Five to Follow MLB Betting: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 8/12/2014
If you would have asked me a month ago, or, shoot, even two weeks ago, I would have said the Detroit Tigers were the biggest division locks in baseball. However, they are sputtering a bit with the Kansas City Royals red hot and just a half game out of the Central lead entering this week. The Royals are still +250 at Sportsbook.ag to win the division, with the Tigers at -700. However, Detroit lost two key players to injury over the weekend in pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Joakim Soria. Here's a look at Kansas City's game Tuesday and four others of interest.
A's at Royals (+129, 7.5)
Kansas City swept Arizona and San Francisco last week and has now won six straight series entering this potential playoff preview against Oakland. The Royals took two of three from the A's on the West Coast from Aug. 1-3. Sunday the Royals beat Tim Lincecum, marking their fifth win this season over a former Cy Young winner. They are doing all this without one of their best offensive players in Eric Hosmer, who hasn't played since July 31 and is still at least a few weeks away. It's hard not to root for the Royals with how long it's been since they played postseason baseball. If they win Tuesday it will be well deserved as the A's start Jon Lester (12-7, 2.44). He is getting into the Cy Young conversation. Lester has won both starts with Oakland and is 6-0 with a 1.21 ERA in his last 10 outings overall. Alex Gordon struggles against him, going 3-for-22 with eight strikeouts. Jeremy Guthrie (8-9, 4.35) pitched Kansas City's first complete game of the season last time out in Arizona. In Oakland the start before that, he shut out the A's over six innings.
Key trends: The Royals have won four straight against left-handers. They are 4-1 in Guthrie's past five against teams with a winning record. The "over" is 4-0 in his past four at home.
Early lean: Lester has been terrific, but getting the Royals at that price at home is too good to pass up.
Diamondbacks at Indians (-146, 8)
Cleveland is hanging around the fringes of the AL Central and wild-card races, but you can probably stick a fork in the Tribe after they lost Nick Swisher (8 HRs, 42 RBIs) and David Murphy (.262, 7 HRs, 55 RBIs) to the DL over the weekend. Cleveland lefty T.J. House starts Tuesday's interleague series opener against the Snakes. House (1-3, 4.13) has a 2.45 ERA in two starts since being brought back up from Triple-A. He has never faced Arizona. The Diamondbacks' Josh Collmenter (8-6, 4.09) has allowed three earned in each of his past two starts. He hasn't won since July 20. Collmenter beat the Indians on June 24 with a scoreless 14th inning of relief.
Key trends: Arizona is 0-5 in Collmenter's past five interleague starts. The Indians are 12-3 in their past 15 interleague home games vs. right-handed starters. The over is 7-1 in Cleveland's past eight on Tuesday.
Early lean: Arizona is good value here against a depleted Tribe lineup.
Dodgers at Braves (-130, 7.5)
Oft-injured Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez is hurt again, landing on the disabled list over the weekend with a strained oblique that could keep him out the rest of this month. He's hitting .277 with 12 homers and 58 RBIs, and there's huge offensive drop off with his replacements (Miguel Rojas or Darwin Barney). Dan Haren (9-9, 4.57) gets the call here for L.A. and he might have been close to losing his rotation spot before beating the Angels last week, allowing a run over 6.1 innings. The Dodgers had lost his previous five starts. Atlanta's B.J. Upton has five solo homers career off Haren in 36 at-bats. The Braves' Mike Minor (4-7, 5.42) is also on shaky ground. The team skipped the lefty's last start. Adrian Gonzalez is 3-for-5 with a homer off Minor.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 13-3 in their past 16 vs. lefties. Atlanta is 7-3 in Minor's past 10 at home vs. teams with a winning record. The Braves are 1-4 in Minor's past five vs. L.A.
Early lean: Don't trust either pitcher, so go over at -120.
Rockies at Padres (-145, 7.5)
Well you knew this was coming: Colorado outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (.238, 11 HRs, 38 RBIs) is back on the disabled list, joining his star and equally fragile teammate Troy Tulowitzki. The Rockies might as well shut both down at this point. No one in Denver would notice with the Broncos now playing. Needless to say, the Rockies are going to be a horrible bet most nights the rest of the way. Padres rookie Odrisamer Despaigne (2-3, 3.10) could have his way against that lineup Tuesday. After a great start to his career, the Cuban has been hit around in his past three outings, however. This will be his first go against Colorado. Lefty Yohan Flande (0-4, 5.77) looks for his first career victory, and he has never faced San Diego.
Key trends: The Padres are 4-1 in their past five vs. lefties. The under has hit in 12 of San Diego's past 16 at home against southpaws.
Early lean: Padres at +155 on the runline.
Rays at Rangers (+108, 9.5)
The Texas Rangers would still like to trade outfielder Alex Rios, and he has cleared waivers. However, he might miss a few days now after aggravating a sprained right ankle in the fourth inning of Sunday's game. Rios (.294, 4 HRs, 46 RBIs) would have decent value to a contender. The Rangers' Nick Tepesch (4-7, 4.46) looks to win back-to-back starts for the first time since April. He blanked the White Sox on six hits over 5.2 innings in his last start. He hasn't faced the Rays this year. Desmond Jennings is 2-for-4 with two doubles career off him. Tampa Bay's Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 2.61) had his best start of the season last time out, albeit only his fourth start of the season, in holding the A's to a run and two hits over seven innings. The Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo is 3-for-8 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Rays are 6-1 in Hellickson's past seven against teams with a losing record. Texas has won just three of its past 16 on Tuesday. The under is 4-1 in Tepesch's past five at home. The Rays are 1-4 in Hellickson's past five vs. Texas.
Early lean: It's the highest total on the board, and it's too high. These aren't your normal Rangers at home in the summer. Under at -125.
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