Five to Follow MLB Betting: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Trevor Whenham - 4/21/2014
I'm getting a bit tired of leading this story every five days with the Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka, but the guy has lived up to the hype thus far, so until he struggles he really leaves me no choice. He takes the mound Tuesday in Boston. Here's a look at that and four other interesting matchups on the schedule.
Orioles at Blue Jays (-120, 9)
Don't expect to see Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy in the starting lineup for this one, and it has nothing to do with his dissatisfaction of not being able to come to terms with the team on a contract extension. He suffered a mild strain of his hamstring in Sunday night's game at Fenway Park and sat out Monday. Ryan Flaherty started for Hardy on Monday. That's a major downgrade even with Hardy scuffling a bit. The O's might be pretty tired here, having to play Sunday night and then an 11 a.m. start Monday in Boston before flying to Toronto. They start Miguel Gonzalez (1-1, 6.28) against R.A. Dickey (1-3, 6.26). Neither has faced the opposing team this year. The Blue Jays took two of three in Baltimore from April 11-13. Colby Rasmus hit the O's hard in that series, batting .333 with two homers and four RBIs.
Key trends: The Orioles are 0-6 in Gonzalez's past six starts vs. teams with a winning record. Toronto is 4-0 in its past four series openers. The “under” is 4-1 in the past five meetings in Toronto.
Early lean: I do believe that schedule will take a bit of a toll on the O's, so lean the Jays, who were off Monday. Like the over with two struggling pitchers.
Yankees at Red Sox (-116, 8)
What more can be said about Tanaka? At this point he has been worth every penny. The righty had his best start so far last time out, blanking the Cubs on two hits (both bunts) over eight innings and striking out 10. His 28 strikeouts are the most for a Yankees pitcher in his first three career starts and tied for the third-most for any pitcher through his first three big-league games since 1900. This will be his first taste of the Red Sox rivalry, although New York took three of four from Boston April 10-13 at Yankee Stadium. Tanaka just missed pitching in that series. The Sox start their ace, Jon Lester, who will want Tanaka-type money this offseason as a free agent. Lester (2-2, 2.17) pitched at the Yankees on April 11 and allowed two runs and six hits over 6.2 innings. Derek Jeter is a career .333 hitter off him. Ichiro could be in the lineup as he's a career .333 hitter off Lester as well.
Key trends: The Yankees are 5-0 in their past five series openers. The Sox are 1-5 in their past six series openers. The under is 4-0 in Lester's past four starts against the Yankees.
Early lean: Shocked the total is so high here: Heavy lean on the under.
White Sox at Tigers (-145, 7)
When will the Detroit Tigers sign free agent shortstop Stephen Drew like everyone expects them to? No contender has a bigger screaming need for a shortstop than Detroit does. On Sunday the Tigers waived Alex Gonzalez, who started Opening Day at the position for them. So now Detroit is going with a comical platoon of Austin Romine and Danny Worth there. Detroit shortstops are hitting .200 with two RBIs this season entering Monday. Just add Drew already. This is a great pitching matchup Tuesday in White Sox ace Chris Sale (3-0, 2.30) against Tigers co-ace Justin Verlander (2-1, 2.08). Sale, who is from the Tigers' Spring Training home of Lakeland, was 3-1 with a 1.83 ERA last year against Detroit. He totally dominates Austin Jackson, who is 2-for-30 with 12 strikeouts off Sale. Victor Martinez, on the other hand, is 12-for-22 off Sale. Verlander was 0-2 with a 5.54 ERA against Chicago in 2013. Adam Dunn has three homers off him but also 11 strikeouts in 25 at-bats.
Key trends: The White Sox are 1-5 in Sale's past six road starts against teams with a winning record. Detroit is 10-1 in its past 11 against lefty starters entering Monday. Detroit is 12-3 in Verlander's past 15 against the Pale Hose.
Early lean: Under!
Cardinals at Mets (+141, 6.5)
The New York Mets are on their third closer of the young season: veteran right-hander Kyle Farnsworth. He replaces an ineffective Jose Valverde, who replaced an injured Bobby Parnell. Farnsworth has been around forever but has only 54 career saves -- he's largely been a set-up guy -- and didn't even make the Mets out of Spring Training. Valverde allowed four home runs in his past three appearances. Ask any Tigers fans if he's a dependable ninth-inning guy. New York manager Terry Collins also has moved struggling Curtis Granderson out of the cleanup spot in the order, replaced by Daniel Murphy. The Mets start Dillon Gee (1-0, 3.71) against Adam Wainwright (3-1, 1.80). Allen Craig likes facing Gee, going 4-for-8 with a homer off him. Wainwright threw a complete-game two-hitter last time out against Washington. Murphy is 6-for-11 career off Wainwright with three extra-base hits.
Key trends: The Mets are 1-8 in Gee's past nine Tuesday starts. The “over” has hit in all of those. Maybe they shouldn't pitch him on Tuesdays? St. Louis is 1-4 in Wainwright's past five against the Mets.
Early lean: Can't go against Wainwright.
Padres at Brewers (-141, 8)
Keep an eye on the status of Brewers star outfielder Carlos Gomez for this game and maybe the rest of this week. He was essentially to blame for the brawl in Sunday's game against the Pirates, doing a big-time bat flip on what he thought was a home run but ended up banging off the fence. A suspension is coming, but Gomez also can play while he appeals should he choose to do so. Gomez (.312, five HRs, 12 RBIs) is having another strong season. Should Gomez play, he will face Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy (1-3, 4.13). He made two starts against Milwaukee a season ago and was 0-1 with a 6.57 ERA. Gomez is 2-for-6 with two RBIs off him. Ryan Braun bats .333 with a homer off Kennedy. The Brewers start ace Yovani Gallardo (2-0, 1.46). San Diego's Chase Headley is a career .353 hitter off him with a home run.
Key trends: The Padres are 1-5 in Kennedy's past six starts after he had a quality start in his previous outing. The Brewers are 5-1 in Gallardo's past six Tuesday starts. The over is 4-0 in Gallardo's past four home starts vs. San Diego.
Early lean: Take the Brewers and on the runline at +165 as well.
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