Five to Follow MLB Betting: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 5/20/2014
Wednesday's game at Wrigley Field could very well be an audition for Jeff Samardzija, because the New York Yankees absolutely are going to need to trade for pitching with Ivan Nova out for the season, Michael Pineda out who knows how long and CC Sabathia out until at least July. The Cubs would love for the Red Sox to get in on Samardzija too and start a bidding war between the rivals. Boston has way more minor-league talent to offer, however. Here's a look at Yankees-Cubs and four other interesting matchups.
Yankees at Cubs (-115, TBA)
Just like I'm going to keep writing about the Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka until he loses a game, and he pitched Tuesday, I'm going to do the same until Samardzija (0-4, 1.62) wins one. He has now gone 15 starts without a victory. He had his worst outing of the season last time out, and it was still pretty solid, allowing two earned runs and striking out six in five innings against Milwaukee. Derek Jeter has never faced him. Not many Yankees have. New York starts Chase Whitley, an injury fill-in. He made his big-league debut on May 15 and held the Mets scoreless on two hits over 4.2 innings. Clearly no Cubs have seen him.
Key trends: The Cubs are 2-12 in Samardzija's past 14 home starts. The "over" is 8-2 in his past 10 at home against teams with a winning record.
Early lean: I thought Samardzija would end his skid last time out, but he got pushed back because of a rainout and then was a bit off. I say he does it here. That Yankee lineup isn't too formidable these days, especially minus the DH.
Dodgers at Mets (+124, 7)
The L.A. Dodgers have been fairly disappointing so far as they hover around .500, but they also haven't had their expected rotation intact for even a full week yet this season. That should change starting Wednesday with Hyun-Jin Ryu expected to be activated off the DL and start against the Mets. Ryu (3-2, 3.00) has been out since April 27 with shoulder issues. With him back and now Clayton Kershaw too, the Dodgers could take off. Paul Maholm and his 5.40 ERA are likely headed to the bullpen. L.A. remains the -110 NL West favorite at Sportsbook.ag. The Mets start Jacob deGrom (0-1, 1.29). He's only in the rotation because of an injury to Dillon Gee. DeGrom's first big-league start was very good against the Yankees, allowing just a run in seven innings, but he still lost.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 7-1 in Ryu's past eight road starts against teams with a losing record. The Mets are 3-7 in their past 10 at home against lefties. The "under" is 4-1 in New York's past five against southpaws.
Early lean: Ryu could be rusty, and the Dodgers don't know this deGrom guy, so Mets are good underdog value.
Mariners at Rangers (-135, 9.5)
I try to use these previews to inform you of injuries you might have missed, and it appears Seattle will be without disappointing Corey Hart (.209, five HRs, 17 RBIs) for a while due to a hamstring injury. This might be a blessing in disguise. The team is calling up 23-year-old Nick Franklin, who should be playing in the majors as it is over a veteran scrub like Hart. Franklin leads the Pacific Coast League in hitting at .376 and has seven homers and 26 RBIs. Franklin has never faced Wednesday's Texas starter, Nick Tepesch (0-0, 1.69). He made his 2014 debut on May 14 in Houston and allowed a run in 5.1 innings. He's an injury fill-in. Seattle starts Chris Young (3-1, 3.22). He's been decidedly worse away from Safeco with a 4.56 ERA. Not many Rangers have faced him.
Key trends: The Rangers are 2-5 in Tepesch's past seven at home. The over is 7-0-1 in Texas' past eight against starting pitchers with a WHIP less than 1.15.
Early lean: This has the highest non-Colorado total, and I'd stay under.
White Sox at Royals (-138, 8)
Kansas City will be without one of the better catchers in baseball, Salvador Perez, for a few games. He won't be headed to the disabled list but will sit a bit to rest a hand injury. Perez is hitting .261 with four home runs and 12 RBIs and is a fine defensive player. The Royals start Jeremy Guthrie in this one against the Jose Abreu-less White Sox. Guthrie (2-3, 4.76) made his first start of the season on April 4 against the Pale Hose and allowed four runs in 5.2 innings. His ERA this month is 5.40. Paul Konerko, starting with Abreu out, is 13-for-49 with four home runs off him. The Sox start lefty Jose Quintana (2-3, 3.67). He has a solid 3.00 ERA this month, and Chicago has won two of his past three. He hasn't faced K.C. this year. Perez was a career .318 hitter with two home runs off him. Mike Moustakas is a .421 hitter with two home runs off Quintana.
Key trends: The Royals are 5-1 in Guthrie's past six Wednesday starts. The under is 8-2 in Quintana's past 10 against the AL Central. The under is 8-2 in Guthrie's past 10 against Chicago.
Early lean: The Sox will struggle without Abreu, and clearly Guthrie usually pitches well against Chicago with all those unders, so that's the pick along with K.C.
Astros at Angels (-190, 8)
The Angels are close to getting their entire lineup healthy. Josh Hamilton isn't too far off. Third baseman David Freese was expected to be activated off the DL on Tuesday, and outfielder Kole Calhoun the same on Wednesday from an ankle injury. Calhoun, out since April 15, is hitting .250 with three home runs and six RBIs His return should move vastly-struggling Raul Ibanez to the bench now that C.J. Cron is hitting well as the DH. The only Angel to have ever faced Houston starter Collin McHugh is Freese, who is 1-for-4 with an RBI off him. McHugh (2-2, 3.48) started with two great starts but is now coming back to earth. The Astros have lost his past three. L.A. starts Jered Weaver (4-3, 3.14). He pitched in Houston on April 6 and allowed five runs -- four homers -- in 5.2 innings of a loss. However, Weaver has a 1.86 ERA over his past six starts.
Key trends: The Astros are 1-5 in their past six Wednesday games. The over is 7-2 in Weaver's past nine starts.
This looks like a rout. Take L.A., even as the biggest favorite on the board. Ditto at +100 on the runline, which is probably way better value alone at
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