Five to Follow MLB Betting: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 7/1/2014
You know the drill: Anytime a pitcher throws a no-hitter, I must address his next start on the very unlikely chance that he matches the consecutive no-nos by Cincinnati's Johnny Vander Meer in the summer of 1938. Of course, this time I'm talking about the Giants' Tim Lincecum. You can actually bet on Sportsbook.ag's daily MLB player specials on whether a pitcher will throw a no-hitter on that day. Pays off at a cool +8000. A perfect game? +35000. Here's a look at Lincecum's matchup and four others on Tuesday.
Brewers at Blue Jays (-130, 9.5)
You have to love those random day games on an unexpected day like Tuesday, and that's the case when Milwaukee visits Toronto. It's a holiday -- Canada Day -- north of the border. The Brewers are hopeful that stud outfielder Carlos Gomez will play. He sat out Sunday with a neck sprain, and then Milwaukee was off Monday, so team thinks he will go. Shortstop Jean Segura is iffy, however, after also sitting Sunday with quad cramps. Youngster Drew Hutchison starts for Toronto. Hutchison (5-6, 4.00) has lost two straight starts, allowing four runs in each. He has never faced the Brewers. Marco Estrada starts for the Brew Crew. Estrada (7-4, 5.06) had been roughed up over his past several starts before holding the Nats to two runs over 6.1 innings last time out. Jose Reyes is a career .364 hitter off him.
Key trends: The Brewers are 6-1 in their past seven against righty starters. The Jays are 1-5 in Hutchison's past six at home.
Early lean: Gomez and Segura are two of the Brewers' best players, so that's a huge advantage for the Jays if both sit. They are the pick.
Rockies at Nationals (-252, 7.5)
I'm of the belief that Washington will start to take control of the NL East with the return of outfielder Bryce Harper from his long DL stint on Monday night. Well, I believe that if Tuesday's starting pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, gets right. Strasburg (6-6, 3.70) is officially a bit overrated. He has lost three straight starts and was hammered for seven runs and eight hits over 4.2 innings in his last outing by the Brewers. Supposedly he and the Washington pitching coach have found a mechanical flaw and addressed it. We'll see. The Rockies counter with Christian Friedrich (0-2, 8.10). The lefty obviously hasn't been good in his two starts this season, but those were both against the Brewers. A few Nationals have faced him. Adam LaRoche has a homer in two at-bats.
Key trends: Colorado is 0-8 in Friedrich's past eight against teams with a winning record. Washington is 1-10 in Strasburg's past 11 Tuesday starts.
Early lean: While I don't really trust Strasburg at that massive price, Friedrich hasn't been very good. Maybe lean Rockies at +105 on the runline.
Rays at Yankees (+110, 7.5)
The price to trade for David Price continues to go up. The lefty was brilliant in June, striking out at least 10 batters in all five starts, although the struggling Rays lost three of them. The last pitcher with five straight starts of at least 10 strikeouts was Minnesota's Johan Santana from June 20-July 11, 2004. Price (6-7, 3.63) has struggled against the Yanks this year, going 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in two starts. He is 5-2 with a 3.93 ERA in 11 career starts at the new Yankee Stadium. Brian McCann is 4-for-8 with two dingers off him. The Bombers start Hiroki Kuroda (5-5, 4.23). He faced the Rays on April 18, allowing three runs over 5.2 innings in a no-decision. Matt Joyce is 6-for-16 with three solo homers off Kuroda.
Key trends: Tampa has lost six straight Tuesday games. The Yanks are 12-3 in Kuroda's past 15 at home against teams with a losing record. The "over" is 5-0 in Price's past five at the Yankees.
Early lean: Yanks are great home value as a dog against a pitcher they know very well.
Mets at Braves (-159, 7.5)
The Mets don't believe that third baseman David Wright will have to head to the disabled list as he has been diagnosed with a bruised right rotator cuff, but he won't play at all in this series. He hasn't played since June 26. That's probably fine with Braves pitcher Mike Minor (2-5, 4.50) as Wright has two career dingers off him. The lefty was very uneven in June with two pretty good starts and two lousy ones, finishing with an ERA of 5.90 in the month. Minor hasn't faced the Mets this year. Daisuke Matsuzaka goes for New York. Dice-K (3-2, 3.23) allowed a season-high five runs in his last start, coming against the Pirates. Freddie Freeman is 2-for-4 with a homer and five RBIs off him.
Key trends: New York is 4-1 in its past five on the road against lefties. Atlanta has won four straight against right-handers. The under has hit in five of the past eight meetings.
Early lean: A Freeman home-run prop and Braves victory.
Cardinals at Giants (-118, 7.5)
Unfortunately Lincecum isn't facing the Padres again, the team he no-hit in his last start and also the club he did it to last year. He is the 27th pitcher with at least two career no-hitters and fourth active along with Homer Bailey, Mark Buehrle and Justin Verlander. Lincecum allowed Cincinnati eight runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings in his first start following his initial no-hitter last year, but he also threw a crazy amount of pitches in that one and just 113 last week. Lincecum is 5-1 with a 2.89 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals but hasn't faced them since 2011. The Cardinals also will have top prospect Oscar Taveras in the lineup as he was called back up from Triple-A. Rookie Marco Gonzales (0-0, 9.00 ERA) makes his second start for St. Louis. The lefty's first came in Colorado, allowing five runs in five innings.
Key trends: The Cardinals have won four straight following an off day. San Francisco is just 2-12 in its past 14 at home. The "under" is 7-1 in San Francisco's past eight at home against left-handers.
Early lean: Go "under" at -120. The Cards aren't hitting right now and the Giants don't know Gonzales.
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