One great thing about baseball more so than the NFL, NBA or NHL is that you are more likely in that sport to see something you never have before on a daily basis. Just the way MLB games go and with so many intangibles and odd rules. That happened Tuesday night at Tropicana Field. The Toronto Blue Jays thought they had taken a 4-3 lead in the top of the ninth inning on a throwing error by Tampa Bay second baseman Logan Forsythe while trying to turn a game-ending double play as Jose Bautista slid into second base. Instead, two runs scored on the error. However, Rays manager Kevin Cash asked for a replay under the new "Utley rule" that restricts the way players can slide into bags trying to break up double plays -- and potentially hurt the fielders. The replay worked, which thus called out the batter as well. Game over, a 3-2 Rays win. Toronto manager John Gibbons went nuts, but if you look at the slide on replay you'd have to say it was the right call. Bautista reached out with his hand in an attempt to grab the foot of Forsythe as he was throwing. That was the problem, not the actual slide.
White Sox at A's (-110, 8.5)
Getaway day game for Chicago with a 3:35 p.m. ET start. Too early to rest a guy or two? Sox do then play home opener on Friday afternoon. The White Sox could be going for the four-game sweep depending on what happens Wednesday night. They took a one-year flier on Mat Latos this offseason and he gets the start there. Latos has a 64-55 career record and 3.51 ERA but went 4-10 with a 4.95 ERA with the Marlins, Dodgers and Angels in 24 appearances in 2015. Latos is worth the risk at just $3 million. He pitched just two innings vs. Oakland last year. Jed Lowrie is 5-for-8 career off him with two doubles, two homers and five RBIs. The A's go with Kendall Graveman. He made 21 starts last year with a 6-9 record and 4.05 ERA. He had an ERA near 5.00 this spring. Graveman has faced just one White Sox batter before: Austin Jackson is 1-for-4 off him.
Key trends: The White Sox are 4-9 in their past 13 in Game 4 of a series. The A's are 1-7 in Graveman's past eight starts. The "over/under" is 4-0 in his past four at home vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: A's and over.
Dodgers at Giants (-108, 7)
Will be entertaining any time these two bitter rivals play as they should battle for the NL West title all season. Los Angeles had ticketed lefty Alex Wood for the bullpen originally this spring, but all the rotation injuries have him as the No. 4 starter. Wood was pretty good last year with the Braves (7-6, 3.54) but not so after being traded to the Dodgers (5-6, 4.35) around the deadline. Wood didn't face the Giants. Denard Span has seen him more than any other Giant, going 4-for-17 with three doubles. He didn't start Wednesday because of the flu, so wait and see if Span plays here. San Francisco counters with Jake Peavy. He was 8-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 19 starts in 2015 and 0-0 with a 3.55 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers. Carl Crawford is a career .333 hitter off him in 27 at-bats. Chase Utley is 0-for-14 against Peavy.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 2-5 in Wood's past seven road starts. San Francisco is 8-0 in Peavy's past eight at home. The under is 5-1 in the past six meetings.
Early lean: Giants and under.
Red Sox at Indians (-133, 8)
Boston's final game in Cleveland this season barring a playoff rematch. The Red Sox go with Joe Kelly, who finished last season going 8-0 with 3.00 ERA in his final nine starts. He was also very good in Grapefruit League play this spring. Kelly beat the Tribe in his lone start against them in 2015, allowing one unearned run and five hits in six innings. Jason Kipnis is 2-for-5 with a double off him. Cleveland goes with Danny Salazar. He started last season in Triple-A but didn't stay long and is now considered one of the most underrated starters in the AL after he was 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 185.0 innings with Cleveland. Salazar was 2-0 against the Red Sox with a 1.46 ERA. Jackie Bradley Jr. is 2-for-3 off him. Travis Shaw, who took Pablo Sandoval's third-base job, is 1-for-5 with a homer.
Key trends: The Indians are 4-0 in Salazar's past four at home. The under is 5-1 in his past six there.
Early lean: Indians and under.
Cubs at Diamondbacks (+133, 9)
The Cubs will probably have more fans here as they train in the Phoenix area. Their schedule has been interesting in that Chicago opened in Los Angeles and then goes back to Phoenix. Better than doing a West Coast swing later in the season from the East Coast or something. Chicago looked every part the World Series betting favorite in sweeping two games at the Angels to open the season by a combined score of 15-1. The Cubs go with new addition John Lackey here. The 37-year-old was the most consistent guy in the Cardinals' rotation last season, going 13-10 with a career-best 2.77 ERA. His last game as a Cardinal was a start in the Cubs' clinching Game 4 of the NLDS. Lackey faced Arizona once last year and got the win, allowing one run in seven innings. Arizona goes with Rubby De La Rosa. He was 14-9 with a 4.67 ERA in 2015, his first with the Snakes. De La Rosa was 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts vs. the Cubs. Kris Bryant, who hasn't gotten a hit yet this season, is 2-for-4 with a homer off him.
Key trends: Arizona is 0-5 in De La Rosa's past five at home vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 13-3-2 in his past 18 vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 7-0-1 in Chicago's past eight Thursday games.
Early lean: Cubs and over.
Rangers at Angels (-107, 8)
You can watch this nationally on Fox Sports 1. Texas starts lefty Derek Holland in this AL West series opener. It's a shame injuries have wrecked a once-promising career with this guy. He was limited to only 37 late-season innings in 2014 due to injury but was excellent. So of course he got hurt right away last season and made just 10 starts, going 4-3 with a 4.91 ERA. Holland did win both of his starts against the Angels with a 2.51 ERA. Albert Pujols is 8-for-23 off him career with three doubles and three homers. Mike Trout is 10-for-32 with two homers and nine RBIs. The Angels were utterly dominated in their two-game sweep at the hands of the Cubs to open the season. L.A. had seven hits and just one run combined. Pujols and Trout were 0-for-15 combined. The Halos go with lefty Hector Santiago, who was an All-Star in 2015. He had a 2.33 ERA in the first half but 5.47 in the second. Santiago faced Texas six times and was 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA. Adrian Beltre has three homers off him in 28 at-bats. Rougned Odor is 9-for-17 with three doubles and dinger.
Key trends: L.A. is 6-0 in Santiago's past six starts. Texas is 2-6 in Holland's past eight road starts. The over is 7-1 in Santiago's past eight vs. Texas. The over is 5-2-1 in Holland's past eight at the Angels.
Early lean: Angels and over.
Doc's Sports MLB handicapping team is offering $60 worth of member's baseball picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - Claim your free MLB picks here now. 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
- 2019 World Series Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Analysis
- Expert MLB Handicapping: Nationals Surging After Slow Start
- Expert MLB Betting Advice: Unknown Pitchers that Deliver Profits
- Expert MLB Wagering Advice: Big-Name Pitchers Struggling at Betting Window
- Expert MLB Baseball Handicapping: Home Runs Equal Betting Success?
- Cincinnati Reds' Roster Overhaul Hasn't Provided Betting Profits… Yet
- Expert MLB Handicapping: Can Minnesota Twins Sustain Torrid Pace?
- 10 MLB Handicapping Tips from 10 Different Expert MLB Handicappers
- 2019 Miami Marlins Historically Bad: Expert Analysis
- Expert MLB Handicapping: San Diego Padres Making Slow Ascent