Five To Follow MLB Betting: Wednesday, April 8, 2015 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 4/7/2015
Two national TV games for live betting on Wednesday's schedule, both on ESPN2: Red Sox at Phillies and Padres at Dodgers. It's also the first day this season that every team is in action -- barring weather troubles of course. I want to give you a statistic from the Toronto rotation. There has never been a rotation that made it through the season without a start from a pitcher between the ages of 25 & 35. Right now, the Blue Jays don't have a starter in that age range. There have only been three teams that have ever had just a single age 25-35 starter make an appearance, most recently the 1994 White Sox (Jack McDowell). Crazy. Who finds these types of stats?
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Red Sox at Phillies (+125, 8)
It's the Boston debut of Rick Porcello, who was acquired in the offseason from Detroit for slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Porcello was to become a free agent after the season, and the sides agreed to table discussions about an extension during it. However, on Monday the Sox announced they signed him to a four-year extension worth $82.5 million. Porcello had his best season in 2014 (15-13, 3.43 ERA, 204.2 innings) and looked good in Grapefruit League play with a 2.57 ERA over four official outings. Porcello didn't face the Phillies in 2014. Only a few Phillies have ever faced him. Ben Revere has the most, going 7-for-19 with two RBIs. Aaron Harang makes his Philadelphia debut. He started last year strong with Atlanta but then faded badly. He allowed two runs in six innings in his lone start vs. Boston. Hanley Ramirez, who went deep twice on Monday, will be glad to see Harang as Ramirez is 10-for-29 with five homers off him.
Key trends: Philadelphia is 1-7 ATS in its past eight games vs. right-handed starters. The "over/under" has gone under in 10 of Boston's past 14 interleague games. The Sox are 4-1 in their past five in Philly.
Early lean: Red Sox and under.
Blue Jays at Yankees (-135, 7)
II don't happen to think much of the Yankees this season, but they have no shot at contention in the AL East if Michael Pineda doesn't stay healthy, and he's never shown the ability to do that. He was very good in his 13 starts last season, going 5-5 with a 1.89 ERA and microscopic 0.83 WHIP. It feels like Pineda has been around a decade, but he's only 26. Pineda was 0-2 last year against Toronto despite a 2.25 ERA. Jose Bautista has just two hits in 14 at-bats off him, but one was a homer. Edwin Encarnacion has three singles in 13 at-bats against him. It's 40-year-old knuckleballer R.A. Dickey for the Blue Jays. He was 14-13 with a 3.71 ERA over 215 2/3 innings in 2014. Cold weather isn't good for a knuckleballer, and it's supposed to be cool in the Bronx on Wednesday night. Alex Rodriguez is 8-for-22 career off Dickey with a homer and six strikeouts. A-Rod was 1-for-2 with a walk in Monday's season-opening loss to the Jays.
Key trends: Toronto is 2-7 in its past nine after an off day. The Jays are 4-1 in Dickey's past five starts in Game 2 of a series. The Yankees are 10-1 in their past 11 after allowing five runs or more in their previous game. They are 0-7 in their past seven after an off day.
Early lean: Yankees and over.
Mets at Nationals (-126, 7)
New York's Jacob deGrom takes the mound for the first time since winning the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year Award. DeGrom began last season in Triple-A but was a revelation for the Mets once called up, going 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA in 22 starts. He struck out 144 in 140 1/3 innings. DeGrom was the fifth ROY winner for the Mets, following Tom Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972), Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). DeGrom faced Washington once, allowing three runs in six innings of a no-decision. Ian Desmond is 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs off him. Jordan Zimmermann goes for Washington, and I expect a big season with him poised for free agency. Zimmermann was 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA last season. He was 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in four starts against the Mets. Daniel Murphy is a career .320 hitter off him with three homers and eight RBIs.
Key trends: The Mets are 5-2 in deGrom's past seven vs. the NL East. New York has won six straight Game 2s of a series. The Nats are 5-0 in Zimmermann's past five vs. the Mets. The under is 4-1 in his past five vs. the NL East.
Early lean: Nats and under.
Braves at Marlins (-132, 7.5)
It's the Atlanta debut of Shelby Miller, whom the team acquired this winter via trade with St. Louis for outfielder Jason Heyward in yet another salary dump. Miller was 10-9 with a 3.74 ERA last season and finished the spring strong, allowing three earned runs over his final four starts. Miller was 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA in two starts against the Marlins in 2014. Giancarlo Stanton has two dingers in five at-bats off him. Miami counters with Tom Koehler. He logged a career-best 191 1/3 innings over 32 starts last season, finishing 10-10 with a 3.81 ERA. Koehler was 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA in four starts against the Braves. Freddie Freeman is 4-for-18 off Koehler with nine strikeouts.
Key trends: Miami is 5-2 in Koehler's past seven Game 3 starts. The under is 4-0-1 in his past five starts vs. the Braves.
Early lean: Marlins and under.
Rockies at Brewers (-148, 8)
I try not to obviously read too much into one baseball game, but I think it's going to be a long year for the Brewers. They were bombed 10-0 in Monday's opener against Colorado and also lost former NL MVP Ryan Braun to a strained lower right side. Funny how he's breaking down now that supposedly off PEDs. The Brewers have no shot at the playoffs without a healthy Braun -- but maybe he won't be healthy a full season again. He was hampered by a thumb injury most of last season. I'm presuming Braun won't play on Wednesday (or Tuesday) and is headed to the DL. Good news for Rockies starter Eddie Butler, who is the team's top pitching prospect along with Jon Gray. Butler made just three big-league starts last season and was 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA but was pretty good this spring in winning a spot. No Brewers have faced him. Milwaukee's Wily Peralta (17-11, 3.53) had his best season in 2014. Probably a fluke. He was 2-0 with a 4.61 ERA in two starts vs. the Rockies. Justin Morneau is 6-for-11 career off him with three RBIs. Corey Dickerson is 4-for-7 with a homer.
Key trends: The Brewers are 0-6 in their past six vs. the NL West. They are 6-2 in Peralta's past eight at home. The over is 9-1-1 in the Brewers' past 11 vs. righties. The over is Peralta's past four vs. Colorado.
Early lean: Rockies and over.
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