Five to Follow MLB Betting: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 5/12/2014
The last time Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole faced the Milwaukee Brewers, we were treated to the biggest brawl of the season -- perhaps the biggest in the past few years. Will there be any carry over from that to Tuesday's game when Cole faces the Brew Crew again? Surely the umpires will be on high alert. Here's a look at that matchup and four other interesting games on the schedule.
Tigers at Orioles (-105, 8.5)
It was a good news/bad news weekend for the Baltimore Orioles. The good was that first baseman Chris Davis was activated off the disabled list Sunday, spending the minimum time necessary there with a strained muscle near his ribcage. He was 2-for-4 with two strikeouts in his return. The bad was that catcher Matt Wieters was placed on the DL with elbow trouble that still could require surgery. Wieters is batting .308 with five homers and 18 RBIs. Detroit-Baltimore could be an AL playoff preview as both lead their respective divisions. I tend to think the Tigers will stay there but not the Birds. Detroit starts lefty Drew Smyly (2-2, 2.96) against the Orioles' Ubaldo Jimenez (2-4, 4.73). Smyly pitched three innings of scoreless relief in early April vs. Baltimore. Davis is 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against him. Jimenez hasn't faced Detroit this year. After a slow start he has allowed just an earned run in his past two outings.
Key trends: The Tigers are 1-5 in Smyly's past six starts. The "under" is 9-2-1 in Baltimore's past 12 at home against lefties.
Early lean: The O's aren't great against lefties, so take Detroit.
Indians at Blue Jays (-123, 9)
This game has the highest total on the board, although the under is a -120 favorite. The Tribe start ace Justin Masterson (2-1, 3.86). He has been very inconsistent this season, but the Indians have won his past two starts. Masterson faced Toronto on April 18 and allowed two runs, striking out a season-high nine, over 6.1 innings. Melky Cabrera will be salivating to face Masterson as Cabrera is 15-for-27 off him with a homer. Toronto goes with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (3-3, 4.72). He hasn't faced Cleveland this year but has a 3.06 ERA at home compared to 8.22 away. Asdrubal Cabrera is 3-for-6 with two homers off Dickey.
Key trends: Cleveland is 2-8 in its past 10 road games. It is 0-6 in Masterson's past six against the AL East. Toronto is 6-1 in Dickey's past seven at home.
Early lean: A Cabrera hitting prop and the under.
Cubs at Cardinals (-250, 7)
St. Louis is by far the biggest favorite on the board Tuesday and in fact the only team shorter than -170 on the moneyline. I'm a bit surprised at how big a favorite St. Louis is because Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta (0-0, 2.89) has been solid. He also pitched 5.1 shutout innings against the Cardinals on May 3. Jhonny Peralta is 4-for-8 with two doubles off him. The Cardinals start Adam Wainwright (6-2, 2.02). His worst start of the season was May 2 against the Cubs, allowing six runs and 10 hits over five innings. Anthony Rizzo is 6-for-18 with a home run off Wainwright.
Key trends: The Cubs are 5-0 in Arrieta's past five starts. The Cardinals have lost five straight Game 2s of a series. The "over" is 4-1 in Wainwright's past five against the Cubs.
Early lean: Take the Cubs at +105 on the runline.
Pirates at Brewers (-109, 7.5)
Milwaukee is expected to activate Ryan Braun off the disabled list for Tuesday's game but likely will have to put third baseman Aramis Ramirez on it. He strained his left hamstring in Saturday's game. Also monitor the status of Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez. He has appealed his three-game suspension for his role in that bench-clearing brawl, and word could come down any day now. He'll have to sit when it does as I'm sure it won't be wiped away. The Pirates start Cole (3-2, 3.64). He held the Brewers to a run in eight innings on April 20 in that brawl game. Gomez flipped his bat watching what he thought was a home run, but it hit the wall and he ended up with a triple. That got Cole angry. You can bet both sides will be warned about possible paybacks in this one. The Brewers start Marco Estrada (2-1, 3.53). He also pitched in that game, allowing a run over six innings.
Key trends: Pittsburgh is 1-10 in its past 11 road games against righty starters. The Brewers are 1-4 in their past five against teams with a losing record. The over is 4-0 in the Brewers' past four series openers.
Early lean: Brewers could be down two of their best hitters if that suspension comes down. Cole will be fired up to face Milwaukee. Take Pittsburgh.
Braves at Giants (-118, 6.5)
Bad news for the NL West-leading Giants as first baseman Brandon Belt will be lost for perhaps six weeks after surgery to repair a fractured left thumb. He was hit by a pitch there on Friday night. Belt is hitting .264 with a team-leading nine home runs. That depleted lineup faces Atlanta left-hander Mike Minor (0-2, 6.97) on Tuesday. He made his season debut May 2 against the Giants and allowed two runs, both homers, on seven hits over six innings. Michael Morse, who most nights will play first with Belt out, is 6-for-12 with a homer off Minor. San Francisco starts Ryan Vogelsong (1-1, 3.93). He allowed a run over six innings in Atlanta on May 3. Freddie Freeman is 5-for-13 with two dingers off Vogelsong.
Key trends: Atlanta is 9-1 in Minor's past 10 against the NL West. The Giants are 7-0 in their past seven against southpaws. The under is 11-2-1 in San Francisco's past 14 against lefties.
Minor is better than his numbers. Take Atlanta.
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