Five to Follow MLB Betting: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 7/22/2014
There are six matinee series finales on Wednesday, meaning some starters in those games are likely going to take a seat playing a day game after a night game and then having to travel afterward. The Mets are a good candidate to rest a few guys because after playing in Seattle on Wednesday they have to fly back halfway across the country to open a series in Milwaukee on Thursday night. Here's a look at five interesting matchups on Wednesday's slate.
Royals at White Sox (-105, 7.5)
This has to be one of my favorite baseball statistics that I've read recently: White Sox lefty Jose Quintana has a whopping 35 no-decisions since 2012. That has to be the most of any pitcher in the majors. Quintana (5-7, 3.26) has eight no-decisions this year, including three straight. He hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in his past six starts but has just two wins to show for it. At least he hasn't lost. His last defeat was against Wednesday afternoon's opponent: Kansas City. Santana had one of his worst starts of the year on June 13 at U.S. Cellular against the Royals, allowing six runs in six innings. His current hot streak began right after that. Mike Moustakas hits Quintana well, going 8-for-22 with two homers. All-star catcher Salvador Perez has two dingers and six RBIs in 24 at-bats off Quintana. James Shields get the ball for K.C. Shields (9-5, 3.70) is 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA vs. the Pale Hose this year. Alexei Ramirez is a career .417 hitter off him with two homers in 48 at-bats.
Key trends: The Royals are 0-4 in their past four against lefties. The White Sox are 1-5 in Quintana's past six against the AL Central. The "under" is 5-1 in his past six vs. K.C.
Early lean: Go under at -105.
Rangers at Yankees (+106, 7.5)
New York will again be without first baseman Mark Teixeira as he will sit a third straight game, at least, with a mild lower lat strain. The Bombers have very little power as it is and just about none without Teixeira, who leads the team with 17 home runs and 48 RBIs despite missing a few weeks earlier this season with hamstring problems. The Yankees are hoping he won't have to go on the DL. Yu Darvish (9-5, 2.88) goes against that weakened lineup on Wednesday. Texas has been so bad of late about the only time you should consider backing the Rangers is when Darvish pitches. He was a bit off in his first two starts this month but held the Blue Jays to a run over 6.2 innings last time out, striking out 12. Ichiro hits his countryman pretty well, going 7-for-17 off him. David Phelps starts for New York. Phelps (4-4, 3.87) got his first win in a month in his most recent start, holding the Reds to two solo homers in 6.1 innings.
Key trends: Texas is 7-3 in Darvish's past 10 road starts. New York is 0-5 in Phelps' past five against teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Texas has to win once in a while. Go Darvish and the under at -110.
Nationals at Rockies (+144, 9.5)
Colorado first baseman Justin Morneau is having a huge bounce-back season, batting .312 with 13 homers and 60 RBIs, but not much has gone right for the Rockies this season, and they have lost Morneau for at least the next week at least with a neck strain. He was put on the DL Monday. That's one less threat for Washington's Stephen Strasburg to worry about. Strasburg (7-7, 3.55) can't seem to piece together multiple strong starts in a row. He lost to Milwaukee last time out, giving up four runs over seven innings. Has last win was July 1 vs. the Rockies in D.C. when Strasburg allowed just a run over 7.2 innings and struck out eight. Somehow Strasburg has never faced Rockies star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. That seems hard to believe. Lefty Jorge De La Rosa gets the nod for the Rockies. De La Rosa (10-6, 4.39) could well be on the move by July 31. He has built his value back up with three straight quality starts. Amazingly, he's much better at Coors Field (6-2, 3.49) than on the road (4-4, 5.37). Scott Hairston could get a spot start in the outfield for Washington. First off, it's a day game after a night game, and Hairston is 6-for-18 career off De La Rosa with two homers, two doubles and seven RBIs. I could see Bryce Harper getting the day off with Hairston playing left.
Key trends: Washington is 5-1 in its past six against lefty starters. The under is 3-0-1 in Strasburg's past four against Colorado. The Nats are 5-1 in De La Rosa's past six vs. Washington.
Early lean: The Rockies are very nice home underdog value here. Strasburg is often the most overpriced pitcher in MLB.
Giants at Phillies (+124, 7.5)
This could well be A.J. Burnett's final start in a Philadelphia uniform (if he's pulled before the start that means he's a goner). He seems a lock to be traded by the July 31 deadline with Baltimore and Philly already discussing possible deals (Pittsburgh is in it too). He has a no-trade clause, but he'd waive it to play for Baltimore as his family lives in Maryland. Burnett (6-9, 4.08) didn't look good in his last start, giving up six earned runs in five innings of work in a loss to Atlanta. Burnett has faced a league-leading 590 batters because he can be rather wild. His 58 walks lead the NL. Burnett hasn't faced the Giants in 2014. Pablo Sandoval is 3-for-7 career with a homer and four RBIs against him. Lefty Madison Bumgarner goes for San Francisco. Bumgarner (11-7, 3.38) had been in a mini-slump with a 7.04 ERA over his past four starts before holding the Marlins to a run over six innings on July 18. Ryan Howard might take a seat for this one. He often does now because he can't hit lefties. Howard is 1-for-6 career with three strikeouts vs. Bumgarner.
Key trends: The Giants are 5-0 in Bumgarner's past five against teams with a losing record. The Phils are 1-4 in Burnett's past five starts. The over is 4-0 in both Burnett's and Bumgarner's past four
Early lean: Hard to argue with those over trends.
Orioles at Angels (-153, 7.5)
Angels shortstop Erick Aybar is likely to play Wednesday -- he might Tuesday. He left Friday's game with a groin injury and hasn't started since. Aybar did pinch hit on Monday, so it looks like he'll avoid the DL. Aybar is hitting .282 with 50 RBIs. His replacement is John McDonald, and he's a massive downgrade offensively, batting just .175. Orioles ace Chris Tillman (7-5, 4.03) gets the call in the series finale. He's looking for his first win since June 27. He has pitched pretty well since then with a 3.46 ERA this month but hasn't gotten much support. Josh Hamilton struggles against Tillman, going 1-for-9 with four strikeouts. Jered Weaver starts for the Halos. L.A. has won his past six outings. He's 5-3 with a 2.70 ERA at home this year. Nelson Cruz has gone yard twice in his career off Weaver but is hitting just .227 against him with 20 strikeouts. Cruz has been in a bit of a funk of late.
Key trends: The O's are 5-1 in Tillman's past six vs. teams with a winning record. The Angels have won four straight Game 3s of a series. The Halos are 4-1 in Weaver's past five vs. Baltimore. The under is 4-1 in his five at home vs. the O's.
Early lean: I like Weaver much better here, so I'm leaning Angels at +145 on the runline. Especially if they also lose Tuesday. They won't get swept at home.
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