The most interesting game on Friday's schedule? Believe it or not, It's probably Colorado's home opener against San Diego. Yes, those two teams are likely to finish in the bottom two spots of the NL West, but they have been big stories early this season. That's because the Padres were just shut out three straight games by the Dodgers. No team had ever gone scoreless over the first 27 innings of a season. The Padres had all of 11 hits with 28 strikeouts. Just an awful lineup. Meanwhile, Rockies rookie shortstop Trevor Story is the first player since 1900 to homer in each of his first three big-league games. He has four of them total, hitting two off Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke on Monday. Tuesday it was off Shelby Miller and Wednesday off Patrick Corbin -- so three pretty darn good pitchers.
Free $60 in Member MLB Picks No Obligation Click Here
Yankees at Tigers (-115, 8)
It's Detroit's home opener with a 1:10 p.m. ET start and the Tigers unveil their big offseason pitching acquisition in former Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. He was one of the most consistent pitchers in the National League the past four seasons, making at least 32 starts in each and with an ERA no worse than 3.66. Really the only worry about the guy was he already had Tommy John surgery, but it was back in 2009 and it certainly hasn't seemed to affect him since. Zimmermann did beat the Yankees last season while with Washington, allowing two runs in seven innings. Didi Gregorius is 3-for-8 with a homer off him. It's Luis Severino for New York. He's the team's top pitching prospect and was 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 late-season starts in 2015. He didn't face the Tigers. They will get DH Victor Martinez back in the lineup here as he came off the bench in the two interleague games in Miami to start the week. And Martinez hit a pinch-hit homer in both games. Martinez is the first player since 1914 with a pinch-hit dinger in each of his team's first two games of a season.
Key trends: The Yankees are 0-4 in their past four road games. They are 1-5 in their past six series openers. The Tigers are 5-2 in their past seven after an off day. New York is 5-1 in the past six meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in four of the past five in Motown.
Early lean: Tigers and under.
Phillies at Mets (-215, 7.5)
Shown on the MLB Network. It's New York's home opener with another 1:10 p.m. ET first pitch. The Mets will raise/post/whatever their National League pennant banner before the game. I was reading somewhere this is the second-most expensive Opening Day ticket in the majors. New York's starter is expected to be Jacob deGrom, but his wife is expecting any day now and he will leave for Florida if it happens. DeGrom was 14-8 with a 2.54 ERA last year and great in three starts in the NL playoffs (not so good in his one World Series start). DeGrom was 1-0 with a 4.41 ERA in three starts vs. the Phillies last year. It's not clear who would start if deGrom is called away. It's likely to be either lefty Steven Matz or 90-year-old Bartolo Colon. The Phillies counter with Jerad Eickhoff. He was part of the haul acquired in the Cole Hamels trade from Texas last July and was 3-3 with a 2.65 ERA in eight starts with the Phillies as a rookie. He faced the Mets three times and was 1-2 with a 2.70 ERA. Michael Conforto was 4-for-8 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Phillies are 4-13 in their past 17 series openers. The Mets are 5-0 in their past five on Friday. New York is 1-7 in its past eight vs. the NL East. The under is 5-1 in deGrom's past six at home. The Phillies are 3-13 in their past 16 at the Mets.
Early lean: Mets on runline if deGrom starts and under regardless.
Padres at Rockies (-145, 11)
Another matinee at 4:10 p.m. ET. By the way, the three Dodgers starting pitchers in that Padres series combined to go 2-for-9 (.222) with a homer at the plate. San Diego's lineup hit a combined .120 and obviously without an RBI. The Padres were outscored a combined 25-0. They face Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles here. He was limited to only 10 starts last season due to injury and was 2-5 with a 5.14 ERA. One of his best starts of the year was against San Diego, allowing one run in 6.2 innings. Matt Kemp is 3-for-8 with a homer off him. San Diego goes with Colin Rea. Last year as a rookie, he was 2-2 with a 4.26 ERA in 31.2 innings. His best start was his last, Sept. 8 vs. Colorado when he shut the Rockies out on two hits over seven innings. Rea did pitch one inning of relief against the Dodgers on Monday and allowed a run.
Key trends: The Padres are 1-5 in their past six road games. The Rockies are 8-3 in their past 11 series openers. But Colorado has dropped five straight Lyles series openers. The over is 5-1 in the past six meetings in Colorado.
Early lean: Rockies and under -- highest total of early season and I'm not sure Padres can still score much.
Rays at Orioles (+110, 8)
Tampa goes with ace Chris Archer in this series opener. He was pretty strong in Sunday's season opener against the Blue Jays, allowing two earned runs and five hits in five innings and striking out a whopping 12 in a loss. Archer was already at 107 pitches through five and thus pulled. He became the first pitcher to whiff 12 batters on Opening Day since Felix Hernandez accomplished the feat in 2007. Chris Davis is 4-for-13 off Archer with a homer and five RBIs. Baltimore originally had scheduled Mike Wright here but has shuffled things up and will go with ace Chris Tillman. He pitched Opening Day against Minnesota and looked great early, shutting out the Twins over two innings and striking out five. However, a long rain delay then ended his night. The Orioles wanted to have their best guy against Archer instead of the fairly inexperienced Wright. Tillman wasn't great vs. Tampa last year, though, going 1-3 with a 4.79 ERA in six starts. Evan Longoria is a .327 hitter off him with six homers in 49 at-bats.
Key trends: The Rays are 3-7 in Archer's past 10 on the road. The Orioles are 4-1 in Tillman's past five starts. The O's are 1-4 in Tillman's past five vs. Tampa. The under is 8-0 in his past eight series openers.
Early lean: Rays and under.
Rangers at Angels (-125, 8.5)
I'm not a fan of either Texas or the LA Angels, but I'll be rooting personally for Rangers starter A.J. Griffin here. He was very good as a rookie in 2012 with Oakland and then went 14-10 with a 3.83 ERA in 2013 in 32 starts with the A's. He looked like a future star. But Griffin hasn't pitched in the majors since then due to Tommy John surgery in 2014 and a major shoulder injury last year. He was signed to a minor-league deal by Texas in December and has won the No. 5 spot in the rotation for now. Good for him. The Halos go with Matt Shoemaker. He was great in 2014, going 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA and finishing second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. Last year, he was just 7-10 with a 4.46 ERA. He allowed three runs in 6.1 innings in his lone start vs. Texas. Shin-Soo Choo is 1-for-9 with five strikeouts off him but that hit was a homer. Shoemaker was rocked this spring so he might not be long for the rotation.
Key trends: The Angels are 7-1 in their past eight in Game 2 of a series. They are 2-9 in Shoemaker's past 11 at home. L.A. is 4-0 in his past four at home vs. Texas. The over is 7-3-2 in Shoemaker's past 12 vs. the AL West.
Early lean: Rangers and over.
The handicappers at Doc's Sports are offering $60 worth of member's baseball picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - Sign up here for free baseball picks. Also, for a limited time only get three MLB handicappers for the price of one. Click here for details.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping Articles
- MLB Betting Trends: Totals Report for Hot Over and Under Teams
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, July 10, 2018, Opening Line Report
- MLB Betting Trends: Totals Report for Hot Over and Under Teams
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Friday, June 29, 2018, Opening Line Report
- MLB Betting Advice: Trades that Could Impact Bettors
- Expert MLB Handicapping: How Bad are the Royals?
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Tuesday, June 26, 2018, Opening Line Report
- Daily Expert MLB Picks: Saturday, June 23, 2018, Opening Line Report
- MLB Expert Handicapping: Orioles One of All-Time Worst
- Expert MLB Betting Picks: Division Winner Props