Five to Follow MLB Betting: Thursday, July 21, 2016, Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 7/20/2016
Barring a blockbuster trade for a starting pitcher -- sorry, but the Marlins aren't dealing Jose Fernandez this season now that they are contending -- I don't see the Dodgers returning to the playoffs this year. That's because ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw has been shut down indefinitely after experiencing renewed discomfort in his back. He threw a simulated game on Saturday and has some soreness into Tuesday following it. Kershaw has been out since June 26 with a herniated disc and now is being called out indefinitely. The Dodgers owe this guy $30 million a year so they aren't going to rush Kershaw, and I doubt you see him before late August if by then. When I looked at NL futures at the All-Star break, Kershaw was the Cy Young betting favorite but I didn't recommend him because of that injury. He's not going to win a fourth career one this year now.
Dodgers at Nationals (-200, 8)
A 12:05 p.m. EST first pitch should have live betting at sportsbooks with it televised by the MLB Network. This will be the last time these two good teams play in 2016 unless it's in the postseason. L.A. is again dealing with some injuries in its rotation other then Kershaw with Hyun-Jin Ryu landing back on the disabled list, retroactive to July 9, with left elbow tendonitis. He was able to make all of one start off Tommy John surgery. The Dodgers are likely to go with rookie lefty Julio Urias (1-2, 4.95) here, as he will be recalled from the minors. He had been sent down to conserve innings and was pitching in relief in Triple-A. Thus I'm sure he will be on a definite pitch count here. Urias faced Washington on June 22 and allowed two runs in five innings. Washington's Stephen Strasburg (13-0, 2.51) beat the Pirates on Friday in allowing one run and three hits over eight innings. He has won 16 straight decisions dating to last season, a franchise record, and is the first NL starter to begin a season 13-0 since 1912. He hasn't faced the Dodgers this year, getting scratched in a potential showdown vs. Clayton Kershaw.
Key trends: The Nationals are 9-0 in Strasburg's past nine vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" is 13-3 in his past 16 overall.
Early lean: Nationals and under.
Orioles at Yankees (+107, 9)
Monitor the status of both first basemen here in Chris Davis and Mark Teixeira. Davis hasn't played since Sunday due to a virus that sent him to the hospital for a bit. More likely to sit out again it Teixeira, who hasn't played since Saturday after fouling a ball off his foot. Baltimore will be without outfielder Hyun Soo Kin, the team's leading hitter at .329, as he was put on the DL on Tuesday with a strained right hamstring. The Orioles go with ace Chris Tillman (13-2, 3.29) in his 1:05 p.m. getaway game. He has had three straight starts of exactly seven innings and one run allowed in each. Tillman is 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA in two starts vs. the Yankees this year and hasn't lost an AL East game all season. Alex Rodriguez hits him hard, going 7-for-19 with five homers and 10 RBIs. It's New York lefty CC Sabathia (5-7, 3.94). He continued his slump since late June, allowing five runs and nine hits over 5.1 innings in a loss to Boston last time out. He is 1-0 with no earned runs allowed in two starts vs. the Orioles this year. Adam Jones hits .284 off him with four homers and 14 RBIs in 67 at-bats.
Key trends: The Orioles are 5-1 in Tillman's past six vs. New York. The over is 6-1-1 in his past eight in the Bronx. The under is 5-1 in Sabathia's past six vs. the Orioles. The Yanks have won seven of his past nine at home against them.
Early lean: Orioles and over.
Padres at Cardinals (-220, 8)
St. Louis didn't have shortstop Jhonny Peralta for the first two months or so due to thumb surgery and he lost his job at that position to rookie Aledmys Diaz. So Peralta moved to third base and Matt Carpenter to second. Well, now Peralta has joined Carpenter on the DL as Peralta is still having discomfort in that thumb, although somehow the Cardinals say it's not related. Can't say I buy that. Peralta was batting .221 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in 30 games. So while that's bad news, the Cards have to be thrilled with how Adam Wainwright (9-5, 4.15) has pitched of late as he has allowed just one run over 23 innings. He threw his 10th career complete-game shutout on Saturday against the Marlins. Wainwright lost in San Diego on April 22, allowing three runs in six innings. The Padres go with trade candidate Andrew Cashner (4-7, 5.05). He was originally slated for Wednesday but pushed back a day when Tuesday's game was postponed. Cashner beat St. Louis on April 22, allowing one run and three hits in six innings in one of his best starts of the year. He comes off a very good start vs. the Giants on Friday.
Key trends: The Padres are 0-5 in Cashner's past five road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Cards are 4-1 in Wainwright's past five on Thursday. The Cards are 5-0 in Wainwright's past five at home in the series. The under is 9-1-1 in his past 11 starts overall.
Early lean: Cardinals and under.
Tigers at White Sox (-127, 10.5)
Also should have live betting with it on the MLB Network. Detroit lost two of three in Chicago from June 13-15. Here the Tigers go with Mike Pelfrey (2-9, 4.95), one of the weak links of their rotation. He lasted only 1.2 innings last time out against Kansas City, allowing five runs and four hits with four walks in a loss. Pelfrey is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts vs. the White Sox this year. Avisail Garcia is 7-for-18 career against him with a double. Tim Anderson is 3-for-4 with a triple. The White Sox go with James Shields (4-11, 5.10), who has been pretty darn good of late after that horrific beginning when he was traded from San Diego. Shields was a tough-luck loser on Saturday at the Angels in allowing one run and two hits in eight innings. That was his fourth straight quality start. Shields' second start with the White Sox was June 13 vs. the Tigers and he allowed seven runs in five innings. Miguel Cabrera hits .351 off him with two homers in 57 at-bats.
Key trends: The White Sox are 1-5 in their past six in Game 1 of a series. The over is 4-1 in Shields' past five at home.
Early lean: White Sox and over.
Rays at A's (-136, 8)
Both starting pitchers here could be dealt by the Aug. 1 deadline. It's much more likely that Tampa Bay's Matt Moore is than Oakland's Sonny Gray as all reports are that the Rays are going to deal either Moore or Jake Odorizzi for a young hitter. The Rangers would appear to be a good match with the Rays. The lefty Moore (5-7, 4.33) lost on Saturday against Baltimore despite his fourth straight quality start, allowing two runs and five hits over 7.1 innings. Moore took a home no-decision vs. the A's on May 15, allowing four runs and seven hits over five innings. Billy Butler is 3-for-9 career off him with two RBIs. Danny Valencia is 5-for-11 with two homers. Gray (4-8, 5.12) has likely lost too much value to be traded this season. He went exactly six innings for a sixth straight start last time out, beating Toronto in allowing three runs in six innings. He also pitched vs. the Rays on May 15 and allowed six runs (three homers) in 5.2 innings in a no-decision. Evan Longoria is 5-for-17 with a homer against him.
Key trends: The Rays are 2-12 in Moore's past 14 on the road. The A's are 4-0 in their past four series openers. The under is 5-0 in Moore's past five.
Early lean: A's and under.
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