Five to Follow MLB Betting: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 5/26/2014
Remember back when stolen bases were cool? The days of Tim Raines, Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman wreaking havoc on the basepaths? It's a lost art. On Sunday, Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon, who has been a huge surprise this season, stole his 30th base of the season in the team's 48th game. It's the fastest any major leaguer has stolen 30 in five years and the second-fastest in Dodgers history. Gordon has been caught only three times. Here's a look at Tuesday's Dodgers game and four other interesting matchups on the schedule.
Reds at Dodgers (-169, 6.5)
How good has L.A. starter Zack Greinke been? He allowed two runs or less (one earned this time) for the 22nd straight start last time out against the Mets, although the Dodgers lost the game. Technically, his amazing streak of 21 straight starts allowing two or fewer runs ended, which was the longest streak since at least 1914. But only one was earned, so his 22 in a row allowing two or fewer earned runs is a record. Greinke (7-1, 2.01) has not faced the Reds this year. Cincinnati starts Alfredo Simon (6-2, 2.31). He has been terrific on the road with a 1.05 ERA. Not many Dodgers have seen him previously.
Key trends: The Reds are 1-8 in their past nine Game 2s of a series. L.A. is 16-3 in Greinke's past 19 home starts. The "under" is 8-1 in Simon's past nine starts.
Early lean: Go under here even though it's tied for the lowest total.
Indians at White Sox (-165, 7.5)
Cleveland is expected to get one of its better players back off the disabled list on Tuesday in second baseman Jason Kipnis (.234, three HRs, 12 RBIs). He was a fantasy league stud the past two years, but you can see his numbers are a bit down thus far in 2014. He hasn't played since April 29 due to an oblique injury. Kipnis will return against one of the best pitchers in baseball in Chicago's Chris Sale (4-0, 1.89). He just returned from the DL and dominated the Yankees in his last start, giving up a hit and striking out 10 in six innings. He faced the Tribe April 11 and allowed three runs in five innings. Kipnis is 4-for-14 off him with two RBIs. Nick Swisher hits him well, going 5-for-15 with two homers. Cleveland starts Justin Masterson (2-3, 5.32). He has a 3.75 ERA in two starts against the Sox this year.
Key trends: Cleveland is 1-8 in its past nine road games against lefty starters. It is 8-0 in Masterson's past eight against the White Sox.
Early lean: Sale won't have a pitch limit this time. Take the Sox at +130 on the runline.
Red Sox at Braves (-105, 7)
As if Boston needed any more bad news, entering Monday on a 10-game skid, the franchise's longest since 1994, the Sox will be without Mike Napoli for the next 14 days, at least, as he was placed on the DL Sunday with a dislocated ring finger. I remember the play. It happened on April 15 as Napoli slid head first into second base and got up with his finger essentially at a 90-degree angle. He has a few other injuries as well, so it's really just a rest time for him. Napoli is hitting .260 with five homers and 22 RBIs. The Sox face Braves righty Aaron Harang (4-4, 3.32). He has come back to earth a bit after a fabulous start to the season. You can probably count on David Ross getting the start at catcher ahead of A.J. Pierzynski for this one. Ross is 4-for-12 with three home runs career off Harang. Boston starts lefty Jon Lester (4-6, 3.36). He allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 6.1 innings last time out against Toronto.
Key trends: Boston is 5-2 in Lester's past seven road starts. Atlanta is 4-1 in Harang's past five home starts. The under has hit in 11 of Lester's past 15 on the road.
Early lean: Boston's obviously not this bad. Lester begins to turn things around.
Orioles at Brewers (-125, 8)
Quick, tell me who leads the major leagues in home runs. I'm guessing you didn't answer Nelson Cruz. He has been an absolute steal for the Orioles, agreeing to a one-year, $8 million deal when he could have taken $14.1 million to stay with Texas. Cruz has gone deep nine times this month entering Monday. He is 0-for-3 in his career off Tuesday's Milwaukee starter Matt Garza (2-4, 4.92). He has allowed at least three runs in five straight starts. The O's start Wei-Yin Chen (5-2, 4.08). He was hit hard last time out against Cleveland but had been very good for the most part previously.
Key trends: The Orioles are 4-1 in Chen's past five road starts against teams with a winning record. The Brewers have lost four straight Game 2s of a series.
Early lean: Garza just isn't the same pitcher against AL lineups. Yes, I know there will be no DH here and the O's remain without Chris Davis, but I still like them.
Rays at Blue Jays (-120, 8.5)
Toronto is starting to look like the class of the AL East, the division leader and only team in the East with a positive run differential. If somehow the Jays could trade for Jeff Samardzija, as has been rumored, they will be scary. They start ace Mark Buehrle (8-1, 2.16) in Tuesday's game. He has allowed more than two runs just once all season. He made his season debut against Tampa Bay, blanking the Rays on four hits over 8.2 innings and striking out a season-high 11. The Rays start Alex Cobb (1-1, 1.40). He returned after missing more than a month last time out and was great, allowing no runs and three hits over 6.2 innings. That's his third straight start not allowing a run. He debuted this year against Toronto, and it was his worst start of the season, allowing four runs in five innings.
Key trends: The Rays are 6-0 in Cobb's past six against teams with a winning record. Toronto has won nine of its past 10 Tuesday games. The under is 4-0 in Buehrle's past four against Tampa Bay.
This is tied for the highest total on the board, which is rather surprising considering how good the pitchers have been. Go under.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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