Five to Follow MLB Betting: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 4/15/2014
Afternoon baseball fans -- or those of us who work from home and hate not having sports on during the day -- can rejoice Wednesday as there are a handful of matinee games with a few teams on getaway days. Here's a look at five interesting matchups from the schedule.
Rays at Orioles (+108, 8)
When people talk about the best pitchers in the American League, Tampa Bay's David Price is always mentioned, and he starts Wednesday's matinee in Baltimore. Who isn't mentioned is Baltimore's Chris Tillman (1-1, 0.84), but he has become a very good pitcher and the ace of that staff. Tillman lost his last start at home against Toronto despite not allowing an earned run over eight innings. He hasn't allowed more than an earned run in any of his three starts yet this year. One team Tillman didn't like to face last year was the Rays as he was 1-3 with a 5.09 ERA in 23 innings against them. Make sure to drop some money on an Evan Longoria hitting prop. He's 10-for-24 with four home runs in his career off Tillman. Price (2-0, 2.91) dominated the Reds last time out. Baltimore's Nelson Cruz has had success off the lefty, going 6-for-16 with two home runs.
Key trends: The Rays are 6-2 in Price's past eight road starts vs. Baltimore. The over is 5-2 in his past seven road starts against the Birds.
Early lean: Surprised the total is above 7-7.5, so jump on the under (-125).
Pirates at Reds (-121, 7)
I don't want to say I told you so, but I told you so when it came to Pirates lefty Francisco Liriano. He was the NL Comeback Player of the Year in 2013 and a big part of why Pittsburgh grabbed a wild-card spot. That was clearly a fluke, and Liriano (0-2, 4.00) has regressed back to the mean this season. He has allowed exactly four runs over six innings in his past two starts. Last year the Reds really had his number as Liriano was 0-3 with a 3.70 ERA against them. That was nearly half his entire loss total of the season. Todd Frazier is 3-for-9 with two home runs off Liriano. The Reds go with Johnny Cueto (0-2, 2.14). He has been a tough-luck loser thus far. Over his 21 innings, the lineup has scored only one run when he's been in the game. Cueto was 1-0 with a 0.73 ERA in two starts against Pittsburgh a year ago.
Key trends: The Pirates are 1-4 in Liriano's past five road starts. The over is 6-1-1 in Cueto's past eight home starts vs. the Pirates.
Early lean: Cueto gets his first win of the season.
Mets at Diamondbacks (-123, 9.5)
Monday was a rough day for the New York Mets even though they beat the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks 7-3. New York saw two outfielders, Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares, go down with injuries. Lagares (.314) pulled a hammy in the seventh inning and Granderson ran into the fence in the first inning. Lagares is likely headed to the 15-day DL, but Granderson's X-rays were negative and he should avoid it. However, don't look for him in his game. He has been terrible thus far, batting .170 with 16 strikeouts. The Mets start Dillon Gee (0-0, 5.03) in Wednesday's series finale. He faced Arizona once last season, allowing two runs in seven innings. Miguel Montero has a homer in seven at-bats off Gee. Brandon McCarthy (0-2, 7.78) is scheduled for the Snakes. As you can see, he's been terrible, but so have pretty much all the Arizona starters. Granderson might have taken a seat regardless as he's 2-for-14 in his career off McCarthy. Lagares is 1-for-3 with a dinger off him.
Key trends: The Mets are 6-1 in their past seven road games against righty starters. The Diamondbacks are 3-13 in their past 16 at home (entering Tuesday).
Early lean: Highest total on the board, and I'd still take over between two struggling pitchers.
Nationals at Marlins (-136, 6.5)
The sign of a truly special pitcher is how he rebounds from a rare bad start. By all accounts, Miami's Jose Fernandez is a very special pitcher, so it will be interesting to see how he fares on Wednesday off the worst outing of his career. After dominating his first two starts, Fernandez (2-1, 3.78) allowed six runs and eight hits in a loss at Philadelphia last time out. He had gone 13 straight starts giving up two runs or fewer. Fernandez has been totally overpowering at home in his career and was good against the Nats in 2013, going 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings. Ian Desmond may have nightmares on Tuesday night thinking about facing Fernandez as he's 0-for-6 with five strikeouts against him. Washington counters with Tanner Roark (1-0, 5.91). He has still yet to pitch at home this year, where he was tremendous a season ago. Roark pitched nine innings against the Marlins in 2013 and didn't allow a run.
Key trends: The Marlins are 15-2 in Fernandez's past 17 home starts. The over is 4-1-1 in Roark's past six road starts.
Early lean: Miami feels totally confident when Fernandez is on the mound at home. Take the Fins on the runline as well.
Red Sox at White Sox (+124, 8.5)
Boston has looked anything like a World Series contender thus far, but the Sox got major good news Monday when tests taken on second baseman Dustin Pedroia's left wrist showed no fracture or structural damage. That means he should avoid a trip to the disabled list, although he could still miss a few days. Pedroia is in a major slump since hurting his wrist April 4 against Milwaukee. He has three hits in his past 27 at-bats entering Tuesday. Pedroia hasn't had much career success against Chicago's scheduled starter Wednesday, John Danks (1-0 4.15). Pedroia is 2-for-17 in his career off the lefty. Boston goes with Clay Buchholz (0-1, 6.97), and his start to the year has to be very concerning for Sox backers. The White Sox may give Paul Konerko a spot start in this one as he's 7-for-15 with a home run in his career off Buchholz. By comparison, usual DH Adam Dunn is 0-for-6 with three strikeouts.
Key trends: Boston is 8-1 in its past nine road games against lefty starters. Chicago is 2-10 in Danks' past 12 starts against the AL East. The Red Sox are 4-1 in Buchholz's past five against the Pale Hose.
Early lean: Chicago is killing the ball right now and Buchholz looks shaky, so the White Sox are good home underdog value.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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