Five to Follow MLB Betting: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 4/28/2014
If you bet on the "unders" Sunday you are likely still counting your money. Why? There were 10 starts in which a pitcher went at least seven innings and allowed three or fewer hits, the most in big-league history. Let's see if the hitters catch up a bit in Tuesday's full slate of games.
Tigers at White Sox (+143, 7.5)
Back in the spring, I wrote that I expected the White Sox's Jose Abreu to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Apparently I was selling the guy short because he's probably the AL MVP right now. Abreu leads the majors with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs entering this week, both rookie records for the month of April. Just for comparison, the best month that White Sox Hall of Famer Frank Thomas ever had was 13 home runs and 31 RBIs in August 2003. Abreu is 2-for-3 with a solo home run in his career off Tuesday's Detroit starter Justin Verlander (3-1, 2.18). He faced the Sox on April 22 and allowed two runs over seven innings in an 8-6 win. He's opposed by lefty Jose Quintana (1-2, 3.90). He pitched April 24 in Detroit and allowed three runs over six innings in a 7-4 loss. Miguel Cabrera is 4-for-14 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Tigers are 1-5 in their past six series openers. The Sox are 0-6 in Quintana's past six against teams with a winning record. The "over" is 6-1 in the past seven meetings.
Early lean: Tough to go against Verlander.
Pirates at Orioles (-138, 8.5)
The Orioles were hoping to work out a contract extension before this season with slugging first baseman Chris Davis, but he's represented by Scott Boras, and Boras almost always brings his guys to free agency. Davis may regret not getting something done as last season's 53-home campaign looks like a major fluke. Davis has just two dingers this year and was placed on the disabled list Sunday with an oblique injury. It will likely be longer than a 15-day stint. Davis had never faced Pittsburgh's Tuesday starter, Charlie Morton (0-3, 4.35). The team has lost his past three starts. Only a few Orioles have faced Morton. Delmon Young is 1-for-3 with a home run. Baltimore starts Chris Tillman (3-1, 3.38). He was rocked for a season-high seven runs and nine hits (three homers) in just 5.2 innings last time out in Toronto. Yet Tillman got the win.
Key trends: The Pirates are 3-13 in their past 16 against righty starters. The Orioles are 7-1 in their past eight after a loss. The under has hit in eight of Baltimore's past 11 at home.
Early lean: Tillman is far superior to Morton.
Braves at Marlins (-130, 6.5)
Is there any pitcher more fun to watch in baseball right now than Miami's Jose Fernandez? He utterly dominated the Braves last time out, matching a career high with 14 strikeouts while giving up no runs and three hits over eight innings. He's the fifth-youngest pitcher since 1900 with 14 strikeouts and no walks in a game. The record holder is Gary Nolan in 1967 at age 19 years and 11 days. Current Braves combined to hit just .158 off Fernandez. Freddie Freeman has had some success, going 3-for-9 with a homer. Meanwhile, Alex Wood was the tough-luck loser again for Atlanta vs. Fernandez. He allowed a run over eight innings. It was the second straight start in which Wood allowed only a run over eight and lost. The last pitcher to have that happen was Mike Norris in May 1980.
Key trends: The Marlins are 8-0 in their past eight home games vs. a lefty starter. The under is 10-2-1 in Wood's past 13 overall.
Early lean: Fernandez is even better at home. Under for sure.
Nationals at Astros (+148, 8)
I've said it before and will keep saying it: Guys need to stop sliding headfirst. Alas, Bryce Harper appears to know no other way to slide, and he was placed on the disabled list Sunday after hurting his thumb sliding headfirst into third base in Friday's game. There's a decent chance that Harper may have ligament damage and he could miss up to eight weeks. Harper is seeing a hand specialist on Monday. It's a shame because Harper was hitting .345 in his past 16 games. The Nats will go with a combination of Kevin Frandsen, Nate McLouth and Tyler Moore in Harper's place depending on matchups. Washington will also get the DH for Tuesday's game in Houston. The Nationals start lefty Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 3.00). Only a few Astros have seen him. Dexter Fowler is 3-for-6 with a dinger off him. Houston starts righty Jarred Cosart (1-2, 6.12). No Nationals player has faced him.
Key trends: Washington is 17-4 in Gonzalez's past 21 series openers. Houston is 0-7 in Cosart's past seven following a quality start in his last appearance. The "over" is 6-1 in Washington's past seven interleague games.
Early lean: The Nats and under as Gonzalez will keep the Astros in check.
Brewers at Cardinals (-145, 7.5)
Milwaukee will be down two of its best players for this game and perhaps a few more as outfielder Ryan Braun is dealing with a slight strain of his intercostal muscle and shortstop Jean Segura has a facial injury that happened when Braun hit him accidentally while taking a warm-up swing in the dugout. He's going to need some plastic surgery yet not go on the disabled list. Certainly St. Louis starter Lance Lynn (4-1, 3.30) won' t mind that those two are out. He suffered his first loss of the year last time out at the Mets. Lynn pitched in Milwaukee on April 14 and blanked the Brewers over seven innings, striking out a season-high 11. Braun is a career .308 hitter off him and Segura .538. The Brewers start former Cardinals Kyle Lohse (4-1, 2.38). He hasn't faced the Cards this year. Matt Holliday is a career .400 hitter off him in 20 at-bats. Yadier Molina is 9-for-16 with two home runs against Lohse.
Key trends: The Brewers are 9-1 in their past 10 road games against righty starters. The under is 10-1 in the Brewers' past 11 against teams with a winning record. St. Louis is 5-2 in Lynn's past seven against Milwaukee.
With no Braun or Segura, jump on the Cardinals on the runline.
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