Five to Follow MLB Betting: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 7/28/2014
I don't know about you, but this is my favorite non-playoff week of baseball season. The trade rumors are flying about all over the place (David Price now off the market, but Jon Lester on it?) with the deadline Thursday at 4 p.m. Eastern. It's fair to say theMLB futures for some contenders will shift pretty dramatically between now and then. Here's a look at five interesting matchups on Tuesday.
White Sox at Tigers (-176, 8)
Every time you think that the Detroit Tigers are going to pull away in the AL Central -- and they still do have the biggest division lead in baseball and are huge -1500 favorites -- they float back to the pack. It's almost as if they get comfortable and lack a sense of urgency. They'll still win it because the Indians (+700) and Royals (+500) aren't any good. Anibal Sanchez takes the mound Tuesday. Sanchez (7-4, 3.45) was roughed up last time out, allowing 11 hits and five runs over 6.1 innings, but he still won. He has alternated wins and losses in the past four. He eats Adam Dunn's lunch, striking him out 16 times in 33 at-bats. It's Mr. No-Decision for the White Sox, lefty Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.15). He has a 2-0 record with a 1.70 ERA over his last seven starts. Quintana is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts this year against Detroit. Miguel Cabrera is 6-for-17 with a homer and three RBIs career off him.
Key trends: The White Sox are 2-11 in Quintana's past 13 against teams with a winning record. Detroit is 1-6 in its past seven at home vs. teams with a losing road record. The "over" is 6-1 in the past seven meetings in Detroit.
Early lean: Chicago is great value here at +166 with how good Quintana has been and the funk Detroit is dealing with.
A's at Astros (+197, 8.5)
It's a good thing that Oakland starter Jeff Samardzija has been good for the team because the guy who came over with him from the Cubs, Jason Hammel, has not. Samardzija is on the mound Tuesday in Houston. He is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in four starts with the A's. This will be his second straight start against Houston. He allowed just a run and five hits vs. the Astros on Thursday. The Astros go with Scott Feldman, who started against Samardzija that day and allowed six runs and nine hits in 5.1 innings. Houston has lost his past four outings. Feldman won't have to worry about facing A's outfielder Coco Crisp. He's expected to at least miss this series with a sore neck. . He was hitting .308 over his previous 40 games.
Key trends: The Astros are 1-6 in Feldman's past seven against teams with a winning record. The over is 5-1 in his past six at home.
Early lean: I took Samardzija last week against Feldman and I see no reason why to change now.
Braves at Dodgers (-146, 7)
For my money the series of the early week is this matchup between Atlanta and Los Angeles, a potential playoff preview. The Dodgers just put a spanking on the Giants with a weekend sweep to take a 1.5-game lead in the NL West. That jumped L.A. to -500 to win the division, which it will. Josh Beckett (6-5, 2.52) gets the call for this one. He was clearly rusty in his last start, lasting only 3.2 innings and allowing four runs to Pittsburgh in his first outing in 15 days. Atlanta's B.J. Upton has shown signs of late lately, but he doesn't hit Beckett well, going 7-for-37 with 12 strikeouts. Aaron Harang (9-6, 3.31) goes for the Braves. He has had six straight quality starts, but the Braves have lost his past two despite the fact he has allowed only two runs over 13 innings in them. I'm thinking an Adrian Gonzalez prop might be in order here. Gonzalez is 7-for-17 career off Harang with three home runs.
Key trends: Atlanta is 1-4 in its past five series openers. The Dodgers are 2-8 in Beckett's past 10 against teams with a winning record. The over is 5-0 in the past five meetings.
Early lean: Could this be a trap game for L.A. off a sweep of a bitter rival? I'm taking the chance it is.
Rockies at Cubs (-108, TBA)
Two bad teams, but this matchup is moderately interesting because both starting pitchers could be elsewhere by this weekend. I'd be stunned if lefty Jorge De La Rosa is still a Rockie after the July 31 deadline. He will become a free agent this winter, so there's no reason at all for Colorado to keep him. De La Rosa (11-6, 4.19) has rebuilt his value with four straight quality starts. He hasn't personally lost since June 18. The Cubs, meanwhile, would love to dump Edwin Jackson on someone, but they'd have to eat major money as he has two years left on his four-year, $52 million deal. He is durable, so some club might take a shot on him. The Cubs have lost the past four times Jackson (5-11, 5.76) has taken the mound. He might be the worst starter in the NL right now. Carlos Gonzalez punishes him, going 7-for-9 with six RBIs.
Key trends: Colorado is 6-1 in De La Rosa's past seven on Tuesday. The Cubs are 1-11 in Jackson's past 12 vs. the NL West. Colorado is 4-1 in De La Rosa's past five against the Cubs.
Early lean: Why on earth would the Cubs be favored in any game Jackson starts? Go Colorado and with a CarGo hitting prop.
Pirates at Giants (-127, 6.5)
If I'm a Giants fan I'm actually happy that my team just got swept over the weekend by the Dodgers. I think that result will force GM Brian Sabean to make a trade. There has been some talk of maybe Boston's Lester with the uncertainty around the health of Matt Cain. It's Tim Hudson in this one. Hudson (8-7, 2.65) lost to the Pirates on May 6 in Pittsburgh, despite allowing just an earned run over 8.2 innings. Lefty Francisco Liriano starts for the Pirates. Liriano (2-7, 4.18) has started to resemble his 2013 self, allowing just one earned run over his past two starts. He is 1-4 on the road despite a solid 3.28 ERA in seven starts.
Key trends: The Giants are 1-4 in their past five against a lefty. The under is 7-1 in Liriano's past eight on the road.
Early lean: There are no must-wins this time of year, but this is close for the Giants to avoid a major tailspin. They will.
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