has no defensive peer, while Gattis is second on the team with 10 home runs. He hasn't played since May 25, but X-rays were negative. Atlanta starts lefty Mike Minor (2-3, 3.90). He has had three straight quality starts but is prone to allow the long ball. Boston goes with Jake Peavy (1-2, 4.65). He has been terrible the past three starts, allowing 16 runs over 16.1 innings. Boston lost them all.
Key trends: Atlanta is 1-7 in Minor's past eight interleague starts. The Sox are 0-4 in Peavy's past four against teams with a winning record. The "under" has hit in seven of his past nine at home.
Early lean: Peavy rediscovers his stuff against a weaker NL lineup so go under here.
Royals at Blue Jays (-106, 8.5)
It's time to check in again on red-hot Toronto hitter Edwin Encarnacion, who has wrapped up AL Player of the Month honors. He tied a Blue Jays franchise record for any month with his 14th home run of May on Tuesday. Encarnacion went the first 19 games of the season without a dinger and had two in April overall. Encarnacion is a career .207 hitter with one homer in 29 at-bats off Royals starter James Shields (6-3, 2.95). Kansas City has won his past four starts even though they have gotten progressively worse. The Jays start R.A. Dickey (5-4, 3.95). He has had seven straight quality starts, and Toronto has won five of them. Royals second baseman Omar Infante is 16-for-31 career off Dickey with two homers.
Key trends: Kansas City is 7-1 in Shields' past eight against teams with a winning record. The Jays are 5-0 in Dickey's past five at home.
Early lean: Surprised this total isn't 7.5, even with Toronto raking. Go under.
Pirates at Dodgers (-114, 7)
The Dodgers got good news and bad Tuesday. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez was a surprise return to the lineup off a calf injury that the team worried might lead to a DL stint. However, outfielder Carl Crawford rolled his ankle in the game, and he is headed to the DL. It might be a blessing in disguise, because Matt Kemp had been grumbling behind the scenes about not starting lately, so he now will with Crawford out. This is why the Dodgers kept four good outfielders: because Crawford and Kemp are injury-prone. Kemp and Co face Pirates ace Gerrit Cole (4-3, 3.76). He allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings last year in his only start against L.A. Yasiel Puig is 3-for-3 off Cole. Dan Haren starts for the Dodgers. Haren (5-3, 3.16) has been roughed up for 10 runs and 16 hits over 12 innings in his past two starts. Those were both on the road, however. He has a 2.39 ERA at home.
Key trends: The Dodgers have won five straight series openers. The under is 5-1 in the past six meetings between the teams in L.A.
Haren appears a different guy at home, so take the Dodgers.
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