Five to Follow MLB Betting: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 6/24/2014
If you follow these stories at all during the season, you know I am obligated to talk about a pitcher in his first start following a no-hitter and whether we will ever see consecutive no-nos again to match the amazing feat of Cincinnati's Johnny Vander Meer in June 1938. How good was Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in his no-hitter of Colorado last Wednesday? The two-time Cy Young winner was the first player in baseball history with 15 strikeouts and without allowing either a hit or walk. He goes against the Royals on Tuesday. Here's a look at that game and four others.
Dodgers at Royals (+130, 7)
Of course, the other no-hitter this season also came by the Dodgers' Josh Beckett on May 25. Kershaw's came 24 days after that, marking the shortest span between no-hitters by one team since Vander Meer's remarkable outings on June 11 and 15, 1938. It should have been a perfect game for Kershaw, but shortstop Hanley Ramirez blew a simple throw in the top of the seventh inning. Amazingly, Kershaw has never faced Kansas City. The Dodgers have won his past four starts, in which Kershaw has allowed a total of four runs. Fellow lefty Danny Duffy (4-6, 2.80) opposes Kershaw. Duffy held the Tigers to two runs on three hits over seven innings last time out but lost. He's 1-2 with a 4.37 ERA at home this year.
Key trends: L.A. has won five straight against lefty starters. The Royals are 7-2 in Duffy's past nine at home. The "over" is 5-2 in Kershaw's past seven interleague starts.
Early lean: Kershaw has it going right now. Take L.A. and the under.
Yankees at Blue Jays (-140, 9)
Sunday was a rough game for the Blue Jays as both infielder Brett Lawrie and outfielder Jose Bautista left early with injuries. Bautista (.305, 15 HRs, 49 RBIs) isn't expected to play for a little while with a hamstring strain -- may not need a disabled list stint -- but Lawrie is for sure out until likely the All-Star Break as he has been placed on the disabled list with a fractured right index finger. Lawrie is hitting .244 with 12 homers and 38 knocked in. Juan Francisco likely will resume his spot as the team's starting third baseman during Lawrie's absence. So it's an easier lineup for David Phelps (3-4, 3.86) to deal with. He faced the Jays on Thursday, allowing two runs over seven innings in a win. Mark Buehrle starts for Toronto. Buehrle (10-4, 2.32) pitched Wednesday at the Yankees, allowing three runs over six innings. The Jays have lost his past three.
Key trends: New York is 1-5 in Phelps' past six on the road. Toronto is 4-1 in Buehrle's past five at home. The Jays are 0-5 in his past five against New York.
Early lean: Take a shot on Phelps against that depleted Toronto lineup.
A's at Mets (+126, 7)
This is an interesting matchup because it's Scott Kazmir for Oakland and Bartolo Colon for the Mets. The A's made no effort to re-sign Colon after his terrific 2013 season in Oakland and instead signed the free-agent Kazmir. It has turned out a wise choice as Kazmir (9-2, 2.08) has been one of the best pitchers in baseball. He hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of his past eight starts. The A's have won seven of them. Colon (7-5, 3.88) has been hot and cold. He was very good last time out, holding the Cardinals to a run and four hits over eight innings. He also got a hit, his first since 2005 (0-for-43).
Key trends: The A's are 7-1 in Kazmir's past eight road starts. The Mets have lost seven straight interleague home games. The "under" has hit in seven of the Mets' past nine.
Early lean: Colon will be pitching this one with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. The Mets are nice value as home dogs.
Pirates at Rays (-136, 7)
Pittsburgh will welcome one of its key pieces back Tuesday as second baseman Neil Walker is expected to be activated from the disabled list. The underrated Walker (.280, 11 HRs, 35 RBIs) hasn't played since June 8 due to an appendectomy. Walker has never faced Rays starter Chris Archer (4-4, 3.14). Tampa had lost four straight of Archer's outings before he blanked Houston over 6.2 innings in his last start. He is 3-1 with a 2.16 ERA at home this year. Jeff Locke goes for Pittsburgh. Locke (0-1, 3.76) has allowed just four runs over 14 innings in his past two starts, both Pirates wins. He has never faced the Rays.
Key trends: The Pirates are 7-3 in their past 10 road games. Tampa Bay is 10-1 in its past 11 interleague home games against teams with a losing record. The "under" is 6-1 in Archer's past seven starts.
Early lean: The Pirates will see why Archer is one of the best young pitchers in the AL. Take the Rays at +155 on the runline.
Tigers at Rangers (+111, 9.5)
Two teams going in opposite directions as the Tigers bring a four-game winning streak into Tuesday's series opener, while the Rangers continue to sink in the AL West and have lost five straight. This will be the first game back in Texas for Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler. He was acquired this offseason in the Prince Fielder deal. On his way out of town, Kinsler said he hoped the Rangers would go 0-162 this season, so it will be interesting to hear the crowd as Kinsler was a popular player while there. Kinsler will first face off against Rangers starter Colby Lewis (5-4, 5.97). He pitched in Detroit on May 25 and allowed two runs in 5.2 innings. Kinsler is 0-for-6 all-time off his former teammate. Victor Martinez is 7-for-14 off Lewis with three RBIs. Lefty Drew Smyly (3-6, 3.48) starts for Detroit. He has allowed two runs or less in three straight starts, but Detroit lost two of them.
Key trends: Detroit is 1-8 in Smyly's past nine starts against teams with a losing record. The Rangers have lost eight straight Tuesday games. The "over" is 4-0 in the past four meetings.
Early lean: Texas ends its skid and roughs up Smyly.
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