Five To Follow MLB Betting: Friday, April 24, 2015 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 4/23/2015
A couple of days ago, I wrote in this space how Marlins manager Mike Redmond was already on the hot seat. Hey sportsbooks, how about posting this prop: Who is fired first, Redmond or Milwaukee's Ron Roenicke? The latter may have moved to the front of the line as the Brewers dropped their eighth straight on Wednesday. Owner Mark Attanasio reportedly has flown from his home in Los Angeles to Milwaukee to speak with the front office higher-ups to determine what should be done with this team -- remember, the Brewers collapsed at the end of last season as well. Roenicke might not make it through the weekend.
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Indians at Tigers (-139, 8)
Yankees GM Brian Cashman needs to stop trading with Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski because it seems Dombrowski always gets the better of him. The latest heist appears to be Shane Greene, acquired this past offseason in a three-team swap with Arizona and the Yankees. Greene has been maybe the best pitcher in baseball thus far with a 3-0 record, 0.39 ERA and 0.74 WHIP. He has gone at least seven innings in all three starts and allowed one earned run and just 12 hits in 23 innings. The last Tiger to win his first four starts to open a season was Frank Tanana in 1988. That statistic seems impossible. Most Indians regulars have only seen him once. Michael Brantley is 1-for-3 off Greene. Jason Kipnis 0-for-3. Danny Salazar (1-0, 3.00) starts for the Tribe. He was called up to make a spot start on April 18 in Minnesota and allowed two runs in six innings. Apparently he earned another. Miguel Cabrera is 5-for-13 with a homer but six strikeouts vs. Salazar.
Key trends: The Indians are 1-11 in their past 12 series openers. They are 3-9 in Salazar's past 12 vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" has gone under in eight of Cleveland's past nine road games. The over is 6-1 in Detroit's past seven on Friday.
Early lean: Tigers and under.
Cubs at Reds (-104, 7.5)
I watched on interview with Cubs manager Joe Maddon on "Pardon The Interruption" on Wednesday, and he said he expects Jon Lester to break out of his funk in this start because he's finally out of spring training mode after having a minor setback this spring and missing some time. The Cubs better hope so because thus far Lester (0-2, 6.89) has been a major bust. This will be his first NL road start. He faced the Reds on April 13 and allowed six runs and 10 hits in six innings. Expect the Reds to force Lester to throw to first base, especially if Billy Hamilton gets on. Mike Leake (0-1, 3.92) goes for Cincinnati. He was opposite Lester in that April 13 start, allowing four runs and seven hits in seven innings. Starlin Castro is a career .304 hitter off him with seven RBIs. Anthony Rizzo is 9-for-23 with a homer.
Key trends: The Cubs are 1-5 in their past six Friday games. The Reds are 0-6 in Leake's past six series openers. Cincinnati is 7-0 in Leake's past seven at home in this series. The Cubs are 2-6 in their past eight at the Reds.
Early lean: I'll take Maddon at his word and go Cubs but over just in case.
Blue Jays at Rays (-105, 8)
Toronto may have to put slugger Jose Bautista (i.e Joey Bats) on the 15-day disabled list. He was scratched from Wednesday's lineup with right shoulder soreness. He aggravated the problem on Tuesday when he stupidly tried to throw out Baltimore's Delmon Young at first base on a single to right field. Bautista has been diagnosed with a strain. Certainly Rays lefty Drew Smyly would be fine with not facing Bautista. Smyly makes his 2015 debut after starting the season on the DL with left shoulder tendinitis. The southpaw was acquired in the David Price deal last season and frankly was better than Price after the trade, going 3-1 with a 1.70 ERA in seven starts with Tampa Bay. Edwin Encarnacion is 4-for-6 with two doubles and a homer off him. R.A. Dickey (0-1, 3.26) starts for Toronto. He had made nine straight quality starts dating to last season before allowing four runs in seven innings vs. the Braves. He lost to Tampa on April 13, allowing two earned over six innings. Asdrubal Cabrera is 4-for-11 with two homers off Dickey.
Key trends: The Jays are 0-4 in Dickey's past four against the AL East. The Rays are 1-5 in their past six series openers. The over is 5-2 in Dickey's past seven vs. Tampa.
Early lean: Rays and under.
Astros at A's (-131, 7)
Oakland is hoping to get back infielder Ben Zobrist on Friday. He hasn't played since April 19 due to a heel injury. He's hitting .267 with a homer and eight RBIs this season. This series is actually a battle for first in the AL West, for what that's worth this early in the season. The Astros start lefty Dallas Keuchel (2-0, 0.90), who has quietly been one of the better pitchers in the majors for a while. The Astros have won his last eight outings, and he has a 1.62 ERA in those. Keuchel also has 10 straight quality starts, the longest active streak in the majors. Zobrist is 2-for-8 with two doubles off Keuchel. Fellow lefty Scott Kazmir (2-0, 1.33) starts for Oakland. He beat Houston on April 13, allowing one run and three hits over six innings. Jose Altuve is 11-for-22 with three doubles and a homer off Kazmir.
Key trends: The Astros are 4-1 in Keuchel's past five road starts. The A's are 10-4 in Kazmir's past 14 at home. The A's are 4-1 in Kazmir's past five vs. Houston and the Astros are 4-0 in Keuchel's past four vs. Oakland. The under is 5-1 in the past six meetings.
Early lean: Astros and under.
Pirates at Diamondbacks (+114, 8)
Pittsburgh outfielder Starling Marte could miss a few games after leaving Wednesday when he was hit on the right hand by a pitch. He shouldn't need a DL stint as X-rays were negative. Marte, who didn't play Thursday, is hitting .224 with five homers and 12 RBIs. So that could be a break for Arizona starter Josh Collmenter (1-2, 3.38). He threw the first complete-game shutout of the majors this season, holding the Giants to four hits on April 17. Neil Walker is 4-for-8 with a homer off him. Gerrit Cole (2-0, 2.65) starts for Pittsburgh. He has allowed just one earned run over six innings in each of his past two starts. Only a few Diamondbacks have faced him.
Key trends: The Pirates are 6-1 in Cole's past seven Friday starts. The Diamondbacks are 0-4 in Collmenter's past four at home. The under is 11-3 in his past 14 at home. The over is 6-0-1 in Cole's past seven Game 1 starts.
Early lean: Pirates and under.
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