Five to Follow MLB Betting: Friday, July 15, 2016, Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 7/14/2016
After the pretty impressive show that Miami's Giancarlo Stanton put on in the Home Run Derby on Monday night in San Diego with a record 61 homers, could he still win the regular-season home run crown? Doubtful. BetOnline lists Stanton at +1000 to do so. He has 20 entering Friday's start of the second half of the season. That's eight behind MLB leader Mark Trumbo of the Orioles, who is the +350 favorite. Trumbo's previous career high is 34 while with the Angels in 2013. I actually don't see him winning this title even though he plays half his games in the bandbox that is Camden Yards. I'd probably favor White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, the runner-up in the Home Run Derby, who has 25 dingers and is +700 along with Baltimore's Chris Davis. Frazier is in an even better hitter's park at U.S. Cellular Field. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, also with 25 homers, is the second-favorite to Trumbo at +400. I don't expect any player to reach 50 dingers this year, either. The last to do that was Davis with 53 in 2013.
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Rangers at Cubs (-183, TBA)
The second half of the season begins with a matinee from Wrigley -- televised by the MLB Network -- in a potential World Series preview with the Cubs as NL pennant favorites and the Rangers behind only the Indians on the AL odds. The big question here is whether the struggling Cubs will get back leadoff man and center fielder Dexter Fowler from his hamstring injury. He was voted a starter in the All-Star Game but the Cubs would have had to activate him to play and that could have posed a problem if Fowler's not ready Friday. A decision likely will come later Thursday. The Cubs are 7-15 without him. Chicago goes with its best pitcher at the moment, which is surprising, in Kyle Hendricks, a former Rangers minor leaguer. Hendricks (7-6, 2.55) hasn't allowed more than three earned since May 17. He was used in two innings of relief in his final outing before break. Texas goes with lefty Martin Perez (7-5, 3.85). He lost for the first time since May 18 last time out, allowing a whopping 11 runs (seven earned) over four innings at Boston. Neither starting pitcher has ever faced the opposing team.
Key trends: The Rangers are 1-6 in Perez's past seven road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Cubs are 11-4 in Hendricks' past 15 at home vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" is 4-1-1 in Perez's past six on the road. The over is 4-1 in Hendricks' past five at home.
Early lean: Cubs and over regardless of number unless wind blowing in.
Red Sox at Yankees (-118, 9.5)
Naturally, the MLB Network will nationally televise this game. The Red Sox are without All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel for 3-6 weeks due to torn cartilage in his left knee. He had surgery early this week. Kimbrel injured the knee during pregame warmups Friday at Fenway Park. The Sox acquired Arizona reliever Brad Ziegler over the weekend and he might get some save chances, but most opportunities likely will go to set-up man and former closer Koji Uehara. Here the Sox go with young lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (1-3, 8.59), who will be recalled from Triple-A and given another shot in the rotation after struggling in six big-league starts this year. Rodriguez is 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA in four career starts vs. the Yankees. Jacoby Ellsbury is 5-for-11 off him with two homers. The Yanks go with Michael Pineda (3-8, 5.38). He's 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in two starts this year vs. Boston. Mookie Betts is 5-for-17 off him career with two doubles, two homers and four RBIs.
Key trends: The Red Sox are 5-1 in their past six after an off day. The Yankees are 1-7 in Pineda's past eight vs. the AL East. The under is 4-0 in Rodriguez's past four vs. New York.
Early lean: Red Sox and over.
Orioles at Rays (-105, 8.5)
Tampa Bay should activate center fielder and defensive wizard Kevin Kiermaier off the DL for this game. Kiermaier suffered two broken metacarpal bones in his left hand diving for a ball hit by Detroit's James McCann on May 21 at Comerica Field. Tampa starts Chris Archer (4-12, 4.66) on the mound. The Rays have lost his past six starts. Weird that Archer has been so off this year. He is 1-1 with a 4.63 ERA in two outings in 2016 vs. Baltimore. Trumbo is 3-for-12 career off him with three strikeouts. Davis is 5-for-17 with two homers and six RBIs. The Orioles go with Yovani Gallardo (3-1, 5.82). He has lasted more than 5.1 innings once in five starts since returning from a long DL stint. Gallardo took a no-decision vs. Tampa on June 24, allowing three runs in 5.1 innings. Logan Morrison can't hit him, going 2-for-21 with six strikeouts.
Key trends: The Orioles are 5-0 in the past five meetings. The under is 4-1 in Archer's past five against the Orioles.
Early lean: Orioles and under.
White Sox at Angels (-109, 8.5)
Not that it really matters for the Angels because they aren't going anywhere this season, but first baseman/DH C.J. Cron has been lost for 6-8 weeks to a broken hand. A pitch by the Orioles’ Mike Wright hit Cron on Friday in Baltimore. Too bad: Cron was hitting .356 with 24 RBIs in his previous 20 games. He had just become the first major leaguer in 25 years to drive in two runs in consecutive games without notching a hit. Overall, he was batting .278 with 11 homers and 50 RBIs. That's one less worry for White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez (2-4, 4.39). He comes off his best outing of the season, throwing seven shutout innings against the Yankees on July 6. This was to be Jose Quintana's start, but he was a late All-Star addition and now will go Sunday. Mike Trout is 3-for-16 career off Gonzalez with three homers and five RBIs. The Angels go former White Sox lefty Hector Santiago (6-4, 4.58). He closed the first half by throwing seven shutout innings at Tampa Bay, allowing three hits and striking out nine. He won at the White Sox on April 18, throwing seven shutout innings and allowing two hit and whiffing 10. Melky Cabrera is 1-for-8 career off him with a double. Adam Eaton is 2-for-6.
Key trends: The White Sox are 0-7 in their past seven after an off day. The Angels are 1-9 in their past 10 during Game 1 of a series. The Sox are 1-8 in their past nine at the Angels. The under is 4-0 in the past four meetings.
Early lean: Angels and over.
Giants at Padres (+165, 7)
San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner might have started Tuesday's All-Star Game but he pitched last Sunday and thus wasn't available in San Diego. And Bumgarner (10-4, 1.94) was fantastic against Arizona last time out, throwing a complete-game one-hitter with a career-high 14 strikeouts. It was his fourth career one-hitter and his 7.1 innings was his second-longest no-hit bid. Bumgarner’s four one-hitters match Matt Cain and Juan Marichal for the second-most no-hitters/one-hit shutouts in Giants history. The only pitcher with more is Christy Mathewson, who had six (including two no-hitters). Bumgarner is 2-0 with a 1.72 ERA in two starts this year vs. San Diego. Matt Kemp is a career .185 hitter off Bumgarner with 14 strikeouts in 54 at-bats. Melvin Upton Jr. is 1-for-20 against him with nine whiffs. San Diego goes with trade candidate Andrew Cashner (3-7, 5.40). He was ripped for eight runs in 2.2 innings in his first first-half start vs. the Dodgers. He's 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA this year against the Giants. Buster Posey is a career .429 hitter against him with two homers in 28 at-bats.
Key trends: The Giants are 14-6 in Bumgarner's past 20 vs. the Padres. The over is 4-0 in Cashner's past four vs. the Giants. The under is 5-1 in the past six meetings.
Early lean: Giants and under.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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